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a guide for dummy tiers

What are they?
Dummy tiers are essentially polystyrene blocks. They come as rounds or squares and can be straight edged or rounded.

What are they for?
Cake dummies are used most commonly for display cakes. These are for wedding shows, window displays, photoshoots etc.

They are also used in addition to real tiers on a wedding cake to add height or drama to the cake where no more real cake is needed. If a bride has her heart set on a 5 tier but she only has 150 guests, she can add a large dummy tier to the bottom of the cake which will be decorated in exactly the same way as the main cake, so no one will ever know!

They’re also good to practice new techniques on and double up nicely as a kids giant tower building set.


Polystyrene dummy tiers for a magazine shoot, before being covered in sugarpaste.

Are they cost effective for weddings?

They can be. The answer to this depends on who is making the cake, and what size dummies you’ll need. It’s unlikely that you’ll find difference in price between a 4″ cake vs a dummy.  However, if you wanted to add larger tiers to your cake (like  14/16/18)  then you may find a difference in price. Just remember, it won’t make your wedding cake cheaper as you’ll still need to order enough cake to serve your guests.

Use dummy tiers if you want to save money by having a fully decorated dummy cake and using serving or kitchen cakes. The amount of cake you’ll have to order will be the same.

Use dummy tiers to add more height and detail to your design without the extra cake.
Remember that traditionally the bottom tier of the cake is cut, so bare this in mind if you’re thinking of bumping up your cake with a large dummy.


  • Lavrine says:

    Hi Asma..I have a question..I need to make a two tier cake…an 8 inch six layer cake at the bottom and a six inch styrofoam cake on top…how do I stack the foam tier?….pls help..thanx a tom

    • Asma says:

      Hi Lavrine, you can just put it on top. You can use a cake board on the dummy or some baking paper stuck underneath it so that the styrofoam doesn’t stick to the real bottom tier. You use also royal icing to secure it. You don’t need to dowel the bottom tier, the dummy is so light it doesn’t need any help.

  • Anna says:

    Hi I am making a fake cake for my son 2 year birthday I’ve never done anything like this before I would like to know can I cover the 3 tier and do the decorations to put a few days later or will it not stick on to a dry cover

  • Maryke says:

    I am making a three tier cake. If the bottom is a dummy cake, do I dowel all three or only the two real cakes?

    • Asma says:

      You don’t need to dowel dummy cakes. Making holes in it will only weaken the structure and they can already withstand very heavy weights.

  • jenny beck says:

    can you make the bottom tier taller by adding a dummy under the real cake and sugar pasting over both to look like one tall cake

    • Asma says:

      Hi Jenny, I wouldn’t recommend it but it is possible if you ganache them together. To just ice them together is likely to have a line/gap between the board of the real cake and the dummy.

  • Anna says:

    Hi! Question. I need to do a two tier cake with just the top tier being real. I was wondering…do I keep the cake board under the top tier and just secure with buttercream to the foam tier? Or do I try to take it out so I can dowel from the top tier into the foam cake? Do you typically dowel the bottom foam tier? It will be an 8in vanilla cake tier on top with vanilla buttercream.


  • Ilona Jackson says:

    Can you use a simple buttercream frosting to decorate on dummy cakes?

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