Center a cake board the same size as the tier above it on base tier and press it gently into icing to imprint an outline. Remove. Use this outline to guide the insertion of the dowel rods.
Insert one dowel rod into cake straight down to the cake board. Make a knife scratch on the rod to mark the exact height. Pull dowel rod out.
Cut the suggested number of rods the exact same length, using the mark on the first one as a guide.
Now, insert rods into tier, spacing evenly 1 1/2 inches in from the imprinted outline. Push straight down until each touches the cake board. Repeat this procedure for every stacked or pillared tier on the cake.
Plastic Dowel Rods are wider in diameter and offer greater stability and more support per dowel rod; therefore, fewer rods need to be used. They are easy to cut to size with a serrated knife, and many decorators prefer their pure white color. They do take up more cake space, and this should be considered when planning the number of servings.
Wooden Dowel Rods are cut easily and cleanly using wire cutters, sharp shears or a small saw. They are economical and strong.