Ok, so I am not goign to be one of those people who thinks a tiered cake can support itself and not lean or tip. There WILL be an interior support system. I've done the research and heard of using everything from unbaked spaghetti noodles (ew! wouldn't they sog?) to straws (um... don't they bend?). All the "experts" though, use wooden dowels.
I get most of the dowel system. What I don't get is how they manage to poke those dowels through the cardboard/foam bottoms of layers beneath, but somehow they do. That I am still figuring out. I know I know, you can sharpen them, but I don't want super pointy because then they won't be as stable, and I'm sorry, I can't even punch a pencil through cardboard easily. Won't it mess up the cake with all that pressure??
What also worries me though, is figuring out the size of the dowels. We're constructing the cake (hopefully) in the reception hall the day prior. I suppose I could always bring along my hand-held jigsaw... but that seems a bit much. Shouldn't the dowels be able to be pre-made?
But pre-making the dowels requires that you KNOW how thick each layer will be. I believe the solution to this is the layer cake cutter, which will make each layer the same thickness, and thus, you can have each tier be approximately the same size too. I am going to pre-make the cake tiers and put them in the freezer. I think I will also cover each tier with a fruit glaze. These are all efforts to eliminate crumbs.
So, if I make the layers on Monday and Tuesday, I can construct the tiers on Wednesday and glaze, then freeze overnight before transport on Thursday evening? Hm. I'm not that worried, honestly about crumbs, so if they thaw a bit I"m ok (MORE ICING!). I've iced lots of cakes. I suppose I could cut dowels on Wednesday too... but I'm worried about adding ANOTHER thing to my busy plate, you know?
I may just cut the dowels after I make my 2-tier test run. Then, I will know how big each tier is,right?
As far as dowels go... the cardboard/foam board poking through still has me concerned. I WANT sturdy board so the cake will be sturdy. I'm thinking of cutting the middle out of each board and sticking dowels through that. That way, there will be a center "column" of support throughout the whole cake, and then the individual dowels for each layer will be supported by the layer beneath. I think that could work...
I think what I may do is make a tiered sample, but just not have the cake. So, I'd be able to see the skeleton so to speak, of the cake support system. I REALLY don't want to try this for the first time the day before the wedding. That said, if the cake is a flop, big whoop. I still get to marry B.