Rose Levy Beranbaum is one smart lady. This is another tip that I learned from her book The Cake Bible and it has saved my butt like a million times. Use straws instead of dowel rods to support your larger cakes. Her theory is that the straws displace less cake and so therefore can support as much weight as a dowel rod. It works great for me because a pack of like a million straws is what, a dollar? And then I have them around whenever I have a cake that needs a little extra support. I use them whenever I am doing a tiered cake or when I am using a slippery filling like lemon curd.
To use straws for supports: Insert straws into cake before frosting but after filling. Where you place the straws is going to depend on what you need to support. For tiered cakes, I insert the straws in a circular pattern the circumference of the next tier with some in the middle for added support. If I am using them for slippery filling, I place the straws all around the cake. I like to use quite a few straws. The above cake is a 12 inch round that I was going to put 2 more tiers on top of, so I used 7 straws.
After inserting the straws, pull them up just a bit and cut them off at the spot where the cake mark is on the straw. Push them back down into the cake and frost like normal.
*This is not a sponsored post. Rose Levy Beranbaum has no idea who I am, I just think she and her book are amazing and I wanted to share what I learned with you.