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@Kathy P:  Funny you asked!  This was my first tiered cake.  I knew the 'engineering' would be important. I used parchment circles on the bottom of cake pans, then greased and floured sides to prevent breakage. I used baking strips to ensure even baking. I bought a plastic (so I could wash it) leveling tool from Home Depot, and made sure the cakes were completely level before frosting.  I frosted using the "Upside-Down" method (check the Internet) to get the top flat and 90-degree edges.  I used lots of plastic dowels on the inside to support the tiers and prevent collapse, and one long center dowel rod between both the top and bottom cakes to prevent sliding during transportation.  But there was one big 'lesson-learned:' The top tier has little 'feet" which lock into the columns.  The 'feet' lock in only one way, you can't turn the top plate once it's set in the columns.  I did all that measuring and planning.  Yet, I didn't take the column placement into account when I decorated the top tier.  Thus, when the top cake plate was set into the columns, it was about 30 degrees off center. My daughter didn't notice, but it bugged me!    

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