Construction in the kitchen: making a cake support structure
So in the next couple of weeks, we are making our fist 3-D cake (right now, it is a top-secret project) and we have been hard at work planning the project, especially since it needs to be well supported.
If you’ve ever watched any of the major cake decorating shows on television, such as “Ace of Cakes” or “Cake Boss” you would have seen Chef Duff and Chef Buddy creating 3-D cakes that used support structures made of PVC pipes, plywood, etc. Our up-coming project requires such a structure, so we headed out to get the supplies necessary to pull it off. Did we go to Michael’s or AC Moore or even our local decorating shop, Sweet N Fancy? Nope.
We went to Home Depot.
That’s right. We shopped for our supplies at our friendly local home improvement retailer. For this particular project, we couldn’t use a regular cake board because it just wouldn’t hold up under the weight of the cake (we are guessing it will exceed 30 pounds when it is all done). Instead, we needed some MDF (AKA medium-density fibreboard), a length of water-safe PVC pipe, a plumbing flange, and some wood screws. Oh yeah, and a jig saw – our first power tool in the kitchen, if you don’t count our gorgeous and over-worked Kitchen Aid stand mixers. Watch out, Duff, because here we come! :)
So how did we make these supplies into a cake structure? Fairly easily (once Christina figured out how to work the jig saw, that is)! Here are the steps we followed:
- Scribe (or trace) the shape needed on the MDF (use a graphite pencil, which is food-safe).
- Use the jig saw to cut it out (MDF makes a huge mess of very fine powder when you saw it, so be sure to work outside and wear safety goggles and a mask to cover your mouth).
- Center the flange and mark where the screws will go with a graphite pencil.
- Drill holes (using a drill gun) where you marked in Step 3.
- Screw the flange in with the wood screws using a Phillips head screwdriver.
- Insert the PVC pipe into the flange, making sure you have a tight fit. If you don’t, use some white plumbers tape and wrap the end of the pipe until you can insert it into the flange and it doesn’t wiggle.
Voila, you’re done!
Here is our finished structure, with the base covered in fondant and awaiting the cake.
Stay tuned for a pic of the revealed secret project in the next couple of weeks!
In the meantime, happy structure building and baking!
Christina and Meghan