Wedding cakes take top billing at the reception, with their towering tiers of iced sweetness, seemingly defying gravity on decorative pillars. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to assemble a wedding cake when you use separator plates and matching pillars. With the right equipment, you can assemble a wedding cake with multiple tiers without risking collapse.
Purchase separator plates to hold each cake tier. Each separator plate should be about 1/2 inch larger than its corresponding cake tier, to allow for an icing border around the base of the tier.
Select from a range of pillar heights that will hold each tier above the one below. Traditionally, each tier consists of four 1-inch cake layers with filling in between, making the tier approximately 5 inches high when iced. If you choose 8-inch pillars, you will have about 3 inches between the top of one cake tier and the bottom of the next layer. If you choose 6-inch pillars, you'll have a 1-inch space between tiers. Typically, the more tiers you have, the shorter the pillars, to ensure that the cake remains sturdy.
Place a single layer of cake on a separator plate, keeping the small nubs that will secure the pillars on the bottom. Don't use a cardboard cake form between the cake and the separator plate to reduce slipping.
Fill and ice all the layers that will form the individual cake tier, right on the separator plate. Repeat this process with all additional tiers. When you're finished, you'll have multiple iced tiers, each on its own separator plate.
Make indentations on the bottom layer that match the nubs on the bottom of the next tier. The quickest way to do this is to take an empty separator plate of the same size as the next tier, and place it lightly on top of the iced bottom layer. This will produce tiny guide marks.
Insert one pillar into the cake layer at each guide mark, keeping the pillars perfectly vertical. Push the pillar all the way down until it makes contact with the plate beneath the cake layer.
Position the next layer on top of the pillars, making sure that the cups in the tops of the pillars fit snugly around the corresponding nubs on the bottom of the separator plate. Repeat with each additional layer you wish to add to the wedding cake.
Stack the wedding cake at the reception. A multitiered wedding cake is heavy and transporting an assembled cake may result in a cake accident. Each layer, boxed individually, is simple to transport and the cake is more likely to arrive at the reception without incident.