How to set up a tiered wedding cake

Updated April 17, 2017

Wedding cakes are often set up in a tiered fashion, which means they are stacked vertically on each other, usually with spaces created by pillars between each layer. Sometimes, cakes that are stacked directly on each other to form a tower are also identified as tiered. The easiest way to set up an impressive, tiered wedding cake is to buy pre-made stands that have pillars to support a top and bottom layer.

Make certain you have a sturdy base for the cake. While it's best to put the cake together on the table where it will be served, it works to use a heavy piece of plywood as the base for a tiered cake that is going to be moved.

Check that the cake boards are the right size to support each cake. If they are not, use scissors to trim them to the right shape. These boards, made of sturdy cardboard, are usually available from any baking store.

Place the first, usually the largest, cake onto the base. Make sure to centre it and not disturb any of the decorations. You can touch up the cake when the entire tier is assembled, but as a rule set up should not disturb the look of the cakes.

Use dowels to connect the bottom layer to the layer that will be placed on top of it. Dowels should have a pointed end, be approximately 1/2 inch wide and be cut to the height of the two cakes. Thread them into the layers, carefully bearing in mind that the higher the final cake will be, the more dowels you will need to use in the bottom two layers.

Place a cake stand on top of the second layer, and a cake board at the top of the pillars where you will put the third cake. Center the top layer on the board. Dowels are not necessary in this step.

Finish up the assembly by touching up the frosting and finishing the placement of other decorations on the cake.


Use dabs of frosting on the separate bases to help the cakes stick to the different layers.


When working with the dowels, insert them slowly so that the cakes do not tear.

Things You'll Need

  • Decorated cakes
  • Frosting
  • Cake boards
  • Cake stands
  • Dowels
  • Heavy duty scissors
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Janice Fahy is a freelance writer who is comfortable researching and writing on just about any topic under the sun. With a professional history that includes more than 15 years of writing for newspapers, magazines, law firms and private Web clients, she also writes for Break Studios, eHow and Trails.