I was really hoping I'd never have to post anything here.. Working on a topsy turvey cake which is NOT my strong suit..anyway it's a 7 and 10"tier. First I decorated the top tier (first mistake) Then realize when I go to put it on the top tier..it didn't fit properly not to mention...I did not cover this cake in fondant. I bet you can guess what happened. I figure even though it didn't sit properly it was still secure, so I move on and try to re-ice the top tier (not to bad). Starting to feel a little better. Start to decorate the sides of the bottom tier...Oh and did I mention the bottom tier is chocolate(CRAP..VERY SOFT). As I'm decorating the bottom tier I notice a couple crack lines in the icing and that the top tier slid into place messing up the icing on the top tier....AGAIN. Ok...I can still make it look ok...Then realize I never moved the cake to the decorative base....OH NO!!! I move it... Entire bottom tier splits in half. Bottom tier is now in the trash. Guess who will be up most of the night? . I am so disgusted...I think I'm gonna have a meltdown.
I'm so sorry this happened. I had not baked/decorated cakes for over ten years and a friend asked if I would make a 3 layer topsy turvy cake for her daughter's Sweet 16. Of course, I said yes. Thought I had it all set then the top two layers slowly began sliding off. Worked everything I could to stabilize. Almost done, left the cake on the table and ran to the store. Golden got in the kitchen and ate a huuuuge hunk out of the bottom tier. He was so excited to show me what he had found when I got home, I couldn't be angry with him. All I could say was "Oh no Chipper!" Up late baking and making fondant. Slept for a few hours and up again at 5 to start decorating. Cake turned out so much better than it would have if I had not had to redo. Sometimes these catastrophes are really blessings in disguise.
I hope you are right and thanks for the encouragment.
I use this tutorial as a reference for topsy turvy cakes:
I only stack them when BOTH cakes are well chilled.
Better to have too big a hole in the bottom tier than too small a hole.
I am sorry this happened to you! I am so reluctant to even try a topsy turvey for this reason! I know I am going to have to bite the bullet someday though - when a customer asks me! Lol
I will only ever make a topsy turvy cake out of mudcake and chocolate ganache (and cover with fondant) for this exact reason
I had a similar disaster a couple months ago. I had never made a topsy turvy cake before, but I'd watched lots of YouTube videos and how-to articles, so I can do this, right? Since I knew there was a CHANCE at failure, I decided to do it for my MIL's 60th birthday party (aka a very forgiving audience, and also an occasion where I wasn't getting paid to do it!). The plan was to make it 3 tier (go big or go home, right?), 10", 8" and 6". I got the cake decorated, minus some piping, the night before and was feeling pretty good about myself. Had a couple snags along the way but overall, a pretty good job. Then the next morning I awoke to find a crack in the fondant on the bottom tier. . I tried to patch it up with some royal icing, but it just kept getting bigger and bigger. Come to realize it was the cake itself that was falling apart. NO way this was going to work. So I decided to scrap the bottom layer and just have a 2 tier cake. Still pretty, still works. Unfortunately, the support I had cut to run through the all the tiers was removed with the bottom layer and I didn't recut it to reinsert into the now shorter cake. It'll be okay, right? So we loaded up the cake and headed across town to the party. My palms were sweaty the whole way there. Of course, when we get to my MIL's house, I find the cake had totally imploded on itself. The top tier had fallen, totally crushing one side of the bottom tier. All I could do was close the back of the van and instruct my husband to go to the store to get his mother a birthday cake. So what did I learn? 1. Always have a support dowel running through all tiers. Always. 2. Denser cake on the bottom (my bottom layer was a very tasty, but very light, chocolate. 3. DO NOT use fruit (i.e. slippery) fillings (what was I thinking!). I'll probably apply this to pretty much all tall cakes that have to be transported). 4. You can never have too many support dowels for each tier. I had some, which I thought were enough, but apparently not. Live and learn! I'm so glad others have had similar experiences. Makes me feel better!
I watched this video before I did my first Topsy Turvey cake that is buttercream with fondant accents. I made one for my mother in law for my first attempt and was pleased with the outcome.
1. Always have a support dowel running through all tiers. Always. 2. Denser cake on the bottom (my bottom layer was a very tasty, but very light, chocolate. 3. DO NOT use fruit (i.e. slippery) fillings (what was I thinking!). I'll probably apply this to pretty much all tall cakes that have to be transported). 4. You can never have too many support dowels for each tier. I had some, which I thought were enough, but apparently not. Live and learn!
Yes, a central support dowel can help.
When properly carved, stacked, & supported, you can stack jello, so the denseness of the cake really isn't an issue.
The filling softness/slipperiness is much, much more an issue than cake type. No filling, just buttercream or ganache "glue" is best for stability.
Yes, YOU CAN HAVE TOO MANY DOWELS.. Too many is as bad--or even worse--than too few. Making a swiss cheese of a tier will cause it to fall apart. Using a plate & leg system on these types of cakes works very well, so that's the equivalent of 4 hollow dowels per tier.