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What Happened to My Topsy Turvy!

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
So, I was doing a topsy turvey, DR seuss cake when it all crumbled once I stacked it. I followed the instructions on a youtube, step by step, but it still crashed! They didn't want fondant, so it was all cake and buttercream(FIRST TIME USING HI-RATIO SHORTENING AND WOW, WHAT A DIFFERENCE - I LOVE IT!).. Due to NOT being fondanted,,I'm not sure if that was the reason or not..I have done a fondant topsy turvey that looked great with the SAME instructions , so not sure what happened here!

ANyways,,I used the 8" size, layered 3 times and carved, and then 6", layered 3 times and carved. As I stacked it crushed at bottom..I doweled the lower level with 4 dowels, and the 2 level with 3 dowels. but the dowels looked like it split bottom 1/2 in half for some reason. I don't understand what happened??? My cake was VERY moist, so could that have caused the problem with the weight?? OR are my layers too close intact?

Please let me know..sorry this is long..frustrated!
post #2 of 32
Thread Starter 
I doweled rodded with wooden dowels b/c my bubble tea straws didn't arrive yet,,waiting for them in mail..and I doweled all the way through from top to bottom with a fat plastic , rod. Wanted to mention this also..does someone have an idea of what may have went wrong, or an easier tip to assemble next time around?
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
anyone know at all? I want to do another one since I made royal icing figurines for this theme and want to get this technique down..please?? Also, if cake is super moist,,can too many dowel rods split cake too?/ same maybe use less dowel rods? Thanks for your time.,please help..
post #4 of 32
Originally Posted by jenscreativity

As I stacked it crushed at bottom

Too many dowels can be disasterous, but you didn't use an extreme amount. I don't understand why you dowelled the top tier since nothing goes on top of the top tier that requires support. You say the bottom crushed AS you stacked... was it when you placed the plastic dowel through both tiers? How did you get a plastic rod through both cakes and the cardboard that the top tier was on?
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Ok, let me rephrase sorry.Ok,,so I put a 6" carved down to like 4" on the very top and doweled the whole cake down with the plastic rod..and yes, when I stcked and doweled the whole thing together,,it started to collaspe. I put a hole in the cardboards to put the dowel through then what? You are awesome,,please keep helping me or tell me another way to do this so i can master this today? Smaller/bigger tiers or what?
post #6 of 32
Originally Posted by jenscreativity

I put a hole in the cardboards to put the dowel through then what?

If you tried to put the plastic rod through the hole in the cardboard (rather than sliding the top tier onto a center pole), maybe the rod didn't go exactly into the center of the hole without hitting the edge of the hole which could have caused enough downward pressure on the cardboard to make the wooden support dowels to get displaced or knocked off from vertical.

Not sure that this possibility did happen, but I'll keep trying to help if I can.
post #7 of 32
Those large plastic dowels aren't really meant to be used as a center support for multiple tiers especially going top down because you have had no way to know if you were going to meet up with your pre cut center hole in the cardboard. Those dowels are also hollow so if you push it from the top down and you dont meet up exactly with your hole it could have displaced that extra cake down into your bottom tier and cause it to collapse. since you're only stacking two tiers, you could have used your plastic dowels, cut to size, under your top tier and not used the wooden rods at all. Hope that helps!
Three Little Blackbirds (TLBCakes)
Three Little Blackbirds (TLBCakes)
post #8 of 32
This happend to me in the summer on a three tier cake. First the frosting started to crack and then the cake. The bottom layer went first and then hours later the middle lay fell apart.

Some suggestions I received were that I used too many bubble tea straws, also that the area that I cut on the cakes for the next tier to sit on was too small causing the colapse.

I haven't tried one again yet, so I am not sure. Hope this helps you!
post #9 of 32
Originally Posted by ThreeLittleBlackbirds

since you're only stacking two tiers, you could have used your plastic dowels, cut to size, under your top tier and not used the wooden rods at all. Hope that helps!

