Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Heavy Duty Cake Boards

"What should I use for a heavy duty cake board?"  I've run across this question a lot lately.  When you are making a special cake, especially a large cake, you just don't want to risk any instability due to your cake board.  I have used multiple layers of card board before for cakes up to three tiers.  However, for larger cakes or for occasions that call for something more substantial, what should you use?  There are lots of options out there.  I choose to make my own heavy duty cake boards out of 3/4" plywood.  Why? 

First, it is extremely sturdy.  If you can use it as a subfloor in your house to walk on, it can certainly hold a very large cake. 

Second, it is relatively inexpensive.  You can buy a whole sheet for around $10 or go even cheaper and buy scrap at the home improvement store.  I haven't tried it yet but I'm sure you could also use MDF which is even cheaper. 

Third, it can be cut into any shape or size that you desire.

I currently have two such cake boards that I use quite often, one rectangle, and one circle.
You can see the round one here.  It is approximately 16" in diameter.  In this photo the cake is set on a pedestal cake plate to give it some added height.  I also have feet on the bottom of the board for times when it is used alone.  More on that in a minute.

Here you can see the rectangle board.  It is 13" x 17".  As you can see I like to edge the boards with ribbon to dress them up some.  You can also cover them in fondant if you like.

Let's take a closer look.
Here is the rectangle board all stripped down.  To make this board I marked the dimensions on the sheet of plywood and cut it out with a jigsaw.(If you are not familiar with a jigsaw, see the picture below.)  I love that tool.  I think I use it more than my husband does.  If you have access to a table saw for this step consider yourself envied.  Man, I want one of those.  Next, sand the board to get rid of any rough edges.  I used an electric palm sander.  If you don't have one you can certainly sand it by hand.  Now you are ready to cover with contact paper.

Here is my round board.  I know, the contact paper cover is all marked up and yucky.  That happened in the move.  I went ahead and took the picture this way to make a point.  All I need to do is peal off the yucky contact paper and re-cover and it is as good as new.  I made this board the same way as the rectangle.  My trick on marking a perfect circle on the plywood is this:  Hammer a nail part way into the plywood to mark the center of your circle(part of the nail should be sticking up).  Measure a piece of string the length of the radius(half the diameter).  Tie a loop on each end of the string.  Hook one loop over the nail.  Put a pencil through the other loop.  Pulling the string tight with the pencil, mark all the way around the circle, like a big compass.  Using this method, you can make any size circle you want.  Proceed with the jigsaw.

 Here is a picture of the underneath side of the board.  I cover these using the same method as for the cardboard cake boards.  You can read about that here.

Remember those feet I mentioned earlier?  Those four circular things are the feet.
They are just tall enough to give a finger space under the board.  This comes in especially handy when the cake is very heavy.  That space makes it easy to pick up the cake to move it and to set it down without jostling the cake too much.
Here is a close up of one foot.  It is actually a left over plastic piece from a support structure I used.  You could also use a small piece of plywood.  If you attach them in from the edge enough, they will never be seen.  I attached mine with hot glue.

I just love these cake boards.  These boards will not bend or flex under your cake and cause the frosting to crack.  I never worry about the strength of the cake board when I use one of these babies. 


Short disclaimer:  When using power tools, please follow all safety instructions indicated in the owners manual.


  1. Great information, I love your blog!

  2. Hello!
    I know this post is old now, but in case you're still answering, I was wondering--do you put the footed cake board on a cake stand, or use one without feet? I'm going to try to make one of these and I love the idea of feet to help pick it up, but I'm going to be putting it on a pedestal cake stand and it seems like that might be weird to have a gap there, no to mention that it doesn't seem like it would be as stable (like maybe it would shift around).
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Hi Angela,
    I'll answer even when it's an old post. =) In the picture above where I used a pedestal cake stand I did have the feet on the board. The pedestal had a raised edge or lip on it that was deeper than the little feet so it rested on the lip of the pedestal cake plate. My little feet are glued on with hot glue. If they are in the way I can just pull them off and glue them back on later. I also set the cake on the pedestal on site. If you are worried about the table being jiggled and the cake slipping, I would hot glue or carpet tape between the board and the pedestal plate to keep it from shifting.

    Hope that answered your question. If not, I'll be watching comments or emails are always welcome.

  4. Hi,
    Magic idea, thank you for the tips!! Can I put a shaped cake directly onto the contact paper? Many thanks