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asked September 30th 2017

Wedding cake tier sizes

I have a 12" fruit cake for the bottom tier, 10" chocolate cake, 8" Madeira, and a 6" red velvet.
I am told by my cake shop that my sizes are all wrong as the 12" fruit will become 13" so it will be slightly out on my other tiers, also she told me that I should double board the last tier because the weight of the cake.
I am now worried as I have bought a 14" drum to hold it on and a 14" square cake stand for it to sit on. The cake is square sorry.
I am concerned that the tiers will look odd and will the bottom drum hold the weight.
Can I resolve this problem or will it be ok. The wedding is in a months time.
This is my first wedding cake also I have bought one of those sturdy cake stackers.
Your help would be appreciated.
Thank you


HI Blueberry

Normally the same thickness of marzipan and icing is used to cover the cake. Depending on which icing you are using, that would mean a covering of 3mm of each. The other cakes will have a crumbcoat of either ganache or buttercream ( which ever medium you are using) and then a covering of icing. That would make each cake a similar dimension. Even if it was just very slightly out it wouldn't be noticeable. I've covered many fruit cakes as bottom tiers and they have never looked odd. I use a cake drum for the bottm tier the same size as the cake. It is then held on an iced cake drum 2" bigger. I think that is what you are intending to do. Sturdy cake stacker is a good product but please don't forget that the cakes still have to be dowelled as shown in Paul's tutorials. I'm sure you know that already 🙂 ...... and just to refresh your stacking skills please revisit Paul's very comprehensive free tutorials on dowelling and stacking tiered cakes here:

Stacking Cakes – Overview

You'll see clearly the size boards he uses under each cake and it will help dispel any nagging doubts you may have.
How big is the bottom board on the sturdy cake stacker system? If you have any doubts, give Helen a call or email http://www.sturdycakestackers.com/ and ask for her advice on their product. She's a really lovely lady and very helpful. Please let me know if this has answered your question satisfactorly.


Thank you very much. I will continue to marzipan and ice my 12" as normal. I have bought Satin Ice. I dnt have a drum board under my 12" just a normal cake board th same size, but I have bought a 14" cake drum fromSturdy stackers for all the cakes to sit on. Yes I will dowel all the cakes, I have watched Paul's very good tutorial. If you think a drum board under my 12" fruit cake is best I will do that. I have bought the white plastic dowels, are they ok?
You get a little worried that you are doing something very wrong when it's your first wedding cake. I am going to chocolate ganache all the sponge cakes as per Paul's tutorial.
Do I need to sit all the cakes on a 16" board under my 14" board. I will email the company regarding their board.
Sorry to ask another question, but can I marzipan and ice and decorate my fruit cake soon for the wedding on the 4th November it being the bottom tier.
Thank you so much


If all your cakes are the same height there is no reason to use a cake drum for the fruit cake. I do it because my fruit cakes turn out shallow and the drum provides the extra height. Paul uses plastic dowels, I do too. So far, I've never had any problems with them. The only thing to remember is, put them straight down. Problems usually occur if dowels go in at an angle which destabilises the structure of the stack. I find Paul's method fail safe.
The fruit cake can be marzipanned whenever you like. However, it may taste fresher if you leave it until three weeks before required. The 14" drum is all you need if the cake is being placed on a stand of the same diametre. Sturdy cake stackers will be able to advise you on that too. I just use a drum 2" bigger than the size of the base cake and set that on the stand. Don't frazzel yourself, sometimes it can get over whelming, it's natural to want everything to be perfect. If you need reassuring or more information keep posting so you don't feel alone. 🙂


Thank you. This Q and A's are a life line. My fruit cake is 2" high and I was hoping to bake the other tiers up to a height if 4". Will I need to change the height of the sponge tiers as I'm not sure my fruit cake with marzipan and icing will make 4". Or should I buy a drum for the fruit cake tier. My base board is 14" for all the cakes to stand on. Will that be ok to give enough room for the fruit cake which might increase to 13"?
I am nervous about the cake as it's my son's wedding and I want it to be perfect so advice from people like yourself is so appreciated.
I have baked Paul's chocolate cake which is amazing, and trying to find a good cake for the top tier.
Any recommendations?
Thank you again for your help.


If you want to increase the height of your fruit cake, it can be elevated on a couple of cake drums stuck together, marzipanned and iced as one to create the illusion of a deeper cake. You don't need to change the height of your sponge cakes. The 14" drum will take the weight of all your cakes and will have additional support from the cake stand. Take a peek at how Paul has stuck some cake drums together to create height in this tutorial:

Silver Elegance

You could do that using the same size drums as the cake. Stick the drums together with hot glue gun and use them as the platform for the fruit cake ( which should remain on it's thin board). Stick the cake down on the drums with ganache or royal icing then marzipan and ice them all together. The fruit cake will not grow to 13", it will only grow to 12.5" assuming you are rolling out to 3mm of each medium. Don't forget all the other cakes will also be slightly bigger too so they'll all look the same. You could use a slightly bigger base board but it must sit securely on the 14" cake stand, particularly if the stand is a stem base type.
Have you decided against the red velvet cake for the top tier? If not , Mrs Jones has her recipe in the baking section of the tutorials. here:

Baking a Red Velvet Cake

Cream cheese frosting, requires refrigerating, and not shelf stable for long periods. . White chocolate vanilla buttercream is a great substitute or use cream cheese icing flavouring if you like the cream cheese flavour. It's available in most online decorating stores.


Thank you very much. I might glue two boards together. Have to buy the special boards though with the hole in the middle. The cake stand is one from Napier stands so it's flat square 14". The white chocolate vanilla buttercream sounds good. I was going to change because red velvet because of the filling, but your white chocolate sounds good. Is that just melted chocolate into buttercream?
You have been very helpful. I thank you for your time.
Fingers crossed I will marzipan cake in a couple of weeks.

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