Ali - from Port Coquitlam, WA
Dowel rods are used to add stability to tiered cakes, whether the tiers are stacked on top of each other or whether you are using pillars and separator plates. The larger the cake you are supporting, the more dowel rods you will need. If the top cake is 10 inches or less, use 6 1/4-inch wooden dowel rods or 4 white plastic dowel rods. For 16 and 18 inch cakes use 8 dowel rods (I recommend plastic for these larger cakes). To determine where the dowel rods go, mark the bottom cake using the cake above it for size reference (cake boards work well for this). Using a toothpick, trace the board edge. Insert one dowel rod into the cake, straight down to the cake board. Mark the exact height of the cake on the dowel rod; pull out of the cake. Cut the suggested number of dowel rods the exact same height. Insert dowel rods into the cake, spacing evenly 1-1/2 inches in from the imprinted outline. Push straight down until each rod touches the cake board. Repeat with all dowel rods and all cake tiers. To stabilize the cakes further, sharpen one end of a longer dowel rod and push it through all cakes and boards to the base of the bottom cake. Your stacked cake is ready for decorating!