Why Does My Top Tier Look Like This?

Decorating By qchau Updated 12 Apr 2016 , 5:13pm by kakeladi

qchau Posted 11 Apr 2016 , 11:58pm
post #1 of 21

I don't know why my top tier always tilts like this. I always use at least 8 fat plastic straw as dowels and a cake board under the top tier. Does anyone know how to fix this problem?? Thanks in advance for your replies!900_why-does-my-top-tier-look_985535570c3a2da6ff0.jpg900_why-does-my-top-tier-look_985535570c3a2dd9648.jpg

20 replies
qchau Posted 11 Apr 2016 , 11:59pm
post #2 of 21

So sorry the pictures are sideways!!

kakeladi Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 12:08am
post #3 of 21

1st of all *8*! supports to hold up a 6" top is overkill.  Three or 4 is more than enough.

Is your top tier on a cake board?   Are you sure  your layers are level before adding filling or icing?  Do you put one - just one - support/straw into the cake, mark where it meets the cake then cut all the other supports to that exact length?  Those are usually the reasons for tilting problems.  And you sure have a tilt :(  It doesn't make sense to me unless you are not leveling each layer or not using a cake board.  Especially since your bottom tier looks good (maybe just a tad unlevel).

qchau Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 12:14am
post #4 of 21

Yes I did use a cake board under the top tier. And I did measure and cut the other straws to the first iinitial straw that was inserted in the cake :(


Maybe the cake wasn't level to begin with?

kakeladi Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 12:23am
post #5 of 21

That's about all I can think of.  Maybe someone else will have more ideas.  Make sure each layer is level before putting them together into a tier.  Do you notice any tilt when working on/decorating the top iter?  I know that in any tower, if the bottom is not level the higher up one goes the more tilt it will develop.  So it looks to me like you need to make sure each layer is level before moving on.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 12:33am
post #6 of 21

your work looks real good except for the leaning tower of Pisa thing -- you have eight equal length straws in there in the bottom tier right?  

so it's sitting on a cardboard circle then you slide a masonite board under there? why

are these pictures of the same cake or the two you've made that have done this  

very odd to repeat the same problem and do it so well 

how could you not notice -- you punkin' us?

ok so the fondant is helping hold the bottom tier together and the buttercream is not holding the top one together -- what kind of cake is in there?  tres leches? something real fruit-y?

qchau Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 1:04am
post #7 of 21

Yes all eight equal length straws. I'm not sure which masonite board you're talking about k8memphis :(

It's just a regular cake board. Also I'm not sure I fully understood your message either lol. No I'm not punking anyone LOL. It's two pictures of the same cake, taken at different times. One at night and the other one was taken the next morning.

Both cakes are just regular vanilla cakes.

This is very frustrating!!

BabyGotCakes Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 1:23am
post #8 of 21

I think the issue is the top tier not being level.  The bottom tier looks fine so the problem must only be with the top tier.  And, I agree with the previous comment...8 supports is overkill!  And, depending on where the supports are inserted in the cake...they wouldn't necessarily all be the exact length.  Even with a level cake, I find sometimes that the supports may have to vary in length. 

-K8memphis Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 1:24am
post #9 of 21

the first one is on a cardboard sitting on the cake plate the second one seems to have acquired a masonite board there on top of the cake plate no?

i showed my husband and he said, "is it supposed to be a topsy turvy" 

i don't know -- something just gave up the ghost inside that beautiful ombre tier there -- your work looks so balanced and well done -- how did you do that --

how many layers in that top tier?

qchau Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 1:33am
post #10 of 21

Ohhh I see what you mean. I just put a gold cake board underneath to make the cake look more fancy haha. It's just a regular foil-covered cake board.

LOL your husband thought it was topsy turvy. I wish! But no - it was VERY unintentionally topsy turvy, sadly.


Haha my work is definitely not balanced or well done, or I wouldn't be on here asking for advice :P


Each tier had 3 layers.

costumeczar Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 1:47am
post #11 of 21

Neither tier looks level to me. The second photo also shows a little sliding of the two top layers, so that would be because the bottom isn't level, but strangely, it looks like it's tilting in the opposite direction. 

Next time only use three straws, I agree eight is way too many. 

If this happens all the time, then you should probably make sure that each layer is level too. If you're stacking three layers that are each a little high on one side, and the high sides are all on the same side of the tier, the layers can slide if the icing is too soft.

