Topsy Turvy Cake Instructions

Have you ever wanted to make a ‘crooked’ or ‘topsy turvy’ cake?  If you have but just wasn’t sure how to accomplish it, you will be a little closer to making one after following my step-by-step instructions.  Please, keep in mind, there are various ways to achieve this effect.  The following is what worked for me.
Patience is key.  So, be brave…be careful(there’s cutting involved)…relax(woo-saaaaaaaaaah) and let’s get to it.
Each layer consists of 3-2″ layers of cake.  For a squattier look, just use 2-2″ layers.
It may seem like I’m crumbcoating unnecessarily but it makes for the perfect amount of icing to cake trimmings for snacking later.
Have ready:
3 layers of cake for each tier
1- 1/2″ cake drum (or 4-5 cake circles taped together then wrapped)
icing(s) (color if desired)
5 cake circles cut 1″ smaller than cake layers (1-9″ circle for the 10″ tier, 2-7″ for the 8″ tier, 2-5″ for the 6″ tier)
In the instructions I’ve used 6″, 8″, and 10″ layers.
Split 2 of the 3 layers horizontally and fill with firm, stable filling…icing is definitely an acceptable filling(splitting of the layers is not necessary…but some type of filling/icing is needed between layers even if you decide not to split them).  Give the top a coat of icing(the same amount as you put between the layers) and crumb coat(just enough icing to lock in those crumbs) the sides.  If you’re using a crusting buttercream, simply set it aside and continue on with the next tier.  If you’re using a non-crusting type icing, place in freezer and continue on with next tier.
After the 2-layer cake’s icing is crusted over(or firmed up if using non-crusting type icing), using the cake circle for the tier to be stack on it to mark it ( use the 7″ circle to mark the top of the 10″ tier and the 5″ circle to mark the top of the 8″ tier).
Insert one dowel or fat drinking straw at tallest area (almost everyone gets an area that is slightly higher or lower than another) and mark it at the top of the icing.  Remove marked straw and cut it and several others at the same length as the first (I place the same number of dowels as the diameter of the tier it will be supporting….an 8″ tier will be resting on the 10″ so I put 8 dowels, evenly placed into the 10″ tier).
Replace the cake circle used for the marking.  Add icing around the circle to level the area.  Try to keep icing off the circle.
Place the 3rd layer on top of icing surrounded circle and press carefully but firmly.
Starting at the top of one side of the top layer slice carefully and evenly toward the bottom of the top layer on the opposite side(at an angle).  Remove the sliced piece and set aside.  If you like the angle that you’re left with, put the set aside piece in the snacking area.  Otherwise, put a layer of icing on the cut area, rotate the cut off piece 180 degrees from its’ original, pre-cut position and replace.
Cut a hole the same diameter as the cake circle between the
2nd and 3rd layers…angle the opening so that it’s slightly wider at the top.
Now, with the assembled tier, resting on its’ cake circle, start trimming, giving it more angle….
Trim it so that it is a 1/2″ or so smaller than the circle it’s resting on.  Once the last layer of icing is on, it’ll all make sense.
Crumbcoat!  Just a thin layer of icing
that locks in those pesky
crumbs while keeping the cake from drying out while settling.  Don’t forget to crumbcoat the cut out area as well.
Leave the tiers to settle for several hours or overnight.  This greatly reduce “bulging”  and “slippity sliding” layers.
They can now be iced in whatever color icing you would like them to be.  Let them crust(or freeze until icing is firm) and trim off any excess cake circle showing.
Freezing tiers does make assembly less stressful whether using crusting or non-crusting type icing.  If you are feeling uncomfortable/scared/timid about handling the tiers….freeze them.  Just remember to allow time for them to thaw before decorating….they’ll sweat a little bit until thoroughly thawed.
 Fill in the gaps at tier intersections with icing.  With a spatula or finger dipped in water(not dripping) smooth filled in areas.
Sharpen one end of a clean, food-safe dowel that is as long as the cake is high minus 1″ and hammer it(wrap hammer with plastic wrap) through the center of the cake.  Use a separate dowel to finish driving the sharpened dowel into the base cake drum (the dowel will be submerged into the top tier….fill hole with a bit of icing…allow to crust then smooth).

4 responses

  1. Thank you for this tutorial! I made this cake for a sweet sixteen party and featured it on my blog.

  2. I am sure it is NOT easy to do, but you make it look like a fun project!!

  3. That cake is so cool. I have seen them on the food network, but I never had any idea how they were made. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! I’ve tried other ways. This method works for me. I hope it works for you as well. Jeanne

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