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How to make a topsy-turvy cake!

March 7, 2008

Edit: I no longer update this blog but this post has been so popular and leaves so many questions for you all that I have written a new tutorial on my current blog – click here to go there!

For all of you who find me via the magical powers of Google while searching for instructions, today is your lucky day! I made a topsy-turvy cake for a 21st – my only criteria for the cake was that it was to be ‘different and crazy’, so I think this is ideal…

Before we get stuck in, I’d just like to point out that this is not for the fainthearted – I spent about 7 hours in the kitchen to make this, and my decorations are not even fiddly! If you’re in for the long haul – here we go! (if not, skim down and look at the pretty pictures anyway; if you go fast enough it’ll be a bit like one of those flip books you made at school when you were little!)

To start off with, you need a bunch of cakes. Three for each tier, to be precise. I only wanted a two tier cake, so I made 6. If you want a 3 tier cake, you’ll need 9. You’ll notice they’re not all the same size. To get that funky tapered look with less wasted cake you can make one cake for that tier in a smaller tin… Or just make them all the same size and shave off more – if, like me, you live with a bunch of hungry boys, it’ll all get devoured anyway. πŸ˜‰ I made three 19.5cm cakes, two 15cm cakes and one 10cm cake. (I found it works better to keep supporting layers reasonably untapered, to prevent structural damage!)

So long as your cake is not too crumbly or fragile you’ll probably be fine using whatever recipe you fancy. I made chocolate mud cakes, because they’re a crowd pleaser and also plenty strong enough – but regular cake works fine. You can even use different flavours – just make sure the heaviest is always at the bottom.

The next step is to grab your knife and do a bit of carving. These are the three cakes for the top tier – weirdly they all look the same size, but they’re not! It pays to put the smaller one on top for this bit – it just makes it a bit easier. Once you’re done with that, flip the stack over (carefully!) and remove the top cake (this should be the largest, the one you want on top at the end).

To get the truly skewed look, you’ll need to slice this carefully – like you’re layering a cake, but from one top edge to the opposite bottom edge.

Now, rotate the top half of that layer 180 degrees, so the thick sides are together and the thin sides are together. You now want to assemble the whole stack – as you normally would when you layer a cake, smear some buttercream or ganache between each layer. Very carefully (it’ll be quite fragile now) lift your newly skewed top layer back onto the stack. A little more carving and it should look something like the picture above. πŸ™‚

Repeat the stacking and carving for the the other layer(s). Now ice your cakes as you usually would before putting fondant on, with ganache or buttercream or the like.

Roll out your fondant (or white icing, if you’re down under!) and adhere as usual. You’ll have to do a bit of manipulation here, as the cake is oddly shaped. The first time you attempt a cake like this I suggest using forgiving decoration schemes – so you can cover up the bits that don’t work so well. And if you know how to make the fondant smooth and perfect, please comment and tell me how!

As you can see, the cake now has a whopping great hole in it. This is the bottom tier, and the ‘hole’ is a shelf for the top tier to sit on. This is the magical part, and the reason the top tier doesn’t slide off – because it’s sitting flat! I use the tin I baked the bottom layer of the next tier to trace the outline with a knife, and then cut it out. In the same way, I also traced a circle of card just the right size to sit between the layers, so I can support the tiers properly – very important, because as there is so much cake, it gets quite heavy! The small piece on the plate in front is what I cut out.

It’s best to do the bulk of your decorating at this stage – the stripes I’ve used here are easier to make before the top tier is in place. If you look carefully you’ll be able to see four wooden kebab sticks in the cake at this point. These are my supports – straws work just as well (and are much easier to trim to size) but I had these to hand.

Because this cake is going for a bit of a drive tomorrow, I also put a hole through the board for the second tier, and inserted an uncut kebab stick through it, so the top tier is held firmly in place.

And look! Now it’s taller! There, that was probably easier than you thought, huh? Not quite finished yet, though…

We need to trim around the edges to make things nice and tidy, and a few sparkly stars on top never hurt anyone, right?