Then level the top tier too :)


kakeladi Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 5:08am
post #12 of 21

The more I look at and study your pictures the more I think neither tier is level.  As I said, when a tower is not level at the bottom most point, the higher you go the more the tilt will become.  Get your layers level and I think you will find better results.  Do you use a cake leveler?  Are you trying to level by using a knife?  Do your layers bake up to or even over the top of your pan?  How much to do end up cutting off each layer?  With a good recipe and proper baking there should  be little or no leveling needed.  Have you tried this recipe:  http://www.cakecentral.com/recipe/7445/the-original-wasc-cake-recipe ?  Take the time to read through the whole post and replies.  There is a wealth of information on baking that might help you.   You might be better off investing in a cake leveler.   For years I used the Wilton cheap wire one before investing in a better cake saw'  It made a big difference in the appearance of my cakes.  (I never could get the hang of torting a cake evenly  w/a knife!)

kakeladi Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 5:18am
post #13 of 21

I so disagree w/babygotcakes who said,,,,,,, depending on where the supports are inserted in the cake...they wouldn't necessarily all be the exact length. If the bottom tier is not level, at least the same sized supports will keep the upper most tier level.   Even with a level cake, I find sometimes that the supports may have to vary in length..............  

 No.  Even supports all around is what will keep the upper tier straight.  If the supports are not all the same size/length you will get a tilted top tier for sure.    

forjenns Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 6:32am
post #14 of 21

did you let each tier settle before stacking?  I use to have that problem until a few things happened

1.  I realized that I just have to throw some cake away (I eyeballed level and hated to throw some away always topsy).  I don't do well with a knife alone - I have used the toothpick method successfully but usually I prefer my Wilton cake level.

2.  I got a level and started to make sure my cakes were level.

3.  I put each tier together and put some even weight on the top for about an hour to make everything is settled before stacking.


Good luck!  I hope the next one makes you happy!

cakebaby2 Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 7:12am
post #15 of 21

I answered your other thread on the same topic but without a pic to guide me. I concur with everyone else.

I use a spirit level on all my stacked cakes and cut the straws all the same length.

A well chilled "settled" cake torted equally wont lean.

Try filling your cakes in the pan they were baked in, keeps your sides nice and neat and you can see if you are level.

Chill it well,  take it out of the pan and get that spirit level out lol!

Lovely cake by the way. x

Cher2309b Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 9:00am
post #16 of 21

I agree with the spirit level and the weighting. I torte my cake with ganache,  checking with a spirit level, then let it stand for an hour or so with a couple of books on top on a board on some baking paper and the spirit level on top so I can press gently any time it needs adjusting. Then I refrigerate to firm up the filling before adding extra layers or otherwise proceeding.

There are some good free video tutorials around.

Nice cake. Good luck.


Cher2309b Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 9:00am
post #17 of 21

I agree with the spirit level and the weighting. I torte my cake with ganache,  checking with a spirit level, then let it stand for an hour or so with a couple of books on top on a board on some baking paper and the spirit level on top so I can press gently any time it needs adjusting. Then I refrigerate to firm up the filling before adding extra layers or otherwise proceeding.

There are some good free video tutorials around.

Nice cake. Good luck.


Cher2309b Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 9:00am
post #18 of 21

I agree with the spirit level and the weighting. I torte my cake with ganache,  checking with a spirit level, then let it stand for an hour or so with a couple of books on top on a board on some baking paper and the spirit level on top so I can press gently any time it needs adjusting. Then I refrigerate to firm up the filling before adding extra layers or otherwise proceeding.

There are some good free video tutorials around.

Nice cake. Good luck.


Cher2309b Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 9:11am
post #19 of 21

A couple of other thoughts:

How tall is the top tier? If it's more than 4 inches (10cm) tall, then I stack it with a cake card in the middle and some support straws in the lower half.

perhaps too many straws may cause the cake to break and move??? 



akeri Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 9:48am
post #20 of 21
  1. After the cake is stacked completely you can stabilize it further by running a long wooden dowel  with a sharpened end through all the cake tiers from the top. The sharpened end should embed into the base cake board. This will prevent any shifting. You can sharpen the dowel with a pencil sharpener or even a sharp paring knife. If your dowels are not long enough to go through the height of the tiers it is advisable to stabilize the first two tiers on the bottom using this method and then repeat it with the top two or three tiers. for 8 tier upto , For all details Visit Cakeberry there show all information About Tier cake Making 
  2. 900_why-does-my-top-tier-look_987396570cc470cbdf5.jpg
kakeladi Posted 12 Apr 2016 , 5:13pm
post #21 of 21

The use of a center dowel all through the cake has NOTHING to do with the tier tilting.  It definitely has to do with not leveling the cake properly.  In more than 30 yrs of decorating I never let a cake settle nor had to weight it down!  Again, it all goes back to leveling.  The use of a bubble level (don't know what a 'spirit' level is - probably the same thing) is well worth the small investment.  They are about the size of a US 1/2 $ and can be bought where RV supplies are sold.  

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