Topsy Turvy Cake Collapse!

Decorating By Littleangel1982 Updated 26 Apr 2014 , 8:29pm by Littleangel1982

Littleangel1982 Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 5:55pm
post #1 of 18

Hi All,

 

I'm new to this forum but have read through many of your hints and tips for various things on cake making.

 

Well, I thought I'd just canvas a couple of views on where I went wrong with a topsy turvy cake which collapsed on me this weekend.  I spent sooo many hours decorating a lovely three tiered topsy turvy cake with flowers and butterflies on it just to come down the morning the cake was being collected to find that the bottom tiered had completely collapsed and the top two had obviously gone with it!  I could do nothing but cry for a good few minutes but then I pulled myself together and thought "damage control"!    The attached pictures are what I managed to salvage of the cake but I ended up having to cut up the bottom tier and give it to the lady who ordered it just so that she at least had the cake to eat!  I'm so annoyed that I didn't take a picture of it the night before as it looked really good (for a first topsy turvy attempt).  I'm self taught so had to do some research to figure out how to do this in the first place.  

 

I think the problem was that the lady decided she wanted victoria sponge on the bottom where it was originally going to be chocolate.  The chocolate ended up being the middle tier which you can see, even after the collapsed, manage to just about stay in one piece.  The top tier was lemon and did take a bit of a battering.  I had to use royal icing to patch the holes in the fondant as best I could considering she was collecting the cake in three hours time.

 

Any tips other than don't use victoria sponge on the bottom tier??  :'(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 replies
enga Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 6:10pm
post #2 of 18

I'm so sorry that happened to you but it's a pretty cute cake for your first experience at it. What type of support system did you use?

Littleangel1982 Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 6:20pm
post #3 of 18

AAh, thank you :)

I used five plastic dowels in each tier, I thought that would be enough but I don't know whether it was the lack of support, the type of cake, the filling or the heat! I noticed a stress fracture when I put the top tier on but hoped it would hold out, at least until collection.

The fondant started sagging after I put the middle tier on too :(

enga Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 7:31pm
post #4 of 18

It might have been a combination of the heat and the filling because it sounds like you had enough support dowels so I don't think it was the cake type but then again I'm not an expert on topsy turvy cakes, which I will probably be made aware of.

 

I applaud you for even attempting to make one. I'm afraid of them, very afraid, (shudders), lol. If I were to make one in the future, I would use the indention method, making sure that the base where the next cake would sit was very level and the dowels were even and straight.

 

Sort of like this technique.

 


 

I wish you the best of luck with your cakes and don't feel too bad about this one. I think you did very well for your first attempt. Hopefully someone with more expertise will chime in.

Littleangel1982 Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 8:08pm
post #5 of 18

AI have to admit, when I was asked to do this one I was scared, but that is exactly the video tutorial I followed. I watched it over and over until I knew what to do, although if I were to do it again I'd make all the cakes the same size (for each tier) instead of following the sizing that lady uses. It made the angles a bit severe, which I don't think helped on the bottom.

I will try another topsy turvy again, but not quite yet!! They are so time consuming!!

Good luck when you do give it a try! I'm sure yours will work out fine :-)

enga Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 8:25pm
post #6 of 18

Really, haa haa ha, I'm not ready yet! Her technique as kinda different from the rest of the tutorials I've seen.

 

Do you mean that you would carve them differently than how she carved them to make the bottom smaller than the top of the cakes? Do you feel that that could have been the problem also?

Littleangel1982 Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 8:33pm
post #7 of 18

AYeah, I think on her base she cooks a 10" and an 8", which she cuts on half. That means the bottom two cakes are 2" smaller than the top. You then carve in. I would have preferred to do two 10" and carve to a 9" base. It's less of a harsh angle and you have more control. My middle tier started off as two 8" (as that's what I had cooked) and I carved in. It worked better and was easier to cover with fondant. Too harsh an angle proves a nightmare to cover as it bunches more on the higher side.

