Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tutorial: How to make a topsy turvy Cake

Before attempting making one  topsy turvy cake, please be prepared to feel a bit frustrated and even not to get the results you are expecting. Try to practice first before attempting to make this for a special event. But once you understand all this process, you will be so glad to know how to make a whimsical and super funny cake for a special occasion. Let's start!!!

Let's start with a good board. I use a 12'x12' squared MDF board,  I ask the nice guy from my local Home Depot to cut them for me. Using My ultra long ruler, I mark an "X" on the boar so I can easily find the center. I also use a PVC pipe for drinking water, previously through out washed with soap and warm water. And also a PVC Flange to insert in the board. There is no good cake structure, with out a proper structure !!! 

I drill a hole in the center and attach the flange, it has to be perfectly straight so the pipe is set perfectly straight. 
Note: Please make sure to cover all the PVC pipe and flange in saran paper, even though it is pipe meant for drinking water, I still hate anything non edible touching any of my cake. 

Once the board is built, set aside and start with the cakes. I ALWAYS  use a separate board for any of my cakes, I NEVER place any of my cakes directly on the main board or the decorated one. Before placing any cakes you HAVE to open some holes on each board, big enough that the PVC pipe can go through. 
Note: If you forget this step, you will be in trouble!!! 

For this design, I used 2 tiers. Bottom tier: 10", 9", 8" and top tier: 7",6", 5"  I own even pans and odd pans. I bake them this way because I hate trowing away soo much cake but you can make 10",10" 8" if you only own evens. Turn them up side down, so the larger cake is bottom and smaller on top. 

For this design, I used 2 tiers. Bottom tier: 10", 9", 8" and top tier: 7",6", 5"  I have  even size pans and odd pans. I bake them this way because I hate trowing away soo much cake but you can make 10",10" 8" if you only own evens. Turn them up side down, so the larger cake is bottom and smaller on top. 
It is time now to carve each tier so you can get sort of a trapezoid shaped cake (is that the name??LOL I m bad a geometry ) this step will make your cake look tapered. 
Note: I always work the cake upside down. Remember gravity will try to pull the sides of your cake down, your cake can split in half if you don't work them this way. 

and cover in ganache, you can also use buttercream after ganache, but all ganache is great and makes your structure sturdier. Drag the excess and use two boards to guide the spatula. 

Note: If your cake suppose to be flat on top, You can stop here and chill the cake,  make sure all boards have a hole to go through the center pole.   
(I missed this step while making this cake, sorry guys) there are 2 ways for making tupsy turvy tiers: Flat or with a transverse cut on the very top part of the tier. In this picture, My cake has a traverse cut, I Use my long knife to slice the topper part. Using the knife, I slice a bit  at 1/2 inch from the edge of the cake  on one side and then 2" from the other side and slowly i slice all the the way, from one side to the other. 

Measure the diameter of the cake on the wider part and also the height of the cake on the taller part, just to make sure you are rolling enough fondant (using a mixture of 50/50 fondant and modeling chocolate brings even better results) . Once is roll out, take a piece of PVC pipe or a tall enough rolling pin and roll the fondant strip on it, lift it and on your turn table, unroll it all around the previously wet cake, making sure it sticks on the wider part. It sounds complicated but is not, trust me this is the best way to cover a tapered tier cake. But you must practice!! and practice. I bet you got you fondant cake properly covered after at least 5 tries, right??
  Note: check how soft is the fondant, too soft it will drag down, too dry out will form elephant skin .

cover all around, making sure is really stick to the  cake on the wider part of it, use a fondant smoother to smooth all the fondant, cat all the excess from bottom, but leave the top as is!!!! wait for the next step 

cut a fondant circle, big enough to cover the topper part of the cake. Wet the cake a bit, lift the fondant and add to topper part, smoothing and pulling it to the edges. If your fondant is too soft, let it dry a bit. If you add some modeling chocolate it'll get firmer if you place it in the fridge a lit bit so that way is easier to lift. If you are afraid to lift it with your hands, then use a cardboard to help you lift it and place it on top of the cake. 

 cut the excess with a sharp knife or x-xacto knife, Wet the edges just a little bit and smooth the edges. If you are using fondant/ modeling chocolate combination, then edges will be able to smooth together and make the seems less noticeable. 

I use 2 pieces of sheet for making stencils or acetate sheet to smooth the edges. You need to work hard on this part. Use the fondant smoother plus the sheets. Always make sure all edges are really glued together.   

 It looks good after 20 min of good smoothing and work on the edges. 

ou can cover the lines where fondant meets by adding decoration like stripes 

Now it is time to stack , I don't carve anything on the cake to place the upper tier, there are different ways to make the sacking part , I use wooden dowels or sturdy large straws . 

Decorate your board and place the cake on it stacking it to the PVC pipe. You need to stack as any other cake: place some hollow dowels inside so the next tier sits on them. Before placing the next tier, measure and cut the PCV pipe so it will stay inside the topper tier and don't mess it up. You do not need to carve the topper part of any of the cakes to sit the next tier on it. They can be Placed on top of the other with no problem. Easier way.

My tips for tupsy turvy cakes :
  • Always use a good, dense cake. too crumbly cake will bring you many problems. 
  • Better to use buttercream or ganache as filling: forget about jams or any runny filling 
  • better to always cover in ganache
  • keep the cake at room temperature. condensation can make it soft  
  • never forget to get the holes done on each board 
  • i loove this way of covering cakes, it always work, but is not magic you need to practice. 

LOOOOVE you and hope I can see your own creations coming to life!!!! 


  1. Hi Joly. I am making a cake like this and was wondering if it would be okay to cover in ganache then buttercream a nd leave the fondant off?

    1. Yes you can !! I actually have used only ganache (maybe colored ) and cover a cake and dont add any fondant.

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