How to Make a Topsy Turvy cake

Monday, February 16, 2009

When I made my short video for my Valentine's day cake a lot of people requested directions to make it. So I re-edited the video to make it longer and included directions. Hopefully it's clear enough but let me know if you have any questions.

I made this cake from 6", 8", and 10" tiers each 3 layers high. I iced them with buttercream and then covered with fondant. I recently discovered the "secret combination" for covering cakes with fondant. I'm probably the last person in the world to figure it out but I found that if I chilled the cakes in the fridge for a couple of hours, spritzed them with water, then covered with fondant, and then chilled them in the fridge again, then my cakes wouldn't inflate like a balloon. If I covered a chilled cake with fondant and left it on the counter to decorate then it got all sorts of horrible air bubbles and ruined my smooth fondant. So it turns out the cake and fondant have to get to the same temperature so they don't fight each other. The cake doesn't have to stay cold either. I take it out of the fridge a a couple of hours before the party and it gets to room temperature by the time it's cut and it still looks great. It glistens a little from the condensation but I think it's a fair trade off. Chilled cakes are so much easier to cover.



Update: *sigh* My own mother "accidentally" rated my video 3 stars. Since I just uploaded the video today and only a few people have viewed it then I'm deleting it and uploading it again. Mom! Do you have any idea how long it takes to upload a video to youtube?! Eh, don't worry about it. :)

107 comments:

Linda said...

Loved watching the video! What an awesome cake. Love ya!

Rhonda said...

This is an awesome video Janell!! Thanks for sharing that with everyone!! Hope you don't mind me commenting here!

Lori! said...

Thank you for that video! Up until now I have been quite scared to attempt a topsy turvy cake. You made it look so easy!
Lori

Robin said...

GREAT video...Thanks for showing us how to do that. Your cake is beautiful!

lovebug20 said...

Wow, that is amazing! Thank you so much for that video! I am going to be doing a Topsy Rurvy for my son's 4th birthday in April and was a little leary since I have never done one before, but now I think I'll be ok! You are an artist!

Relznik said...

Not only are you incredibly talented, but so kind and generous with your knowledge. Thank you so much for taking the time to do such a fantastic video tutorial. I'm just waiting for an opportunity to do one of these now!! :o)

Janell said...

Thanks so much! I'm glad the video helped. Ya'll are welcome to comment here anytime!

Trenise said...

This is the absolute best video I have seen on making this cake. I have wanted to know how to make it. THANK YOU SO MUCH

Jacque Benson said...

Thank you soooo much for posting this video!! It was such a pleasure to watch you work!!

Sean said...

Thank you for sharing the video and your expertise. The cake was beautiful!! I have wanted to learn how to make a topsy turvy cake and you made the process seem simple and doable.

babybelle said...

Thanks for this vid, it has answered a ton of questions I had.
Great Job!

Laurel said...

I am so impressed at your nimble little hands just taking charge of that cake. Made me a little dizzy at the speed you were going. lol. You are an inspiration. I am 68 years old; wish I could join you in the kitchen; how fun!

Maricela said...

I agree with everyone's comments - You made this look so easy compared to the horrible thoughts I had when it came to attempting to make a topsy turvy cake! Thanks so much for the video, as well as the fondant-covering tips!

CreativewithClay: Charan Sachar said...

Just beautiful. Great technique. Thanks for sharing

Raeski Girl said...

awesome video, thanks for sharing! i never knew about making the holes in the middle~ it makes sense now!

Holly said...

You said you used 6/8/10. On the bottom layer it looked like you had a smaller diameter under the 3 layers of 10". Did you? Or was each layer just trimmed down to look as though they were graduating sizes?

Thanks!

catti said...

dear sandra, thank you sooo much to share this wonderful cake with us. after i saw how do you do this, i guess i am ready to try one!

Natasha said...

WOWEE
This is awesome work Jane!!
Thanks so much for your concern in spreading learning cake decoration much more simpler and easier!!
You deserve the best!!
Thankyou once again

Janell said...