Maybe that's part of where I went wrong....?

enga Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 9:41pm
post #8 of 18

I completely understand. If I did it her way, I know I would have a serious problem getting the fondant to the bottom neatly because of the angle. It almost looks easier to do it upside down. I think I'm going to try it your way and see how it works. It seems better stability wise too.

 

Sorry I couldn't help you more with the problems you were having but you have helped me tremendously. Thank you so much! :)

Littleangel1982 Posted 14 Apr 2014 , 7:43am
post #9 of 18

AAh, I'm glad I could help! Good luck!

Gingerlocks Posted 23 Apr 2014 , 7:56pm
post #10 of 18

Sorry I just came across this and was reading through..I have to say never use a Victoria Sponge for anything but a top tier. I find them to be so finicky, I won't even cover it in fondant..it seems to have a mind of its own :roll: 

AZCouture Posted 23 Apr 2014 , 10:07pm
post #11 of 18

AI was fortunate enough to learn the madhatter method from a Planet Cake instructor (the experts at those in my opinion). What makes them sturdy is the dense mud cake used, and ganache. Solid as a rock, and you can carve severe tapers and build the tiers nice and tall. [IMG]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3225034/width/200/height/400[/IMG]

Not my cake, just showing off what mud cake and ganache can look like. :D

-K8memphis Posted 23 Apr 2014 , 10:18pm
post #12 of 18

here's b keith ryder on the subject with a solid tutorial

 

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/71115-demo-topsy-turvy-cake/?pid=969488#entry969488

Smckinney07 Posted 23 Apr 2014 , 11:37pm
post #13 of 18

AThe tutorial that K8 posted is a good one, basically you're giving the illusion that the cake is topsy turvy (I have seen people stack their cakes without that bottom cut down, certainly makes me too nervous!).

Planet Cake is amazing! I love using ganache, it hardens a bit and I seem to be able to cover better with it or a meringue based frosting. All these things come with practice.

If you are selling cakes you need to be able to educate your customer, you said yourself you didn't think using a VS for the base was a good idea, it's ok to say no and explain why. For most carved cakes I stick with more durable recipes (mudcake, buttercake, etc.) along with a good, solid structure. Obviously, you can't foresee every potential problem, that comes with practice. I am also self taught, I can't tell you how many cakes I forced on family members before I started thinking about going into business.

enga Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 12:33am
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

here's b keith ryder on the subject with a solid tutorial

 

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/71115-demo-topsy-turvy-cake/?pid=969488#entry969488

Wow, thanks K8, that was good tutorial and a laughing out loud read! ;-D 

-K8memphis Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 12:30pm
post #15 of 18

you're welcome--the biggie is making sure that the fit is correct when you place the tiers so there's no stress on that collar of cake--the cake placed onto it angles up so the collar has to accommodate not just the footprint of the tier but the widening of the tier--the collar needs to match the angle and thin out a bit toward the top--it's the place where tts will often crack--

 

i've done fruit filled cakes--no worries if you can assemble properly

enga Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 2:08pm
post #16 of 18

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

you're welcome--the biggie is making sure that the fit is correct when you place the tiers so there's no stress on that collar of cake--the cake placed onto it angles up so the collar has to accommodate not just the footprint of the tier but the widening of the tier--the collar needs to match the angle and thin out a bit toward the top--it's the place where tts will often crack--

 

i've done fruit filled cakes--no worries if you can assemble properly

;-D

Littleangel1982 Posted 26 Apr 2014 , 8:23pm
post #17 of 18

AThank you all, really. This is all very helpful. I suspect it was the fact that I used Victoria sponge on the bottom, and you're right. I should have just said that wasn't recommended. This is the first collapse I have had so to be honest I hadn't expected it.

It is a lesson learned the hard way but I'm so glad I'm not the only person who struggles with these ones!! :grin:

Littleangel1982 Posted 26 Apr 2014 , 8:29pm
post #18 of 18

AI've just looked at the tutorial as well and that support system is awesome!! So much more stabler! Noted for future reference :)

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