How to Stack a Three Tier Cake

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether it's for a wedding, anniversary party or upscale birthday party, you'll add elegance and style with a cake that has multiple layers or tiers. A three-tier cake is a popular choice because it looks beautiful and is simple enough for amateur bakers to make. This cake generally consists of a larger bottom layer with smaller subsequent layers. Once you bake and ice the separate cake tiers, you must employ specific techniques to stack them, ensuring the layers stay intact and that your cake doesn't collapse or topple.

Buy two cake boards that are the same size as your second and third cake layers. Purchase a board for the base layer that is 2 to 3 inches larger than the cake.

Place largest layer on cake board. Put the second and third cake layers on their cake boards.

Poke one dowel rod into the base cake layer at the layer's highest point. Press the rod down until it hits the cake board. Mark the rod at the height of the cake.

Remove the dowel rod and cut it with the wire cutters or scissors at the mark you made.

Using the first rod as a guide, mark and cut 5 to 10 more dowel rods. You'll need fewer for a smaller cake and more for a larger cake.

Place the cut rods into the base cake in a circle, about 2 inches to 3 inches apart. Keep them within the size area of the second layer, since these rods will support the second layer.

Poke a dowel rod into the second cake layer, mark it and cut it. Take it out and cut about three to eight more, depending on the layer size.

Poke the rods into the second layer in a circle, 2 to 3 inches apart. Keep them within the size of the first cake layer.

Stack the second cake layer on the first cake layer, centring it so it sits on top of the dowel rods in the first layer.

Stack the third layer on the second layer in the same fashion.

Take one long, sharpened dowel rod and poke it into the centre of the top layer, pushing it down through all three layers and poking through the cake boards.

Cut the dowel top so it's flush with the top of the cake.

Finish decorating the cake with additional frosting, fondant or decorating accessories.


Purchase cake boards, dowels and other cake-making supplies from most cake decorating shops. Make sure your cake boards are thin enough for you to poke a sharpened dowel through them. Sharpen the wooden dowel rod with an electric or manual pencil sharpener.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 baked, frosted cake layers
  • 3 cake boards
  • Wooden dowel rods
  • Marker
  • Wire cutters or sharp scissors
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About the Author

Based in Royal Oak, Mich., Christine Wheatley has been writing professionally since 2009. She contributes to several websites, specializing in articles about fitness, diet and parenting. Wheatley has a Bachelor of Arts in art from Calvin College.