Thanks everyone! For the bottom layer I used a 9" instead of a 10" since I knew I'd be carving that much cake away. It was an attempt to save a little cake. :) I wouldn't go much smaller though (for instance 2" vs. 1") since it might become unstable.

Muneeze said...

Hi Janell! You're a wonderful chef! and that cake was absolutely stunning!

I needed some help since I'm going to attempt making this cake on friday for my nephews birthday.
So firstly, what can I substitute for the sticks you use to hold the top layers.
Secondly, please cake you give me the recipe you've used with the exace quantities for the whole cake.
Thankyou soo much! Sorry for being such a pain, I just want it to be perfect!
=)

Janell said...

Hi Muneeze,

Sorry I didn't see your post sooner. If you can't use wooden dowels for the supports then you can use Wilton's hollow plastic dowels or bubble tea straws. Here are my cake recipes. You'll probably need to make several batches depending on how much cake you need
http://janellscakes.blogspot.com/2008/08/cake-recipes.html

kjbutt14 said...

wow! im making a topsy turvy cake for my sisters 21st birthday and your video has cleared up a lot of confusion about how to put one together. the one thing about your video that did confuse me, was why do you shave the sides of it? is it to taper the cake or for another reason?

Marie said...

Wow, you're so amazingly fast!
I want to make a topsy turvy cake for my niece and am extremely nervous about it. You make it look so easy, I just may go ahead and try it! lol Thank you!

Edith said...

Thank You for sharing!!! U are incredibly talented!! You made it so easy for us!!
I will have to do make one this weekend. Thank U! Thank U! I truly appreciate for the great video!!

geminigrl24 said...

I am trying #2 tomorrow. Wish me luck because the 1st one did not work with me very well. The cakes are chilling in the fridge as I type :)

Kelly said...

Hi, I was just wondering if you could use two sets of two cakes instead of three sets of three cakes?
Thanks!

Kelly said...

okay my question before was kind of confusing let me try again. sorry!
are you able to make a topsy turvy cake with two cakes for each tier? or does it have to be three?

mrs_monty said...

What did you mean about royal icing only working on fondant not buttercream cakes as glue?

Janell said...

Hi,

Kelly- You can make the cakes using only two layer per tier. I just like my cakes tall.

Mrs Monty- Royal icing won't dry hard if it's exposed to the grease in buttercream. It will stay soft. If it's used on fondant then it dries really hard and acts as a great edible glue.

Anonymous said...

Janell, can you make a topsy turvy cake & decorate it without using fondant? I have never worked with fondant and have heard it doesn't taste the best.

Janell said...

Sure you can just use buttercream when making a topsy turvy. I recommend chilling the tiers in the fridge when you're not working on them so it's easier to work with.

Cathy Leavitt said...

What a great video! You've made the instructions so clear without saying a word. I've been decorating for over 30 years, but have yet to make a topsy turvy cake. I think I will now be able to try one without the fear I had before. Keep up the good work, and thanks!

rayme said...

Thanks for sharing you technique, Your cake is beautiful! im making a topsy turvy cake for my nieces 5th birthday...i hope it is actually as easy as you made it look. would you recomend making a "practice cake" before the birthday, or is it fairly easy??
Thanks!!

Janell said...

Thanks! It's a little more advanced than a regular cake. I definitely recommend making a small practice cake first. Just a 2 layer 6", 8" cake should be enough to give you an idea of how to do it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this vidoe! I'm making a cake for my daughters' first Birthday next month.What type of cake do you recommend using for this design. I've heard pound cake since it is so stiff, but what do you recommend for something more moist but stays together?

Anonymous said...

For the condensation, try the new dessicant (sp?) which I believe is made by Geraldine -it was advertised a few months ago in ACD mag. It takes all the condensation off your cake and is food safe. Thanks for the awesome video and helpful hints!

Kae said...

hi i so love how you did your topsy turvy... ill surely try it for my Godson's birthday. but can i ask where did you buy your long dowel? thanks for the info. hope to hear from you soon. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Thank you soo much for sharing your knowledge and expertise. You've inspired me to give this cake a try. I have a few questions. Firstly I was thinking of using ganache instead of buttercream, would this be OK? Do you have a cake board under each tier or just the bottom one? So my plan was to bake on the Tuesday, cut and ganache on the Wednesday, Fondant on the Thursday and decorate on the Friday, would the cake still be alright for the Saturday party and given your comments I was going to store it in the fridge is this OK? Thank you in advance.