A few general tips:
– a thin fondant/icing ‘snake’ made into a rim for the edge of each tier before you add the fondant makes it sit nicely – I remembered reading about this when I was looking at the bottom tier and wondering how I could have improved it, and so used the tip for the top, and I think it looks miles better
– stripes are very forgiving, and look pretty cool, and fondant cutouts can be conveniently positioned over less perfect bits
– although it only seems like you’re icing two cakes, because they’re tall and because the shape means fix-ups are quite likely to be required, make sure you have plenty of fondant on hand. I used two and half 750g packets – one of the biggest problems with my last attempt was that I really didn’t have enough
– try to make sure your ganache or buttercream is nice and firm, and if possible chill or even freeze the cake for a few minutes before putting the fondant on. I was unable to do this (not enough room in our fridge/freezer!), but if I had managed the overall look would have been neater

So there you have it. It’s not too tricky, but seriously, allow plenty of time. And feel free to ask me if you have questions – I’m sure to have missed stuff! Oh, and, if you try this out, I’d love to see photos of your cakes, and hear your tips! You can email me – rosathemad at gmail dot com or just comment here with a link to whereever you’ve posted it, if you have. πŸ™‚

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122 comments

  1. Looks great!


    • Can I make a topsy-turvy with only buttercream,
      we do not like the texture or the tast of the fondant?


  2. Thanks, Sarah. πŸ™‚ Better than the last one, huh?


  3. Oh WOW! That is heart-stoppingly gorgeous! Thanks so much for the directions for this too-perhaps one day I’ll be brave enough to make one although I’m sure it won’t be anywhere near as gorgeous as that one πŸ™‚


  4. Thanks Lorraine! It was epic, I tell you, but worth every minute. And I’m sure you have far more skill than I do – I am but a novice in all things food!


  5. Spackling the cake is a huge help in getting your fondant smooth. Spackle is a mixture of cake crumbs and icing. I beat the 2 together with a hand mixer. Search http://www.books.google.com for the Well Decorated Cake and there is a preview of the book with some photos and spackling instructions.

    It’s a great book, however, I recommend that you straighten the cake, crumb it, apply a thicker layer of spackle than the book says, and forgo the last layer of buttercream. At that point, if you lightly mist the cake with a clean water squirt bottle your fondant will adhere nicely. And your cake should be beautifully smooth!

    Hannah


  6. That’s awesome, Hananh, thanks – I will definitely try that. Do you know roughly the crumb-to-icing ratio? Or should I just play around to see what works? I’ll have to add that book to my Amazon wish-list!


  7. I start off by cutting off the tops of my cakes and then I go ahead and slice about an 1/8 of an inch off of the sides to make sure there is no bulging. Most times when you throw everything you’ve trimmed off into the icing it’s a pretty good ratio. But if you have extra cake lying around try throwing some of it in, too, because you want it to be thick.

    It helps to add structure to the cake and is also really yummy! Hope this helps, getting cakes straight and smooth can be such a pain sometimes!


  8. Thanks again, Hannah! I’ll definitely try that, can’t wait to have another excuse to make a fondant cake now!


  9. Thanks for this tutorial, but I was wondering how you make the two layers to stick toghether, and when the cake has more than 2 layers, how do you balance them, so they wont slip.
    Thanks.


  10. Because you cut a shelf into any supporting cakes (I’ve added a new photo, showing the undecorated fondant-covered bottom tier with the slice I took out of it) – just use a knife to mark the shape of your cake (using the board you want to use as a stencil works well for this), and then get your knife in on the flat side to cut to the edges – sorry, it’s hard to explain clearly. Does that make sense? The slice you remove will be very thin on one side and thick on the other, and the top cake will wedge into the gap – if you’re making three tiers you’ll do the same on the next one up.

    I hope that answers your question – let me know if I’m not clear enough! πŸ™‚


  11. Hello, your cake looked great! Getting straight sides and a good crumb coat can be a pain sometimes. I put my cakes in the fridge, over night or at least a few hours before laying on the fondant. Cutting a shelf is a new technique to me, but I like that idea for larger cakes (12inch plus on base cake). Another great book with step by step instructions, recipes and measurements is Cakes to Inspire and Desire by Lindy Smith. Enoy your next project!


