Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cake Boards

Making cake boards is not my favorite part of decorating.  I find it rather boring.  It is, however, very important so bear with me on this topic.  Cake boards are what you build your cakes on and use between tiers on a stacked cake.  You could certainly use a platter or plate for the base, which I have done many times.  This post will show you how to make them out of cardboard.  I have made cardboard cake boards common practice in my kitchen for a few reasons.  First, when you take them to an event you don't have to worry about getting them back.   Second, and I'm not sure this is a seperate reason, you can send the extra cake home with the guest of honor.  If your cake is very large, you will want to use something more sturdy than the cardboard.  I have used the cardboard successfully for as much as three tiered cakes.  They might work for even larger cakes, but I haven't attempted it.  I will discuss what I use for larger cakes in a later post.

Lets get started.
First you need some corrugated cardboard.  In this case I start with some pre-cut 12" rounds.  These can be purchased in several different sizes of rounds as well as rectangles and squares.  For the bottom cake board
that will carry the entire weight of the cake I use at least two layers.  For a three tiered cake I would use 3-4 depending on the size of the tiers.  My rule of thumb is that it is better to overkill on the stability than to have the cake crash.
(Sorry about this picture.  I don't know what happened to my light.)
If you don't have the desired pre-cut size or shape, just trace your pan on a larger piece of cardboard and cut it out with some heavy-duty scissors.  This is my 6" round for my top tier.  For any tier other than the very bottom I use a single layer of cardboard.

Once you have the correct size and shape of cardboard pieces, get some elmer's glue or something similar.  Put the glue between the layers on your multi-layer bottom cake board.  I have used tape to hold the boards together but it showed through the contact paper in the next step.

Make sure that you align the corrugation in different directions when you stack up the layers.  This will make the board much stronger.

I like to cover all my cake boards in white contact paper.  It makes them look clean and prevents the moisture of the cake from compromising the strength of the cardboard.  You could certainly use a patterned or colored contact paper if you are going for a particular look.  You could even cover your cardboard with a decorative paper and then use clear contact paper over that.  Either way, you trace a large circle 2-3 inches larger than the cardboard.  I just eyeball it.  It doesn't have to be perfectly round.  Cut this out and carefully remove the protective paper.  Stick this (centered) to the white side of the cardboard.  If your cardboard is not white just stick it to the best looking side.
Next, cut slits around the contact paper that extends past the cardboard.  It will look like thick fringe.

Work your way around the board folding the fringe onto the back of the cardboard.

Tada!  One finished cake board...for the bottom.  For the boards that go between the tiers there is one more step.

I stick one more piece of contact paper on the back to completely seal in the cardboard.  This step is crucial to the stability of your cake.  You don't want the moisture from the lower tier to seep into the cardboard and make it floppy.  That would be a recipe for disaster.

There you have it, the somewhat mundane, but important step of cake board construction.

Happy caking!



  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I've been trying for months to figure out what size of cake board i need for each layer, and if I need to cover it, etc.

    Much appreciated!

  2. Frostine, Thank you, thank you, thank you so much! I am making a birthday cake for my niece in the shape of a pirate ship sailing on the ocean, and I needed cardboard to support the ship. I have cardboard and I was wondering what I should use to cover it with. Contact paper is a great idea and I have some downstairs, so you really helped me!

  3. Hi LydSyl,
    I'm so glad that you found this post helpful. I make unusually shaped cakes all the time and this really works.

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  5. Hi there
    Thanks for your site - for some reason only discovered it now, and seeing that cake is universal, I love that I can learn off the whole world (oops, for a now and then cake?). Is it THAT much more expensive to just from the word go, use those thin masonite boards, ready covered and hard as block and then enough to get it really flush? Thing is with them, it's hard to get them exactly in your tin size and then to cut those, well you nead some heavy artillery to do that? They don't even bend. But I found them sort'o NOT expensive, only thee in the cake biz will be able to tell me that they're really too expensive to only use? There is not far from me a masonite factory who actually covers cake boards, wondered if I shouldn't just skip the corrugated boards, flicker my sparse eyelashes at this person and have them custom cut - and no worries? Whatever you say will be the road I take in this. Cheers