Or you could have eliminated the plastic rod completely. That's a huge rod to be used in a top tier that is carved down to 4" at the base. It wasn't needed--overkill. If you were transporting the cake, a simple skewer would have been enough to help prevent the top tier from sliding apart or sliding off. I also believe the plastic rods would be overkill to place 4 of them in the bottom tier in the space that the carved down 4" base comes into contact with--wooden dowels are more than enough support in this tiny space.
post #10 of 32
Thread Starter the top 2 tiers were not falling apart,,it was ONLY the bottom tier. So it looked like the tiers on top were too heavy for the bottom tier AND also, you are right on the plastic dowel through whole thing..that could have been too wide to cause all of the other little wooden dowels to move and break cake apart b/c when I took the cake apart to see the problem, the wooden dowel rods were moved out of place b/c of the moistness of the cake maybe?? As bottom was failing the top tiers were coming down but didn't part up like the bottom tier. So how shall I do this then? Do I NEED a dowel rod to come down through all 3 layers if they are doweled 3/4 x already, or no? Can you instruct me how to assemble this please b/c this is driving me crazy!

Thanks so much to all of you and please continue to help me.Cakes are baking to re-do this cake right now,,so I want to master this so no time is wasted on my sugar decos. Thanks again!

post #11 of 32
I was speaking to someone a few weeks ago far more advanced than I who said not to use wooden dowels. For one, as you've experienced, they can easily shift and cause your cake to collapse. Also, if you think about your trees after it rains, they absorb moisture. I imagine the wooden dowels do too. I don't know if this would negatively affect them or not. He said the plastic dowels were the best for the smaller cakes, meaning not requiring PVC and such.
post #12 of 32
Okay, which is it? You first said it was a two-tier cake (6" & 8"), now I'm hearing that it was a three-tier cake because there's a "top 2 tiers" and a "bottom tier". Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding the new story because "tiers on top were too heavy for the bottom tier" implies plural, more than one tier on top of the bottom tier.

Either way, I don't believe the top tier(s) can be too heavy for the bottom tier if it's supported correctly. I don't believe the plastic rod's width caused the dowels to move unless it was forced through the cardboard or a portion of the cardboard instead of the hole (like I previously mentioned). It's not from moist cake... cake can't move dowels. Even if dowels were vertical in jello, the jello wouldn't allow dowels to move but pressure at any angle other than straight down would. The top tier didn't "part up" because there wasn't anything forcing the dowels to rip sideways through the cake (even though I mentioned there's no reason to dowel a top tier... center pole or skewer, yes, but no support needed).

What does doweled 3/4 already mean? If each tier is 3 layers high, you need to dowel through the entire height of the tier, not just 3/4 of it.
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Ok, great on the wooden dowels info! SO does the plastic ones not move at then b/c they are fat OR do you think I should just await my bubble tea straws( SHOULD BE HERE TODAY..ERR icon_cry.gif ) and just use those and scratch out the wooden and plastic dowels altogether? ALso, if I'm doing the 8", 6" and 4" tiers, then do I really need a dowel rod to go through all layers even though the 6 and 8 are doweled? And what about needing the wooden dowel to go through WHOLE cake vs just the layers? Thanks so much for your continued help...I'm needing to do this later all the help asap is greatly appreciated!
post #14 of 32
I think I understand that it is three tiers now... I thought you were describing how you carved a 6" tier down to 4" at the base, but maybe you aren't carving them to angle in at the base, perhaps they aren't angled at all. Are you setting it up with the ILLUSION that it's tilted, but it's actually sitting flat in the hole that's carved out to fit the above tiers?
post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
CWR41: Yes,,so I was tiering it this way,,(btm layer 8", middle layer 6", and top layer 4") So I wanted that tilted look like a topsy turvey. I followed the instructions to a tee on a youtube video on how to do this,,and it's great, and yes, I did put the angled holes in, to insert the top layer..So I angled btm layer to insert the 6" good..then I angled 6" to set the 4" into so it sits in for the illusion.
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