Topsy Turvy Cakes add a whimsical touch to any celebration. These tilted cakes may look architecturally confusing, but they are surprisingly easy to create! I’ll walk you through the process in this tutorial.
For each tier I baked 3 layers of cake that were 2” tall. I always use a pound cake or doctored cake mix for any cake that will be carved. Each layer had a dam of icing, filling and stacked on the next layer. You can fill a Topsy Turvy cake with the same fillings you would use on a stacked or torted cake. Just make sure to use a stiff consistency icing to dam your cake. Topsy Turvy cakes can also be made using other shapes. I have made a 3 tier square cake, and I would like to try an oval cake.
Each tier was a different flavour and filling. The tiers were 10”, 8”, and 6” tall. When this is complete, all 3 cakes are put in the freezer to firm up before cutting. If you want to start out by making a practice cake, I would use a 10” cake on the bottom and 6” on the top. Two tiers will give you the practice you want and show the effect of a Topsy Turvy cake.
After removing each tier from the freezer I can begin cutting. The top of each tier is cut using a long, thin, serrated knife. I begin by cutting in the middle of one side of the top tier and angling the knife strokes up towards the top of the other side of that tier. You can take off as much or as little as you wish. For these cakes, I started in the middle of each layer, about 1” from the top and cut across at an angle to the top of the other side. The cut sections were lifted off using the Wilton cake lifter and placed onto a cake board for later use. It is much easier to cut these cakes when they are frozen or very cold out of the fridge.
Now apply a small amount of thin buttercream icing to the cut portion of the cake and slide the cut piece back onto the cake. Turn the piece around so that the 2 thick pieces of cake are touching. This will make one side of your cake approximately 5” tall, and the higher side will be around 7” tall.
After this, all 3 tiers were covered with thin buttercream icing for my crumb coat. The cakes then went back in the freezer or fridge to chill for a while.
The tiers were then covered in fondant. On the top of the 10” tier I placed an 8” cake board, and on top of the 8” cake I placed a 6” board. This will show me where to cut into the top of the cake to level it off. I centered the cake board on the tier and using a small thin knife I cut straight down into the top of my cake around the outside of the board. Only cut about 1” deep at this time. After the cut has been made, carefully lift off the piece of fondant you cut out, starting from the low side of the cake.
A Topsy Turvy cake can be covered in fondant or buttercream. After you have covered the cake with buttercream icing, decorate it any way you want, either with buttercream accents or use fondant at this point. Be very careful not to smudge the buttercream. I find fondant a little more forgiving at this point.
The idea here is to start at the low side and cut vertically across making a flat surface for the next tier to sit on. Just remove small pieces at a time. I find using my small thin off-set spatula helps at this point. It will cut through the cake and also allow you to get underneath the cut section to help you lift it out. Dowels are now inserted into the cut-out section and a small layer of buttercream icing is put over the cut areas. This whole process is done on both the bottom tier and the middle tier.
Carefully put the 8” tier into the hole you have made on top of the 10” cake. This is where cake being cold, and covered with fondant makes it a little easier to work with. When you are placing the next tier into position, turn the tier so that the top of that tier is on the opposite side of the bottom tier. Continue this process with the 8” cake being carved out and the small 6” tier is placed in the opening. I also dowel the middle tier as well before I put the top tier on. When all 3 tiers are stacked, I insert 1 long sharpened dowel rod through all 3 tiers and into the bottom of the base tier to help keep the cake stable during transportation.
After all 3 tiers are stacked and dowel rods are inserted, decorate your cake in the design of your choice!
Open a new world of decorating possibilities for your cakes. Learn more about cake decorating, from the basics to advanced techniques, in a Wilton Method Class.