Stacking is the most architectural method of tiered cake construction. Tiers are placed directly on top of one another and pillars are not used. Cakes are supported and stabilized by dowel rods and cake boards.
NOTE: If any of your cake tiers are taller than 6 in., follow "Stacking Tall Tiers" instructions below.
For a sturdy base, tape two or three cake boards together. For best results, use boards that are at least 2 in. in diameter larger than the base cake layer.
If your cake design includes a bottom border, or your cake is more than 2 tiers, an even larger diameter cake base makes moving the finished cake easier. Cover taped cake boards in Fanci-Foil wrap. Level, fill and stack bottom cake layer on covered cake board. Make sure cake is perfectly level. Cover cake with icing or fondant as desired.
Level, fill and stack cake layers for remaining cake tiers on cake boards with the same diameter as the cake. Make sure stacked cake is perfectly level. Prepare cakes, covering with icing or fondant.
Gently imprint bottom cake with the next size cake board being stacked. Use this outline to guide the insertion of the dowel rods.
Measure height of each stacked cake except the top tier. Cut the dowel rods even with the height of the cakes. Insert dowel rods into cakes, spacing about 1 1/2in. from edge of the cake board imprint. For cakes 12 in. or larger, insert at least 3 additional dowel rods towards the center of the imprint. Make sure the top of all dowel rods are even with the top of the cake. Repeat for all cake tiers.
Place cut parchment or sprinkle confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder or coconut in the dowel rod area where cake board will rest. This helps prevent icing on the cake from sticking to the tier above.
Carefully stack tiers. For added support and to avoid shifting of tiers, sharpen one end of a bamboo dowel rod. Insert through center of all cake tiers and cake boards.
Stacking Tall Tiers
Use this method to make extra-tall cakes (taller than 6 in.):
Level, fill, stack and ice 2 cake layers on cake board. Cut dowel rods to height of stacked layers. Insert dowel rods into cake, about 1-1/2 in. from cake edge. For cakes larger than 12 in. dia., insert at least 3 additional dowel rods off center of tier (see step 4 above).
Repeat stacking additional cake layers on cake boards, stacking no more than 2 layers (6 in. or less) on each cake board.
Position the second group of same-size stacked layers onto the first group.