## All you Need to Know About Tall or Extended Height Cakes

Tall cakes or extended height cakes are a recent trend. They have the ability to make the overall design of the cake tall, lean, and elegant. These cakes are not difficult to make. And yet, a few precautions are worth paying attention to, such as cake boards, doweling, and stacking. Also, in this post, I explain the differences between tall, extended height cakes, and double barrel cakes.

## What is the difference between tall and double barrel cakes?

A tall cake is usually just a cake whose height has been extended. Usually, by adding one more layer. So, instead of a two-layer cake, you now have a three-layer cake. While a double barrel cake is two or three cakes stacked one on top of the other. It can be about 8 to 10 inches tall. So simply speaking, a tall cake is an extended height cake, while a double barrel is an extended tier cake.

Let's use the cake below as an example:

- The top tier is a standard cake - 4 inches tall.
- The middle is a double barrel cake - about 10 inches tall.
- The bottom is a tall cake - about 6 inches tall.

**Standard cakes**

- Most cakes are usually 2 layers of cake with a cake board on the bottom.
- The layers can each be 2 inches or 3 inches tall.
- So there can be two layers making one 4 to 6 inches tall cake. These do not need any additional support as long as they are on a good cake circle/board.

This Burgundy Stenciled cake is four tiers of a standard height cake. All of them are 2 x 2 layer cakes with three layers of filling.

This is what a standard cake looks like on the inside 2 x 2 layers - each layer is split into 2 so we have 3 fillings with 4 layers of cake.

**Tall cakes**

As a general rule, I love tall cakes. And while my cake orders are often regular 4-inch cakes, I tend to deliver 5 or 6-inch layer cakes. Tall cakes are so much prettier!! Don't you think?

Look at my recent Blossom white wedding cake (the photo below). These are all 4-inch tall layer cakes. Close your eyes for just a minute and imagine this same cake with 6-inch tall tiers. Can you imagine how much more of a wow factor those 6 inches would add to this cake? Right?

- It is a 6-inch cake with three layers of cake each 2-inches in height.
- Usually, you can stack the three layers on a single cake board/circle as shown below.
- Such a 6 or 7-inch cake does not necessarily need any support dowel inside the cake. They can still hold their weight as long as they have a good cake board below. One that does not flex!!

This African safari wedding cake is a good example of standard vs. tall or extended height cake.

- The top two layers are standard - 2 x 2 layers with three fillings = 5-inch tall.
- The bottom tier, however, is 3 x 2-inch cakes with 2 layers of fillings = 6 inches tall (almost 7-inch tall cake).

**Double-barrel cakes**

- This is again a 6-inch tall cake with three layers.
- But, if you split each layer into more layers you will need to dowel and add another cake circle in between. Why?
- So the bottom cake layers do not buckle under the weight of the top layers.
- The more layers you add the more your structure becomes weak. Hence, the more support you need.
- Also, more layers mean more movement. Hence even a center dowel is sometimes necessary so the layers stay stacked evenly.

This would be one cake inside your double-barrel cake - can you imagine adding 4 more layers on this without any support? Nah, it would buckle under the weight, and move around with the frosting.

## Servings sizes for tall vs. double barrel cake

**Tall Cake -**Well, it's just one extra layer so it really only makes your cake taller. So, each serving is a taller slice of cake not necessarily more servings.

Of course, you could serve half a slice if it was a family event. And yet, in general, you would want to give your guests a good slice that starts from the top to bottom. It's more aesthetically pleasing. Therefore, it does not add extra servings.

However, financially it does add extra cake. Hence, I personally have different prices for my tall vs, standard cakes.- In case of a
**Double Barrel -**yes! It's two full cakes with a cake board in between so it can be separated and served as two cakes. So, you do have extra servings and you price it as two cakes into one double barrel cake.

## Tip Thursday - tall or extended height cake

I tried to create a little diagram to help you understand. In the next post, I will be talking about double-barrel cakes. I hope you find that useful as well. You can **Pin this Tip Thursday on Pinterest** as well as my other Tip Thursday posts.

SAVE THIS RECIPE ON PINTEREST FOR LATER. TRIED MY RECIPE? SHARE IT WITH ME, PLEASE.

Share a picture of your work with me by uploading an image here below my image on this board. You can also find a collection of my tutorials and recipes here on Pinterest.