  12. Thanks, Cas! I’m just too impatient to do the prep steps thoroughly, I think. One day I’ll learn!

    Always good to hear of new reference materials, too. Cheers. πŸ™‚


  13. if you use a bench scraper to smooth the layers of buttercream (i’ve never mixed crumbs with my frosting, usually try to keep it as clean as possible) then freeze the whole cake over night the fondant goes down very smoothly. any cake supply store (even michael’s crafts, as much as i hate to recommend those jerks) will have a fondant smoother. plastic doesn’t always slide well on fondant, but if you dust a little corn starch on top it should glide right along. the corn starch will melt right away if you spritz the finished product with a little vodka (an airbrush works absolutely best for this but a regular spray bottle will do fine). the vodka will dissolve away the corn starch and then evaporate completely.


  14. oh, and short of cutting out a hole in the top of the bottom layer, using two or three half inch wooden dowels set into the bottom layer then up into the top layer should hold it in place very nicely. they take up slightly more space than a skewer but hold more firmly. also, if you spread some royal icing (beaten egg whites whipped with enough powdered sugar to make it stiff, or you can buy a mix) on the area which the top layer will cover in addition to the dowels it will help glue the cake in place.


  15. Thanks Ash! I appreciate the tips – I’ll have to give some of them a try. With regard to cutting a wedge in the top of the cake, though, personally I prefer to have the top tier(s) sitting flat, even if only for the sake of slightly simplified cutting – it means you can lift the top tier off and it’s not too wonky!

    Thanks for your ideas! πŸ™‚


  16. WOW!!!!
    Thanks sooo much for posting the step by step guide with photos!!
    I do have a few questions, and I know some of the questions are very basic, but im a beginner!:
    1) Is it possible to bake the cakes a few days in advance then freeze them?
    2) Also, can u refreeze again after you carve them?
    3) I dont think ive ever tried fondant, is there anything else you can use instead of fondant? I live far from where all the specialty stores are, so is there any type of icing that would work as well?

    Thank you!
    deedee


    • you dont have to live by a specialty store for fondant you can make it yourself and it is so much better tasting than store bought! It is a little labor intensive but worth is…
      1 bag mini marshmellows
      @ 2 teaspoons water
      1 bag powder sugar
      crisco
      on a clean large cookie sheet or cabinet top thickly apply crisco (like you would flour for kneading dough)
      pour out 1/2 the powder sugar in the middle making a mound to knead the fondant.
      in a large bowl mix together marshmellows and water. i toss them to get them covered in the water.
      place them in the micro for 30 sec intervals, stiring after each, until just melted, with my micro it only takes about 45 sec..
      add about 1 tbl spoon crisco stir, than about 1/3 of powder sugar and stir, when mixed turn out onto the pile of powder sugar for kneading.
      grease you hands thick with crisco this will be very sticky at first. be careful it may be hot too. the object is to work enough powder sugar into the marsmellows to make it pliable,you may need a scraper too it will stick to the counter/ sheet i just use a scraper the throw more sugar under it. if you get it to dry you can add a little water if needed i just usually wet my hands and continue to work it. i usually stretch it to check for consistancy you want it to stretch a little before breaking ( you’ll have to play with it some to get it right)
      once you get it where you want it grease your hands again lightly and roll into ball cover it with plastic wrap and put in fridge over night this is really and important step it needs the time to cure!!! now just add color and play/ decorate!!!


      • I’ve never tried to make my own fondant. This marshmallow recipe sounds very tasty. I will definitely try it. I am attempting my first topsy turvy cake in a few weeks. I hope mine turns out as nicely as yours. Thank you for the instructions…I would have never thought of putting a shelf in to keep the tiers level. Great idea!


  17. Hi DeeDee,

    Thanks for your comment! In answer to your questions:
    You can definitely freeze the cakes beforehand – I prefer to bake fresh when I can but it’s a big undertaking doing everything at once, and sometimes you just don’t have time! So that’s fine. I’m sure you can also refreeze after carving, if you need to, although you will want to make sure they’re well wrapped so they don’t get freezer burn.
    Fondant gives the smooth outer surface; it’s not necessary, although it does help with structure a little. You can definitely use a different type of icing if you prefer – but you’ll need to make sure your cake is secured together well (with kebab sticks or drinking straws or even dowels), and your finish might not be as smooth. If you search for ‘fondant recipes’ you will find plenty, so you may be able to make this yourself – but it will add more time to the process!