Janell said...

Thanks for the tip on the desiccant. You can buy long dowels in the craft section. Just make sure they don't have a finish on them. Ganache should be fine. Each tier of cake needs a cake board for support. It should be fine stored in the fridge since the icing seals the cake.

Anonymous said...

Janell,
Thank you for sharing your video. During the video you seem to be poking the fondant after carving the well for the tier to sit in. Can you explain why.
Thanks

Janell said...

Sure, I was poking holes with a straight pin to get the trapped air out.

notjustamoma said...

AWESOME! Trying to make my first topsy turvy cake. You have 3 tiers, can you give me the pan sizes you used for all 3 tiers...also it looks like you used 3 layers for each tier, correct? Thank you so much, you really make this look easy.

notjustamoma said...

Just watched your longer video, I think I have this correct.....
you used 3-6" pans for top(with 3 dowels), 3-8" pans for bottom (with 4 dowels), 3-10" pans for bottom (with 5 dowels)and 1 9" pan for the very bottom, correct? Also can you tell me how much batter it takes to make this cake?

notjustamoma said...

Just spent the whole day and night trying to make a topsy turvey cake. I messed up. Did you put a crumb coating on your cake (top and sides)?

Kaitlyn said...

thanks for the instructional video! how does you buttercream not get full of crumbs when you spread it on the cake (after you cut it and exposed even more of the crumb)? thanks!

Anonymous said...

how many pounds of fondant does this take?

sweet niece said...

Your mom sounds exactly like Mom! :-) Thanks so much for all your information!

Brittaney said...

Just wondering, you said you used 6,8 and 10 inches, three layers of each but it looks like on the largest tier you either have 4 layers or 3 10 inch layers and a slightly smaller layer underneath. Is that correct and if so, what size is it and why do you do that?

Anonymous said...

Hi Janell,

I found your video on CC. I'm am going to to a topsy turvy cake for my neice next month. I've never done one. I'm so scared and have LOTS of questions.

I hope you dont mind and can answer them for me. My SIL wants a 4 tiered cake--she loves the look. She picked out a cake from Pink Cake Box.

My MAIN question is on the actual tiers. Say I went with 10-8-6'' tiers. For the bottom (10'') would I make 3 10'' layers and then follow your method with the "lip" top part? Or do I have to make several diffrent sizes for one tier?
Thanks
Angelica

draven120 said...

hello. im just a random person looking for cakes to make and when i saw the video on the topsy turvy cake i said "i have to get a recipe." so could i have a recipie on how to make the cake with the ingredients please. my email is draven120@yahoo.com. and that is an awsome cake!

Calitum said...

Please, Can you tell me how the buttercream is done? I really need need that recipe!!

mylittlegap6110 said...

what size pans did you use? im making a cake with 12,9, and 6 inch pans do i use all the same size or one smaller?
thank you stasia remaley
please send response to
mylittlegap6110@yahoo.com

serenevich said...

The video is great and has given me confidence to try a topsy turvy for my daughter's upcoming birthday. I'm worried about my cake choice and wanted to see your recipe - the one that is linked further down in the comments doesn't show up. Can you please post/link to the cake and frosting/filling recipes?
Thanks so much.

RoSa said...

I loved the video. I really wanted to know how to make this type of cake and your intructions were very easy to follow. I do have a question though, how many kg or lbs weights this type of cakes? And how much do you actually charge for it?

Anonymous said...

The illustration is very clear and simple. Thanks for sharing tips about chilling the cake. It would be great if you can relink to the cake recipe. Thanks again. You are the best.

Kristin said...

hey janell, can you make these cakes with just buttercream, not fondant?

Anonymous said...

where did you get that cake turntable you're working on?

Yasmin said...

First of all, loved your video it was so helpful!
What cake would you suggest as a good substitute for cake if you prefer not to use a pound cake?