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Week 1 Day 6 done. Your cakes are absolutely gorgeous.

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Hi, I have not received further lessons. Would love to learn more.

Veena Azmanov

Mercia. all emails are gone thru. Please check spam or other folders and add the email address to your email address book.

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Linda

August 6, 2020 11:17 am

Week 1 Day 6 DONE

Thank you for sharing the difference in the tall and barrel cakes. I find this fascinating, and I am learning so much about making cakes.

Shenaz

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Magy

Day6 done. I personally love tall cakes but each time I give my price, clients run. Now I know what the size of cake they are used to and dont understand why my price is higher and they tell me "I found it cheaper elsewhere"

Veena Azmanov

Magy. What you can do is, of course, charge for an 8-inch cake but bake it in 7-inch pans. Of course, you have to be transparent with the customers - most of them want their cake and will leave the small details to you. Often they won't argue if the cake is 1-inch taller instead of wider. Hope that makes sense

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Day 6 done. I am still trying to decorate a single came so this is way beyond me at this moment. But l will get there in a few weeks because l am determined.

Veena Azmanov

Yes, we all think tall cakes are not for us now.. but wait in a few days and you will be looking forward to making a tall cake. They are pretty

Joanne

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Val

Day 6 done. Hi I found this very confusing. I would have great difficulty covering these cakes with fondant as I have not had much success with taller cakes due to the amount of fondant needed and it also ripping. However i just bake for family so not to worry.

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Janet

Hi. I made the white wedding cake recipe. I used 2 6" pans. Filled them both the same. I used cake strips to keep them loo level. Oven temp was 320ยฐ. One cake turned out perfect, the other one sunk. This was a practice/tasting cake as I'm making my nieces wedding cake in Sept. What went wrong?

Veena Azmanov

Sounds like your oven is not heating evenly, Janet. Are you baking one up and one down? Sounds like one cake is not getting enough heat so it's sinking. You can bake one at a time on the middle rack. Or use a fan assisted oven. You can also turn the pan over during baking... top / down - front / back.

I hope this helps

Janet

Thank you so much for your feedback. I really like your blog & I'm glad I found you.

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Done๐๐ปThank you, so helpful ๐ค You are amazing๐ค๐๐ป

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Paycie

Hello Veena,

Thank you so much for the helpful article! I was wondering if you might be able to answer some questions of mine. I plan to bake a 9โ round cake for a birthday. There wonโt be any tiers, but Iโd like to have four cake layers (with 3 layers of filling). Each of my four 9โ round pans are 1.5โ deep. Would I be able to stack four layers at 1.5โ each without using dowels? Or should I trim the layers to 1โ? The fillings will be custard, so Iโm concerned about the weight. Thanks!

Veena Azmanov

Hey Paycie. This is a coincidence as I just made a fault line cake with custard filling.

You can stack 3 x 2 layers of cake up to 2 inches tall without any dowels. That is my standard cakes. Most of my cakes are 2 inches each and I stack three layers making it a tall 6-inch layer or more.

Custard fillings are fine as long as you take care the filling won't ooze out. So put a thick dam on the outside. I highly recommend chilling the cakes as you go to prevent the layers of the cake from slipping. You can also use a skewer in the center of the cake to hold them in place while you frost the outside. But chilling is key between frosting. I hope this helps

Juliet

Hi Veena, I'm Juliet from Nigeria. Thank you for your post. It was quite enlighting. I have a little problem when covering my cakes with fondant. The double barrel method. When i cover it, i see the demarcation on the cake. How can i prevent it from showing on the cake. Thank you.

Veena Azmanov

Hey Juliet.

Are you have less buttercream or ganache on your cake?

The cakes must be exactly the same size - all layers.

When you torte them make sure you don't have big gaps, so torte them at the base of the cake not too high. Trim the size of the cake if you have big gaps.

Use a cake board that's an inch smaller than the cake (for the top cake).

Epcibha Oliver

Hi Veena one more question..can a spongecake with whipping cream be stacked..as I have told earlier , that I m planing to make three tiered? Will there be any problem..pls help.Thanks in advance

Veena Azmanov

Yes, Epcibha. You can stack whipped cream cakes provided you dowel the cake. I explained more about doweling here in this post. How to dowel cakes.