    I hope this helps!


  18. To get fondant smooth, you roll it out (not ever too thin) and then lay it on top of your cake that you are covering…. then as you smooth it down the sides of the cake, you have to stretch (just slightly) the fondant down-ward with one hand as you smooth it with the other and it will take out the wrinkles. Finish with a fondant smoother and some powder and you have a very nice/smooth cake.


  19. Thanks Brenda. πŸ™‚ Hopefully I’m getting better! One of my shortfalls is definitely rolling the fondant too thin. Practice makes perfect! πŸ™‚


  20. What about supports for the cake?


  21. I use either wooden kebab sticks cut to size or drinking straws, depending what I have to hand. I think drinking straws are the better option – they do a perfectly adequate job and are very easy to cut.

    For this cake I put several supports in the bottom tier, and one right through – but how much you need depends how big it is and how solid your cake is! πŸ™‚


  22. Hi can you tell me can a box cake mix be used to make a topsy turvy cake and will i need to add a pound cake mix to it .Thank you Margaret


  23. Hi Margaret, I’d say it depends on your box cake mix – I’m not very familiar with them – but have a think about how resilient the cake is; if it will stay together when you hack at the sides a bit and won’t collapse with another cake on top it’ll be fine, otherwise maybe introduce the pound cake. Unfortunately I don’t know my box mixes, though – if you’re still unsure see if you can find someone who knows how strong they are! πŸ™‚


  24. Hi Rosa thank you for your help on the topsy turvy cake. I do not have a cake mix recipe as i box mixes .So i will give it a try and send you a picture Margaret


  25. Hey, Awesome cake!! I was just wondering how to make the sparkly stars on top. Thanks!


  26. Thanks Lexi! They’re really easy to make – it’s just tinted fondant, rolled out and cut with a star cutter (obviously you can make other shapes, although small and simple is best). Get some thin florists wire and poke it into the shapes, and then dry for 24 hours. Turn over and dry for another 24 hours. Then paint with shimmer powder and put them whereever you want! πŸ™‚ If you skip the drying they’ll droop and fall off their wires. πŸ™‚ And if you make too many just keep them for next time!


  27. Thanks alot!


  28. You can use viva papertowels and press to smooth your icing.


  29. Thanks, I was just wondering how to make the cakes looks higher and how to do the cakes stay in place.
    I need to make a cake and I will send the photo. Regards,


  30. the cake is awesome and these directions helped alot. i have a couple tips for you on the fondant. put a “crumb” layer of buttercream on the cake and refridgerate for about 20 minutes. then put an additional layer on. make sure the icing is as smooth as you can get it. place in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until it crusts. roll your fondant out to about 1/4 inch thick. before placing the fondant onto the cake, brush the cake lightly with water to make it stick. lay the fondant on top and immediately but gently adhere the very top of the sides. this will ensure that the fondant wont break while pulling and smoothing. pull and smooth the fondant while rotating the cake. the very last part is the hardest and requires the most patience.
    after youre done you should have a smooth finish to your cake. all these tips are located on youtube. look up how to fondant a cake. its really helpful. i live by it. again, thank you for the topsy turvy tips!!!!


  31. Thanks for the tips! πŸ™‚ Hopefully I’m a little better at getting my cakes nice and neat now – and I’m glad my instructions helped you!


  32. Thanks so much for the directions. I’m about to attempt my first topsy turvy cake, with your instructions as my guide.

    Could you share your Chocolate Mud Cake recipe? I’ve been looking for a good, sturdy chocolate cake recipe and yours look delicious!

    Best,

    –Tom


  33. Thanks very much for the instructions on the topsy-turvy cake. I’ve never used fondant and I’ve only used cake mixes like some of the others on this site. My neice is getting married next May 2009 and has asked me to make her a topsy-turvy wedding cake. I’m up to the challenge but I’m trying to do all the research I can to find out about it. These seem to be more popular up north. I haven’t found any books in the stores here in south Ga.


