Topsy Turvy Cake~ Video Tutorial

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I love the whimsical look of topsy turvy cakes!   With their wonky angles and tapered sides, they have such a fun and festive feel.  In this three part video tutorial, I am going to show you how to carve, cover with fondant, and decorate a three tiered topsy turvy cake.

Because of the length of the video, we divided this tutorial into three parts. We hope that you enjoy it!


Materials Used:  (This is a comprehensive list for all three Parts of the Tutorial)

In this video, we are using 10"/8"/6" tiers, which are tapered around the sides.  The 10" is tapered to an 8" width at the base of the tier.  The 8" cake is tapered to a 6" at the base.  The 6" (which had actually shrunk to 5.5" once baked) was tapered to 4".

*You must use a dense cake if tapering the sides.  My cake was the "Durable Cake" listed in our recipes section.  Pound cake would work well also.


White Chocolate Ganache as described in our "Simple Spreadable Ganache" recipe in the recipes section.  It's a 3:1 ratio of chocolate to cream.  (We used 55 oz or 1559g) which is five 11 oz bags Ghirardelli White Baking Chips to 18 oz (530g) or 2 ¼ c. heavy cream.)

Elizabeth Marek's Fondant (or your preferred brand/recipe)  *I added a little tylose powder when it was time to do the bow and numbers.  Fondant amounts:  (Green 10" tapered bottom tier:  40 oz (1124g),  White 8" tapered center tier, 36 oz (1020g), and pink 6" tapered top tier: 24 oz (680 g)

Cardboard Cake Circles (I used 2 for each tier, cut to the size of the cake).  Also 5 cake boards stacked for the cake base.

Bubble tea straws or your supports of choice

Sharp knife for carving the cake (I prefer serrated).

Bucket or bowl to elevate the cake (Optional but I find this really helpful)   If you buy pre-made fondant, this is often a good sized bucket!

Coloring Gels:  I used Americolor Deep Pink & Americolor Electric Green

Parchment Paper- I used when making the templates for our wells

Piping Tips- I used Wilton small round tips for piping paisleys (Tip 2),  and tip 12 for the small polka dots on the top tier

FMM Multi-Ribbon Cutter- for my fondant strips on the bow

Royal Icing for piping the decorations

Lollipop Sticks- For the cake topper

Small Paint Brushes--Miscellaneous

Buttercream--We had our Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream on hand for "gluing" tiers together, etc.

Candy Melts- We glued our cake to the cake base with candy melts

Cake stand/base- We used a plastic tablecloth to wrap around the cake base (five 12" cake cardboards), and then secured ribbon.

Fondant Smoothing paddles or thick acetate (optional) for smoothing your fondant onto the cake

Miscellaneous:  Plastic Wrap, Scissors, Sharp Knifes, rolling pin for fondant, vegetable shortening (optional), sugar glue or piping gel, small paint brushes (optional), offset spatula for frosting/ganaching


A Few Notes: 

Just a reminder that you do not have to taper the sides of your cake.  I've seen some beautiful topsy turvy cakes where there is no taper at all...just angled tops. This is especially a good idea if you are not working with a very dense cake.

*If you don't taper the sides of your cake, I would make sure that there is at least a 3 inch difference in tier size as you move from tier to tier.  For instance, I wouldn't do an 8"/6" non-tapered topsy turvy.  I would do 9"/6".

For tapered tiers, it is fine if you begin with a two inch difference between tiers (we used 6/8/10") because by the time that you stack the cake, the bottom of each tier will have been tapered.

**As I mention in the video, make sure that you give your tiers a little wiggle room within their wells.  If you don't, and the fit is very snug, they will put too much pressure on the cake surrounding the well and could cause a split.  This is why I chill my tiers before assembling...because there is a good chance that you will need to make some adjustments to the well size before the tiers fit perfectly.


PART ONE: Part One of our video tutorial deals with assembling the individual tiers, tapering the sides, ganaching, and the start of covering with fondant.


PART TWO: In this video, I demonstrate making our bow, I finish covering the tiers with fondant,  demonstrate how to cut the wells, stack the tiers, and hammer a sharpened dowel through all three tiers.


PART THREE: This video deals with decorating the three tiers-- Paisleys piped in royal icing, attaching the bow to the middle tier, polka dots for the top tier, and a "16" cake topper!



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  1. Hi Alberta, We have successfully kept it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, and it can be frozen for 3 months, probably longer, but we haven't tested beyond that time. You can always do a taste test because you will be able to tell if the cream in the ganache has gone bad.

  2. Hi Melissa. I am going to give this a try. How many cake recipes do I make for each tier of cake ( or did I not go far enough in the video)?
    I plan to make 1 tier the durable choc, 1 the durable vanilla , and 1 tier pound cake. Hey, why not try them all?
    Thank you very much

  3. One more question! Can you do a layer of filling in these cakes or is that a very bad idea, structurally?

  4. Never mind, I just saw it in the video. You added it between cake "layers" which were actually individual cakes. Thanks

  5. Hi Paintmycake, the durable recipe will give you enough batter for two 8 or 9 inch layers. For the 10 inch tier we tripled the durable recipe and doubled it for the 8 in tier.

  6. HI Melissa and Bebe,
    Had one more thought as I am making the cakes. Would trotting the layers make it unstable?
    If so, as above, it looks like I would need 3 recipes of the durable cake for the bottom 2 tiers. Is that correct?
    Thanks so much.

  7. Oops, my page was not updated so I missed your answer to the recipes. What about torting if a client wants more filling. Bad idea?

  8. Hi ladies, I am in the middle of a topsy turvey cake now. I have already b run into a concern...I have baked all cakes and are preparing for settling. I left the bottom tier as a normal tier with no angles or carving. I inverted the middle tier and carved exactly as you showed in the video. However, after I carved it, the bottom layer of that tier began to crumble. I just picked up the pieces and pushed them back into the cake. I used your durable recipe and followed it exactly. But the cake was not frozen. So wrapped it up and now it is settling. I am just worried about that one layer of the middle tier. Should I bake another layer and replace the layer and then recut and settle again? Your thoughts please. Thanks so much!

  9. Hi Teri--I'm sorry! You should be fine without having to re-bake. I would probably freeze (at least partially) the tier that you are concerned about before trying to assemble and frost so that it will be less fragile as you are working with it. Let us know how it goes!

  10. How many people will this cake serve?
    I am now living and attempting to bake in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. My first cake order is for a topsy turvey cake. We don't have air conditioning and it's very humid. I have always made mmf - any tips for making it in high humidity?

  11. Never mind the servings - just read the answer but was thinking it would be higher because it's 3 layers in each tear. My client needs to serve 100 to 120.