Epcibha Oliver

Hi Veena.. I'm planning to make a three tier fondant cake for a first birthday..what should be the size of the tiers..can it be 8",6"& 4".and one more thing how tall should each layer be? Can I cover the whipped cream in fondant? thank u?..love all ur recipes

Veena Azmanov

Hey Epcibha Oliver. Yes, 8, 6 and 4 go well together. You can make each tier at least 4 inches which means two cake layers in each cake. You can also make the middle tier 6 inch tall and it will look nice. Whipped cream is too light and fondant is too heavy plus whipped cream does not firm up like buttercream or ganache. So either you make three tiers whipped cream cake. And if you want a fondant cake use ganache or buttercream. Hope this helps.

melanie garland

hi veena

i have a question about a cake im making its a 3 tier jack o lantern cake im using a bundt pan for bottom (buttercream) middle layer round pan(butter cream) then another bundt on top. all are 10 inches and covered in mmf. do i need support or additional cake boards and how do i do this

Veena Azmanov

Yes, yes, and yes. As long as you have coke on top of cake.. you must think support. So you will need a cake board below each cake. The bottom and middle will need to be dowelled, so they can carry the weight of the top tiers. For additional security, I usually add a center dowel thru the cakes so all the cakes stay in place. I hope this helps.

Melanie

Ty veena

Veena Azmanov

You are welcome

mae

hello. just wanted to know if a three tiered cake with a 9 inch bottom, 6 inch middle and 4 inch top is weird for a wedding cake. all tiers will have three layers of cake so every tier is tall. I find your post really helpful and wanted to know more. ๐ Hope you can help me out. thanks

Veena Azmanov

Hey Mae. No a 9/6/4 is not weird at all. You will have a bigger gap between the 9 and 6 inch as compared to the 6 and 4 inch but it's still not weird. You can even make the bottom 9 inch a 4 layer cake and it will look taller in height. But your 3 tiers with 3 layers each works just as well. I . hope this helps.

Cookie

Thank you so much for explaining this - now it makes sense. Thank you.

Veena Azmanov

Thank you, Cookie. So happy to hear you found this post useful. Thanks for coming back to write this feedback. Have a lovely day.

Glena

Hey,

My name is Glena. I really wanted to know that, for example a 6" size (diameter) cake results in how many kgs of cake with frosting and filling and this cake has 3 layers in it?

Veena Azmanov

Hey, Glena. I did not understand your question. So you want a tall cake using 6" diameter. Well if it was on top of a tiered cake then I'd do only 3 layers and keep it proportionate to the rest of the tiers. I do not know cake by kgs - we sell by servings. But if you will need 1 /1/2 times any 6 inch cake recipe and bake it in 3 pans (or two pans can give you four thinner laters) For frosting I make a double batch and save the rest.

Andrea

This is the exact information I was looking for for an upcoming cake order I have. I could not find this information anywhere until I stumbled upon this post. Thank you so much for the help, it was just what I was looking for!!

Veena Azmanov

So happy to hear this post was helpful. Thank you Andrea. You are welcome.

Damaris

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Peppy

Good morning Veena,

I am making a bridesmaid charm cake for the bridesmaids luncheon which I am also hosting. I wanted to make a 10-inch, 3 layer cake. Or should I make a 9-inch, 2 layer cake and have an extra cake to be served by the country club staff? Expecting 30 ladies. Thank you and love your website.

Veena Azmanov

Hey Peppy. Sorry not sure why this comment when to spam. Both cakes sound good, 10 x 3 layers or 9 x 2 layers. It depends on how comfortable you are with working on big cakes. Alternatively, you can split this batter and make a few tiered cakes with the same number of servings. Like 6 + 8 inch or 5 + 7 inch. Dowel and stack for a more fancy cake.

Eva

Hello Veena;

Thank you so much for your advice. My sister has asked me to make her wedding cake. she is doing a cup cake cake stand but requires a cake for the top layer to carry the cake topper. The size of the topper is 4.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches. Should I make a 6inch diameter cake? what would be the cake size you recommend? we are considering a 7inch diameter cake with 4 layers 2 inches thick. Would we need any dowels for a cake this size?

thank you for your advice!