  34. […] is the cake I make if I need to make a carved or shaped cake – like a topsy-turvy cake or the car cake I made for my uncle’s 40th. It’s not only utterly delicious, but very […]


  35. Tom, I’ve posted my mud cake recipe today. πŸ™‚ Cindy, I hope you succeed in your venture – definitely have a practice run if you can, as all the books in the world won’t be the same as having a go. I do highly recommend the mud cake recipe I’ve just posted, as it’s very rich (great for weddings where servings are generally small) and extremely easy to make – and also dense, and so easy to shape into a spectacular topsy-turvy cake! Feel free to email me – rosa.wakefield @ gmail.com – if you have any questions!


  36. Goodness, this is PERFECT! My fiance and I are looking for a low-budget wedding (we’re poor folks) and I was worried about how much the cake would cost. I was looking online at all these cakes, and stumbled across a Topsy Turvy cake. I fell in love with it, but was worried it would have to be made professionally and would cost a lot. Now I can make it myself!
    I DO have a few questions, because I’m a novice when it comes to baking cakes:

    1. When freezing a cake, how should you wrap it as not to disturb the icing? Or should you even put the icing on at all, or wait until the day of?
    2. I’m interested in doing a berry waterfall down the side of the cake as well – should they be fresh or is frozen okay too?
    3. How long before the wedding should you take out the cake to let it defrost?

    You can e-mail me the answers at Ravenfoxgloves@hotmail.com
    Thanks so much!


  37. OMG it looks great but ooks like a lot of work I havebeen taking cake decoration classes http://webbyzard.wordpress.com/category/cakes/ and the enxt one is a topsy turvy cake – I was not sure if I should take b/c of the work. I did a purse cake and it was so much work and mess – thanks for the tips!


  38. Definitely a lot of work but pretty impressive results! I wish there were classes like that where I live – so much fun doing things like this with others!


  39. Probably an extremely newbieish question, but how do you cut a cake like this when it comes time to serve it?


  40. A very reasonable question! It’s generally easiest (and safest) to dissemble tiered cakes before cutting. Then you can cut each tier into small squares (since the cake is so tall small is best!). I generally cut some of the very tall pieces into two shorter pieces as well – although this means there won’t be top icing on the bottom piece of slices divided in this way there is generally still filling icing, since each tier is made from three cakes, and some people try to avoid it anyway, so I’ve never found that a problem. πŸ™‚ Alternatively, cut slices as normal, if you’re feeding hungry people – but a slice would be very large! πŸ˜‰


  41. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
    I’m making a cake for my sisters 21st, and I had no idea how to do it! YAY! You’re cake looked stunning by the way


  42. Thanks Kerry, and good luck! I do recommend a trial run, if you can fit one in – it makes the real thing lots less stressful! πŸ™‚


  43. I have been asked to make a topsy turvey wedding cake but they want fruit cake can this be done.


  44. Fruit cake should be fine – probably a bit trickier to carve, but so long as you stop up any holes and smooth out the sides with small pieces of fondant before you cover it in fondant I’m sure it would work just fine. πŸ™‚ Good luck!


  45. This is awesome! My best friend’s 21st is coming up, and she wants a topsy turvy cake so bad but the only cake place we can find around here is like…dairy queen. Other than that it’s all private businesses that are REALLY expensive, this is perfect, i’ll just make her one!!


  46. Rosa the cake i am making is four tiers when i have looked on some web sites the bottom tier seems to only have the sides shaped this would save a lot of wastage and time but not sure if this would look ok


    • I think it’ll look great that way! I’ve seen cakes done that way and my opinion is that having the fourth layer flat is better than tilted – 3 crazy layers is plenty! Good luck with your cake! πŸ™‚


  47. I loved this cake! I am making a cake for my best friend’s wedding shower and she wants a topsy turvey cake…I started taking classes at Michaels Craft store but I haven’t taken the tiered cakes course yet so I looked this up….It really helped!!! I am making the cakes today and each day until Saturday I will be doing a different step…I recommend Michaels for the classes…I’ve learned so many things like sugar flowers and many other things!


