Reach New Heights: Tips for Creating Solid Cake Support Structures

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Cake Decorating |


When it comes to creating fantastic gravity-defying cakes, the most important thing to plan and consider is its support structure! If you don’t carefully establish and daft just how your show-stopping sky high cake will stand and keep upright and indestructible you’ll sadly be left with one rather lackluster design. To help, here’s a quick look at building and planning durable support systems for gravity-eluding cakes!

Helpful tips and advice for creating structures to support incredible gravity-defying cakes:

Gravity Defying Baking-theme Cake

Photo via Craftsy member StilettoStudio

Plan ahead

Working with both simple and elaborate cake support structures is a fabulous way to elevate your designs to a whole new level. A cake support structure is basically the “skeleton” to a gravity-defying cake, and almost every cake relies on a structure of some sort from the humble doweling rod to a monstrous piping system. If you’re hoping to make a taller than average cake, you must plan what structure you’ll need.

The above pictured baking-themed cake, like any other gravity-defying cake, requires quite a bit of planning and forethought. Even if you’ve made cakes that feature a weightless design element before, never underestimate this technique. Always make sure to plan well in advance. It can make all the different between your design being a flop or a flight of fancy.

On top of spaghetti -- Gravity-defying sculpted cake!

Photo via Craftsy member Marizza

Material world

An important thing to consider is what materials should you use and what to avoid. Here in the UK, for example, it’s illegal to use wire or metal in cakes. Every country has different and varying rules and regulations when it comes to food and materials that may or may not be in contact with edible items, so check to make sure!

Some materials generally used for creating cake support structures include wood, plastic and metal. Our advice when deciding which to use is to write out a list of pros and cons for each: e.g. brand new plastic piping is excellent for fluid designs like coral reefs.

For lighter designs, like candy sprinkling onto a tiered cake, you can think about utilizing plastic doweling rods, cake boards and dark chocolate. For more ambitious designs, you may need to think about more robust tools like wooden cake boards, plastic piping and screws!

Toast to cake! An incredible cake design on Craftsy.com

Photo via Craftsy member Cecygarcia

Trial and error

Make sure to set aside time to test your materials to make sure they’re perfect for the job. The more ambitious the design, the more thought needs to be put into it’s structure — a normal cake board and dowel just won’t cut it for a hanging chandelier cake. Instead, you’ll have to whip out the power tools or commission a custom made structure.

One important tip is to test the estimated weight of a cake  on a hanging structure or the weight of an edible design (like a sugar glass wine bottle) on a wire before hand!

There are some great e-stores and even eBay or Etsy sellers our there who manufacture cake support structures for you to either buy “off the shelf” or have custom made, which is fantastic if you either can’t make one yourself or don’t know anyone who can for you.

Defying Gravity Ice Cream Cone Cake Design on Craftsy

Photo via Craftsy instructor Lauren Kitchens

Start small

If you’re a novice, and you’ve got some rather grand designs for a gravity-defying creation, please mind our advice — don’t take on too much and to begin with a small project instead. This will help familiarize you with the techniques and materials used to make weightless style designs. Why not think of a clever collection of mini-cakes such as the above sweet ice cream cupcakes with suspended fudge sauce bottles hovering above!

Can't Believe It's Cake -- Spaghetti and Meatball cake design!

Photo via Craftsy member Voula Bourdantonakis

Play with your food

Gravity-defying cakes are not only clever, but they’re amazing fun designs to work with, as all of the above fabulous designs prove, so don’t be afraid to be playful and mischievous with your work. The best cake designs are conversation starters and sources of awe and inspiration whether sophisticated or novelty; but all cakes need a sense of fun and play to help spur their design.

An important piece of advice is to make sure you perfect the basics and get your foundations spot on; this bit of guidance is definitely an important factor when it comes to designing and constructing gravity-defying cakes! A good, durable and well functioning cake support structure is the best foundation for a center piece cake.

If you’re feeling super inspired to create your own gravity eluding cake why not sign-up to Lauren Kitchens Gravity-Defying Cake Designs class where you’ll learn some valuable advice, tips and design ideas, like how to make some of the cakes featured in this post!

Which gravity-defying cake designs are you simply itching to try out?