Eva

Veena Azmanov

Sounds like a tall topper. You can make a 7 in cake with 4 layers - it would come to about 10 inch - if you calculate 2 inch tiers plus 1/2 inch frosting between each layer. I would recommend using the panel method to cover with fodnant. And yes you definitely need to dowel after 2 layers with a cake circle/board in between.

Arvin

Thank you so much for your lovely blog - I have learned so much from you. I love your tutorials and recipes. Thank you for your generousity.

Veena Azmanov

Thank you so much Arvin. Happy to hear my blog is being helpful. Thanks

Mary

I am making a two tier cake. The bottom layer has 5 one inch layers plus friosying making it about six inches high. The second tier is 6 inch wide h five layers again. I know I need supports for the top tier but so I need to further dowel the bottom tier ? Tot is it better to have four 1-1/2 inch layers for each tier?

Thanks so much.

Veena Azmanov

Not sure I understand your question.You always need dowels for the bottom tier so it can take the weight of the top tier. If the top tier is 6 inches then you dont' really need to dowel inside the top tier. Just the bottom tier so you can stack the top tier. Makes sense?

Mary

Sorry meant (brain fog) I meant if you were jut making a 9 inch five layer cake with 1:4 inch frosting - making it a roughly 6 inch tall cake with one layer having a black cherry filling (with buttercream dam around it).

Thank you so much.

Veena Azmanov

Mary not sure I still understand you but - A cake with 6 inch tall is ok. Anything more than that would need internal dowels and cake board in between.

Mary

Yes that's what I meant. Whether I needed dowelling for a 6 inch tall cake.

Thank you so much for all your help. I was totally unclear but you figured it out for me.

Veena Azmanov

glad to hear that. Thanks

Anne

Day 6 done

Anne

Hello Veena. Thank you for this post I'm a self-taught baker and I'm learning for my mistakes . I didn't realise more layers makes the structure weaker . Do you have a blog on how to insert dowels ? Last week my cake slanted and when I removed the later I noticed the plastic dowels had slanted . Is it better to use hollow dowels ? And how do you insert a centre dowel through the cake circles ? I once use cake frame with a centre dowel but when I transported the cake the cake moved in the car and having the dowel in the centre made the hole even bigger . Do you add frosting between the dowel and cake so it sticks ?

Veena Azmanov

I do have a blog post that explains cake doweling. I do prefer to use bubble tea straws. I they are broader so they weork better for my hot weather. I do make my cake board with a center hole for the dowel. I do add frosting between tiers.

Anne

Day 6 done it

denise

Beautiful cakes . How many inches round is the African cake for bottom tier and middle? I'm making a wedding cake and the bottom is 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Trying to focus out what height to make the middle.

Veena Azmanov

The African Safari three tier cake? That's a 10" round on the bottom

Nazreen Noor

Hi Veena, thank you for this post! I was wondering (as im still lost with charging for my cakes). What advise wld you have to offer for the difference in price/charges for cake designs with a mix of standard height and tall/barrel cake for the various tiers? Thank you ๐

Veena Azmanov

Nazreen you have to charge this cake just as it is -based on the layers. My standard cakes are 4 in tall with 2 layers so if I make such cakes I charge more because I have to obviously make more cake! In this case I woudl charge for that extra layer. I hope that makes sense. Just be honest and explain to customers - that more cake means more price.

namrata

Hi veena.. need urgent help .. m making 3 tier cake .. the bottom most layer is dummy and top n second tier are cake tiers, together 4 kg cake and dummy. I tv problem that I didn't realize first .. I baked cake and now I realized that my center dowel is not tall enough to run through all 3 tiers .. any suggestions ? Urgent

Veena Azmanov

Can you use a different dowel? longer one? Is it glued to the board. Alternatively you could use a second dowel that goes only to the dummy. Also the dowel does not have to come to the top. I usually only put my dowel to the half way of the top most cake.

Lucia

Hi Veena! Can you make a post on how to cover one of those tall cakes? I can't manage to cover it with fondant, it always breaks on the edges by it's weight ๐

Marlyn

Hi Veena,

When you make the extended height cakes, that changes the servings amount, correct? Could you talk about that? Thanks.

Veena Azmanov

No tall cakes do not add to extra servings really! I updated the post. Do check it out. I hope it helps.

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