  48. The classes sound terrific! Unfortunately I’m way down in New Zealand and we don’t have Michaels here – there is one place that does the Wilton method courses but it’s at the other end of the country, so I just muddle through on my own. πŸ˜‰ I hope your cake is successful!


  49. Wow…I didn’t realize you were so far! But thanks for the tips…I stayed up baking 5 cakes last night with another 4 to bake today!


  50. Thank you so much for this Blog. I was looking for a how to guide!


  51. hi, first of all, WOW. your cake is amazing.

    Iv been looking over the internet for a really eye catching cake to make for my sisters 21st birthday and decided i am going to make a topsy turvy cake, but i dont understand the piece of card thats used between each tier. if you could just explain how and where i add this and also is it vital that i use it if im making a 3 tier cake?

    i found your instructions really good though and will be following them when i make mine.


  52. Hi Karyn,

    Thanks for your kind comments!

    A separator (a card base or sometimes even a specially made plastic plate) is usually used between layers on tiered cakes. This not only allows the layers to be lifted off and cut separately, but (more importantly) gives something to rest the supports on. Supports are dowels or straws (I used kebab sticks but they can be a bit trickier) put through the lower layers so the cake doesn’t collapse when you put heaps more cake on top of it. It is pretty essential for a three tier cake – but a normal bit of card covered in cling wrap or something would work.

    I hope this answers yoour question – if not, let me know. πŸ™‚


  53. lol, im only 13 and im going to attemp making one next week for my 14th birthday party πŸ˜›
    i love cooking cakes and stuff….. but ive never tried anything this hard before!!!!!!
    your cake looks absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!!!
    im going to try three layers (i know, im insane) but i figure, if it completly dies, i can just say “thats the way its SUPPOSED to look” lol πŸ˜›
    seriously though F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C!!!!!!!!!


  54. Its a great cake, one my sister and I are undertaking for our next baking day. As far as smooth fondant goes, we use a light, even coating of buttercream. Then, after chilling the cake for a couple hours, spray the cake with a clean squirt bottle, and apply the fondant. Using a plastic smoother, go top to bottom smoothing out air pockets… if its rough going use powdered sugar, it’ll make the smoother glide! Any air pockets, just poke at an angle with a needle and smooth over! Lastly, refridgerate when you are done and take out a few hours before its time to serve. Voila, no air pockets, no lumps, and no bumps:) Anyway, this is a great design, and cant wait to try it. Thank you!


  55. Thanks for sharing these fantastic instructions…..I use a light bulb(glass bulb part) to roll over the fondont to smooth it out perfectly! Good luck all you bakers!


  56. ok so heres the go..I’m making a type of cake like this for my hospitality assignment and these instructions are reaaaaallllllyyyyy helpful and I’m so glad ive found this websight (B-E-Autiful cake btw)sept I’m not really getting the whole carving part of the cake..so i use the smallest cakes for the top (dah) but like, yea the carving part and getting it into the right shape looks ridicymously hard..HELP!!! its due in 2 weeks!!…sorry


  57. Don’t panic! πŸ™‚ The carving is just to make the sides nice and even, and to slant them inwards if you want an even more confusing-looking cake.

    So – you have 3 cakes for each layer, 3 smallest for the top layer. If you have different sizes for the layer (to get really slanty layers) you stack them with the largest at the top. Buuuuut, because it’s easier to stack and shape with the largest at the bottom I would do it upside down. Then the carving is just about making the sides smooth, really – get a bread knife and get carving! I would recommend you try a single layer (i.e. 3 cakes, but use small ones!) as a practice if you’re worried, but I’m sure you’ll be fine. Ask away if any part of this doesn’t make sense. πŸ™‚ Good luck!


  58. How do you go about transporting a cake like this?
    I’m cooking the cake for a halloween party at my friend’s place and will have to drive it over, all i can picture in my head is cake going flying around the car!
    also thanks for such clear directions!