Thanks! :)

Courtney said...

This video helped me a ton! I did my first topsy turvy cake today and it came out really good!...except that in a small spot on the top and middle tier the fondant got kind of gross and wrinkly. Do you know why that happened?

Kellie said...

Hi i was wondering if you make the fondant yourself, and if so what recipe do you use?
I am wishing to make a topsey turvey cake and your video was very helpful thankyou

kellie

Anonymous said...

Fantastic cake.How do you put the dowel all the way through the cakes if you have a board under each layer? Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

where would i get everything i needed to make a topsey turvy three tier cake. im making my own graduation cake and i have no idea what im doing. i watch a lot of cake shows but its not all that helpful. last time i used fondant it ended in disaster. i dont want my graduation cake to be a flop. if you could maybe e-mail me at u_of_morris_girl17@hotmail.com. I would be so appreciative.

Max said...

hey janelle wuts the recipe for the the icing u used in the video it looks amazing

Anonymous said...

How do you put the dowel all the way through the cakes if you have a board under each layer? Cheers

generic viagra said...

Not only are you incredibly talented, but so kind and generous with your knowledge. Thank you so much for taking the time to do such a fantastic video tutorial. I'm just waiting for an opportunity to do one of these now!! thanks

Nicole said...

thanks for the video, so helpful :)

kaz455555 said...

This is the best video of how to prepare, cover, assemble and decorate a topsy turvy cake that i've found. I will help me and many others immensly.

Ainsley said...

hi
i noticed that the bottom layer of cake of the bottom tier was not as big as the other layers. did you use a 9' cake for the bottom layer and a 10' for the other 3 layers so when you cut it it would be at an angle??

Anonymous said...

did you trim the sides of the other layers too

Anonymous said...

Hi Janell. Thanks for the great video. I was wondering how you would suggest cutting this cake to serve it.
Donna-Marie Lee

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great video, Janell,
I was wondering how you would cut the cake to serve it.

april & donna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
april & donna said...

Thanks a million for sharing your expertise! It's so helpful to have both written and visual instructions and to see the cake successfully constructed. Definitely a great tutorial for my first cake like this!

Anonymous said...

What is the recipe you use for the butter cream icing? Almost every recipe I make doesn't taste to good.

sarah_saliba said...

Hi Janell, thank you so much for posting this, its the best topsy turvy cake i've seen by far. I was just wondering what you used to 'glue' the cakes together and what icing you put on before the fondant.
Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

You have helped me to realise the prospect if making a topsy turvy cake not such a daunting experience. Having said that I would still love it if u could help me with a few things.
Could you tell me where I can find all the equipment I need? What the recipes are for the fondant, buttercream and sponge? Exactly how many and what size the sponge bases need to be?
This would me a massive help as my little cousin is set on having the perfect topsy turvy cake.
My email address is lisarebeccawood@hotmail.co.uk.
I would very much appreciate if you could help me!

Anonymous said...

Great Video - Thank you for posting it. You have helped me so much - considering I am such a visual person. I am trying my first Topsy Turvy Cake - my niece/goddaughter requested a tie-dyed cake and I thought I would make it Topsy Turvy too. Wish me luck.

Lulu said...

I love this video more than I can say. I love the art of bakery and you actually got me interested. But I was wondering what your recipes were for this cake? Do you use any kind of butter cream frosting with pound cake or special kind?
Reply to LuluAurore@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I would like to ask if you have ever made this cake using all buttercream for decoration.

newbee said...

This video was very helpful. I will be attempting my first topsy turvy cake as well as my first time working with fondant. I need to make it two tears and am not sure how much fondant I should make. I also want to make some cut out designs with it, how much will I need...please help.

Kristyn said...

It looks like on your first layer that the very bottom of it is smaller than the top of it. Did you do that on purpose? My mother is wanting to make a cake like this and we have been debating on what that bottom layer on your first cake is (size wise) Because when you start to shave the layers you match them up to the bottom layer.. Did u jsut pre cut the bottom layer out so you would know where to go with it.. Or is the bottom really smaller than the top of the 1st payer? Thanks

Anonymous said...

