Cherry Cakes · A Layer Cake That Won't Collapse


After whipping up the best Italian Buttercream last week, chef Cherry Murphy from lets us in on some more cake-making wizardry today: how to achieve a structurally sound, multi-layer cake.

Working in kitchens for over a decade,  Cherry is both a qualified chef and pastry chef…  and she also knows her way around a power tool! Today, the power drill comes in handy as she shares her tips to take your cake-baking skills to new heights!

8th August, 2017

Cherry Murphy of  takes us through how to make a structurally-sound multi-layered cake. Props from left to right: Alessi Twisted Measuring Jug from , mixing bowl from , and spatula from . Photo – , Styling Lucy Feagins / Btslive. Styling Assistant – .

Cherry’s amazing Italian Buttercream makes another appearance; find the recipe here. Photo – , Styling Lucy Feagins / Btslive. Styling Assistant – .

Central wooden doweling and plastic dowel rods are inserted. Photo – , Styling Lucy Feagins / Btslive. Styling Assistant – .

Layering up. Props from left to right: Alessi Twisted Measuring Jug from , mixing bowl from , and spatula from . Photo – , Styling Lucy Feagins / Btslive. Styling Assistant – .

The masterpiece is complete! Photo – , Styling Lucy Feagins / Btslive. Styling Assistant – .

Cherry Murphy
Tuesday 8th August 2017

When making a cake with multiple layers, it’s very important that the cake is not going to fall apart, collapse inwards, or topple over – especially if it is being transported! I’m often making cakes for weddings and parties that are on the other side of the city, or at venues out in the country. My biggest fear has always been that a cake won’t arrive in one piece, so I’ve come up with some travel-proof techniques that mean I can hand multi-tiered cakes over to customers without a worry.

There are some power tools involved in this process, which always seem like weird things to use when making a cake, but are also quite fun! The process can be broken down into two key stages. The first is inserting a central rod that runs right through the middle of the cake, keeping all the layers secured together. While the second phase involves adding support poles within each tier of the cake so that the weight is properly supported and the cake won’t collapse inward – the most disheartening of cooks’ misfortunes!


  • Electric drill fit with a small drill bit
  • 1 small screw
  • Screwdriver
  • Untreated wooden doweling
  • 3 baked cakes, we used six-inch, seven-inch and eight-inch cakes
  • 1 pack of wilton plastic dowel rods
  • Stanley knife
  • Ruler


1. After you’ve baked, cooled, cut your cakes into layers, and measured/gues-timated the height they will be when filled – with none other than the Italian Buttercream you learnt to make last week – head to the hardware store for your doweling. You can have it cut to size there, and this length should match the height of the cake. It will be the main, central pole running through the middle of the layers, so it needs to be long enough to go through each one, however not so long that it pokes out the top! On the other hand, the wilton plastic dowel rods can be easily cut to size, and are purchased online or from any good cake decorating shop.

2. Back at home with all your tools sprawled out, it’s important to firstly measure and mark the centre of each cake board in order to make sure your cake will be straight.

3. Using the electric drill, drill a small hole in the middle of the eight-inch cake board, and also into the centre of one of the ends of the wooden doweling.

4. Take your screw and poke it through the hole in the base of the cake board. Next place the dowling with the hole in it onto the screw and use a screwdriver to work the screw into the dowling until it is sitting flush on the board. You now have your central support pole in place.

5. Next take a stanley knife and cut two small holes in the centre of the remaining cake boards, roughly the size of the wooden doweling.

6. Take your larger eight-inch cake, and using a piece of the wilton plastic doweling pole poke a hole right through the centre of the cake. Then carefully pick up the cake and slide it onto the eight-inch cake board, so that the wooden dowling sits in the middle of the hole you have just made.

7. Next measure the height of the first layer of your cake. Take the wilton plastic doweling rods and cut three pieces so that they are half-a-centimetre shorter than the height of the cake.

8. Insert the wilton plastic doweling rods into your cake a few centimetres out from the central pole. These are in place so that when you slide on the next layer the weight will be supported by the poles, and not the cake itself.

9. Take the next tier of the cake and place it on the seven-inch cake board with a hold cut in the centre. Again use the wilton plastic doweling to poke a hole through the centre of the cake. Slide the cake on top of the eight-inch tier, with the dowling again going through the centre.

10. Repeat step six and seven inserting wilton plastic dowling into the seven-inch tier for support.

11. Next place the six-inch cake on the six-inch board, and like the other layers, poke a hole through the centre before sliding it down the pole on of the seven inch cake.

12. For the cake, I simply piped a ring of Italian Buttercream around the top layer of each cake, and popped on some berries for decoration.

Next Tuesday, Cherry will teach us how to cover a cake with edible printed paper, using any design!

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