    • Carefully! That’s always the trickiest part. πŸ˜‰ Try to put it in a box, even if the box doesn’t close – that will protect the bottom tier. Make sure you have a strong reinforcement system in the cake – kebab sticks or dowels – and then just drive carefully! I usually get my partner to drive, then I hold the cake if it’s not too big, and panic most of the way to our destination – but I’ve never had anything happen. So long as you’re careful you should be fine. πŸ™‚


  59. Hi,

    Thank you so much for your tips.. Its my daughter’s 7th birthday and she wants it a hip hop bday so i am planning to do her such a cake that would be crazy like funky stuff… Maybe with pumpums on top or so.. Will do it and then will let you know how it ended…
    Thanks again


  60. Should be very careful when designing..else full cake will spoiled


    • That’s true – but even if it doesn’t look amazing it will still taste great! That’s the magic of cake…


  61. Great job! How do you prevent your fondant from drying out. I left my cake out over night and the next day is was so dry and dull. Thanks!


    • Thanks! You need to keep your fondant covered – I keep mine in cling wrap while it’s waiting for me to roll it, or if you have leftovers to save for later a couple of layers of clingwrap and in a sealed container.

      Once it’s on the cake it doesn’t matter so much – only the outer layer should harden and this helps protect the cake as it seals everything inside.

      If you’re looking for a shiny effect you should investigate shimmer powders and the like from your nearest cake decorating shop – the fondant on its own will always dry with a matte look but you can add that sort of stuff on top to make it look shiny or shimmery.

      Hope this helps!


  62. Hi, my cousinis having her sweet 16 in a few months and I’ve been hired to make her cake, this one looks fantastic, except I don’t know what fondent is, I’m in Australia, is it the same as ready to roll or ready-made soft icing? Also is there any cake books you can recommend for topsy turvy cake ideas?


  63. I think it is the same – in New Zealand we call it white icing, usually – it’s the stuff you put on your Christmas cake, and usually sits next to almond icing in the supermarket.

    I have a few pretty cake books, but really my ideas tend to come from internet sites – my best suggestion is a google image search for topsy-turvy cakes. πŸ™‚


  64. I was asked to make a topsy-turvy cake I would like to know what I should charge for it.


  65. I can’t answer that for you – but start by working out the cost of ingredients (which will obviously vary with size), and then add on for your labour. I always found that I couldn’t charge enough to make it a profitable hourly income – but since I enjoy it that’s okay! What you can charge also depends on how experienced you are, since that will impact the final product.

    Sorry I can’t be more specific but there are so many variables!


  66. OK so how much did you charge for the cake in the step by step instructions? I looked on the Wilton site and they recommend $300 for a 3 tier I think thats a little much.


  67. It was for a friend so I only asked for the cost of ingredients. Wilton is probably right – you might be surprised at the cost and time if you actually add it all up! – but I’m in New Zealand anyway, so my dollar amount wouldn’t help you since it’s a different currency. If I was still making cakes and trying to make a profit off that one I would probably say $200 – but if it was three tier the third tier would be larger and almost double the ingredient cost.

    I hope this helps you some – again, sorry I’m not more specific but it really isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. πŸ™‚


  68. Hi there,

    Wow this cake is really good i stumbled across this while trying to find some tips on making a 3 teir cake for my birthday it is my 16th and am wanting something to go that little extra WOW! i am going to be using fondant but I want a vanilla sponge for the cake will that affect the turn out in the weight by collapsing?? people have told me it shouldnt but i dont want to risk it πŸ™‚


  69. Hi Melissa, sponge should be fine – you want most of the weight to be supported by dowels or some other sort of support through the cake anyway. πŸ™‚ Good luck!


  70. Can u tell me, if i make my own fondant how long does this keep in fridge i an afraid i will run out of time if not made in advance also is mud cakes the way to go for topsy turvy cakes i am getting ready to make my first one


  71. Hi, I have never made my own fondant but it should keep for ages, so long as it’s kept airtight (so wrap in cling film, go with a couple of layers, then in a box or similar).

    Mud cake is a great option as it’s so dense so easier to carve and more robust than other cakes (plus it’s a crowd pleaser) but other cakes work too. πŸ™‚


  72. Hi, Did you add something to the cake mix


  73. Did you add something to the cake mix for a topsy turvy cake


  74. hi rosa, im having a big sweet sixteen and i need to know how much does this topsy turvy cake cost? cause i really like them πŸ˜€


  75. You don’t need to add anything to cake mix for this, though you would need multiple mixes.

    Jessica, I don’t sell cakes anymore and live in New Zealand anyway so suspect my pricing wouldn’t be useful to you. πŸ˜‰ All the best finding someone who can help you!