You rock...AWESOME cake!! Thanks for the inspiration!! :)

Rachat de credit said...

Thanks a lot it is a good guide, now to make a topsy turvy cake is without a doubt simple with the help of your tips. Thank you

summer said...

Thank you so much! I've been making cakes for years and want to branch out. This will be my first topsy turvy cake and your video was perfect. I have more confidence now to attempt this

jessrose22 said...

Can you tell me about how many boxes of cake mix does it take to make this cake?

Anonymous said...

Great video, I actually love the colours, :D I have a couple of questions for you though.
1.How do you get the dowel to go all the way through the cake, if there is a board under each one?
2. Do you have to put dowels in? Are they to help it balance or something?
Cheers.

Cake and said...

I enjoy watching your video. It cleared alot of things for me. Can you kindly give me the recipe for you butercream icing. Your looks thick and still very spreadable. My buttercream icing is always too light and doesn't cover the cake nicely.

tenandersens said...

WONDERFUL VIDEO!! THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH! I am attempting my first Topsy Turvy and have learned so much from you! May I ask how long you can leave the finished cake (fondant and all) in the fridge before it gets too dry? I want to decorate it at the right time and also have it edible for the party. The guests will be here at 1pm on Saturday...it is now early afternoon on Thursday. Thanks!!

Bern. said...

Hi Janelle, I have a question. I stacked up my topsy turvy cakes like shown and in transport I had a problem. The cakes actually settled around the bases and became all crinkled looking. It looked like the fondant had slid down. What did I do wrong? * add sad lost and confused puppy face here*

Bimmer said...

Hi! Love your video!
I have a question. You mention chilling the cake after it is covered with fondant. How do you do that and not get condensation to sweat the cake?
Thanks!

Bimmer said...

Hi! Love your video!
I have a question. You mention chilling the cake after it is covered with fondant. How do you do that and not get condensation to sweat the cake?
Thanks!

blazingcakes said...

I absolutely love this cake! Thank you so much for posting the video. I myself am visualizer, so this helps me out a lot when reading the directions! Thanks again so much!

Nina said...

I have a qs...can you decorate the topsy turvy cake and freeze it overnight? If so, how would i go about that? i will be cooking the next day and it will be humid.Please im baking it tomorrow afternoon for saturday thank you.

Nina

JudyB said...

Here it is 2 1/2 years after you posted this video and you are still helping so many. Thank you so much from a newbie. You've made this much less daunting!

Anonymous said...

Awesome Video, one question, do u put each tier on a cardboard base?

Sharleen said...

How do u cut this cake into portions, the tiers are so tall?

Luci said...

Wow!! Thankyou so much for this video, it showed me exactly what I have to do, then again, it also showed me how difficult and time consuming it will be. Planning to make this for my 18th!! Let's hope it goes well!!

Cialis said...

That was a helpful video!

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Britnee Irons said...

I'm making a cake for my niece's birthday and this is such a great twist on a traditional tiered cake. I love it! You make it look so simple and you really explained how to do it with the video. Thanks for posting! Can you post a detailed list and pictures on how to do it step by step? That would really help more! Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Love this video!
Where can I get a turntable like yours!? I need a large one like that!

Louise Booth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Louise Booth said...

hi, what kind of card did you use between the layers? how thick is it and where did you buy it? thanks

Kristina Zimmermann said...

hi
i want to do a topsy turvy as well.
but i dont know if i should cool it, then cut and ice it, cool it again and then put the fondant on.
or if i should cut and ice it and after wards cool it for the first time.

i hope you can help me

tegan said...

hello, I want to do one for my dads birthday but I don't think there will be enough people for three tires, so I want to do two instead. shall I do the same as you did but not cut the hole in the top one or what?? please help im rather stuck xx

Anonymous said...

Great Tutorial, so helpful and best I've seen. Love the music and comments on the screen!

Susan Bosse said...

You just made my life so much easier. I've made one topsy turvy cake before and it turned out okay, but your method ROCKS!!!! I'm making one for my son's birthday this weekend. You just saved me 1,000 headaches!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!