  76. Wow!!! Cake looks awesome πŸ™‚ i’m just starting out in the cake making business and needed to know how to Make a wonky cake. Your instructions have helped immensely!!! I’m gonna have a go now πŸ˜€


  77. Hey am planning on making one of these for my mans 17th πŸ™‚

    Did you use a cake mix or make it yourself, I need a great chocolate mud cake recipe thats light enough and will work for this, do you have one suitable ?


  78. Also, did you use marzipan or fondant?
    Does Fondant taste better? I’d like to use it but marzipan is really yuck and I havn’t tasted fondant.

    Any suggestions?


  79. Grace, search for mud cake on this site and you’ll find my recipe, which is what I use. I’ve never used a box mix, which is not to say it wouldn’t work but I wouldn’t be able to tell you how that would work out. πŸ˜‰

    I used fondant, but I live in NZ and our stuff is I think a lot nicer than US-made stuff. Marzipan is almond flavoured (and a pretty distinct flavour lots of people don’t like much), whereas fondant is predominently sugar. There are lots of pretty easy fondant recipes online and I’m sure it would taste much better if you made your own – but I can’t help fully on this, sorry, you might have to ask someone closer to home. πŸ™‚


  80. Cool, where do you get your fondant? I live in NZ and have only seen marzipan.

    Would I need to use supports if attempting a 3 tier with 3 cakes of each size in each tier?

    Also how long did it take you to bake all cakes, i’ll have 9 at this stage, and decorate?
    Because my partner lives with me and I can kick him out for a day lol but thats all, will that be enough time?
    About 10am until 6-7pm?


  81. Sorry Grace, almost all the comments come from the US so I assumed. πŸ˜‰ What they call fondant is called white icing in the supermarket – it’s the same as you’d put on the top layer of your Christmas cake. It’s usually with the baking ingredients in the supermarket. πŸ™‚ Given your time constraints I’d definitely recommend only doing two tiers (i.e. 6 cakes). How long it takes depends on lots of things – how familiar (and well prepared you are), how experienced you are at working with fondant, and how complex your decorations are. Multiple tiered cakes do take a long time – if it takes you half an hour to make the cake mix, then an hour to bake the first lot of cakes, you’d probably need to cool the cakes for at least an hour before icing them, then maybe an hour to assemble the tier (carving into shape, putting the icing on/between the layers, putting the fondant on), times how many tiers you make, plus decorating time. If you could make the cakes the previous day somehow it would help you a great deal – but I always find it takes longer than I expect! And this is very rough and depends lots how you work. Hope this helps!


  82. Thats ok πŸ™‚ you weren’t to know.

    What is white icing like in taste? Your “hungry boys” eat it, or leave it on the plate?
    πŸ˜€

    I’d like to use it but am scared it will taste bad and effect the cake.

    And thanx I did find that recipe for the cake πŸ™‚


  83. The boys love it! It basically tastes like sugar so most people like it. I once made my partner a ‘Christmas cake’ which was just the icing on a box, and he loved it! πŸ˜‰


  84. I am going to try and attempt a Christmas topsy turvy cake so have been looking for some help. Your instructions are going to be very helpful. One of my questions is how do you cut this once your ready to eat? Other stacked cakes you can take off the layers to cut each. But it doesn’t look like you can take these apart, so do you just start cutting odd shape pieces from the top and work down?


  85. Hi Debbie, I’ve just written up a new tutorial on my current blog (this is a few years old now and left quite a few questions!). If you want to check that out go here: http://www.mrscake.co.nz/2010/11/how-to-make-topsy-turvy-cake.html

    In answer to your question re: cutting, you can take the tiers apart for cutting, but you will end up with some very tall pieces as each tier is three cakes. I generally cut the tallest pieces in haf horizontally. It’s pretty difficult to get all the pieces even size and shape but that usually works out as some people like bigger bits than others. πŸ˜‰


  86. what cooking tools will i need to make this typ of cake like what kinda pans and stuff


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