Topsy Turvy Cake Due Soon And Am Scared To Do It...

Decorating By LadyPol Updated 17 Jun 2009 , 8:13pm by lildragon

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LadyPol Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 3:27am
post #1 of 18

Argh!! I have watched video tutorials over and over ... read the tutorial here on CC several times. I have a 3-tier TT Sweet 16 cake due June 26th, so I thought I would practice and make a 2-tier cake for DH's birthday. It was a mess. It was so bad I didn't even crumb coat and certainly didn't even get to the fondant part. I ended up just slicing it and serving it after dinner tonight with a side of buttercream. *sob* I was feeling fairly confident with my cakes but this one seems to be beyond me. I have searched the forums here to try to find the best type of recipe to use and never really found anything. I baked the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate chocolate cake ..... it was crumbly and was a mess to carve. UGH!

Ok, I guess I am just venting ... this fun cake technique just seems to be beyond me, as is modeling figures out of fondant, LOL! I am literally scared to even try this Sweet 16 cake now ... I am going to mess it up again ... and I don't want to! You all make it seem SO easy on the tutorials, lol.... *sigh*

Any tips for me? Best cake recipe to use? Frozen, semi-frozen, not frozen...? I am terrified of messing up this cake - it is for one of my DD's best friends ...

Well, hope you all are having a better cake night than me! *smile*


17 replies
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gerripje Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 4:01am
post #2 of 18

I am in the process of making my first one right now! I was scared too, but it has been working great for me! I used a variation of the WASC, and had the cake semi-frozen. I carved it up just like nothing, and I was really shocked! I will be covering the two layers with fondant tonight. Have you watched the video on you tube by janelles cakes? Also there is a new one from Lindy Smith on there too!

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LadyPol Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 4:03am
post #3 of 18

Yes, I've watched Janelle's video over and over ... I'll have to check out the other one you mentioned. Man, my cake did NOT carve nicely.

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Misdawn Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 4:12am
post #4 of 18

I found it much easier to use a cake that is more like a pound cake in texture and density. Then get it semi-frozen. This should help them carve nicely without much crumbling at all. Good luck!

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saffronica Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 4:25am
post #5 of 18

I've never done a topsy-turvy, so I'm not too much help, but for carved cakes I find it easiest to work with cakes that are very cold but not frozen.

If you're not opposed to using a doctored cake mix, I like this version from Kraft:

1 chocolate cake mix
1 (4 svg. size) chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
Mix together, then add 2 oz. chopped chocolate.

It's firm, but still moist and tasty. I did a taste-test once with friends and family, baked four different chocolate cake recipes -- the others all from scratch -- and this one won hands down.

Good luck!

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gerripje Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 4:31am
post #6 of 18

Here's a few pictures, crumb coated in the fridge awaiting fondant. I am using a spackle coat and very surprised, I have put this off for months for fear of total disaster.

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varika Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 4:44am
post #7 of 18

I made one last year for my best friend's b-day. I used chocolate cake and chocolate SMBC. It really helped to chill the cakes in the fridge for long enough for the frosting to harden up good. The trick I found is to use your icing spatula to ease the layers into the holes not quite straight down, and use the blade to push the cardboard a bit if you need it. You can smooth any dings easily, or cover them with decoration.

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lildragon Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 4:57am
post #8 of 18

I made my very first one for my niece's birthday on Monday, and I was scared to death as well. I used butter cakes for two layers and "doctored" box cake for the bottom layer and it turned out better than I thought it would. It does help to have the cakes cold, but mine were not frozen, since I was pressed for time (they came out more "bowl-shaped" than angular after carving). I covered mine with buttercream and was having a little difficulty stacking the tiers and trying not to smudge the buttercream, but I think it will be a bit easier with the fondant. I used a cake round two inches smaller than the width of the cake to use as a guide when I carved (a 6 inch cake board for an 8 inch cake.) It'll go great. Can't wait to see pics!

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lildragon Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 5:02am
post #9 of 18

Oh and one more thing....The Hershey's perfect chocolate cake recipe just doesn't hold up to carving and stacking (in my opinion). I really like the flavor, but it's just not firm enough since the only fat comes from the milk and oil, so even in the fridge it just wouldn't get "firm" enough for easy carving. I suppose you can freeze the cake if you really want to go with that recipe, but not sure how it would hold up once it's defrosted and covered with fondant.

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Bakingangel Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 6:01am
post #10 of 18

Lady Pol, go to and go to SugarShacks blog and look back a week or two. She made a crooked cake using wedged styrofoam between the tiers. Much easier and gives the same effect. She also shows how she did it.

Her newest DVD Topsy Turvy Cakes just came out too. It is fabulous as all her DVD's are!

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kbak37 Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 6:09am
post #11 of 18

I recommend Sugarshack as well...(she's my favorite anyway..the woman is amazing). I just got her topsy DVD and you cannot go wrong. I had done a few topsy's before and while they were ok, I wanted to smack myself over and over saying "DUH"! It is worth the money to buy....

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gerripje Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 7:31am
post #12 of 18

I know one big mistake that I am guessing is going to give me some grief is that (I know, I am bangin my head), before I even had the top tier baked, I made a circle the size I thought the top tier should be tapered to and cut the hole. Then I just carved down the top tier not even thinking about the hole already there! DUH!! Next time, I will wait and use the top tier as the actual guide.... like what you're supposed to do!! Hopefully I can muddle through and I plan on having lots of decorations on this sucker!!

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JGMB Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 10:53am
post #13 of 18

Just stay calm and tell yourself that you CAN do this -- that's the approach I took 2 weeks ago when I made my first one, and it worked! Believe me, if I could do it, you can definitely do it!!

I used the WASC recipe and did it exactly as in Janell's video, partially freezing the cakes before carving, and it worked out perfectly.

It's going to be great -- you can do it!

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SugaryGoodness Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 2:53pm
post #14 of 18

I highly recommend Sharon's new Topsy Turvey video ( I just got it and watched both DVD's. It takes you step-by-step on everything you will do and gives you lots of ideas on decorations.

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LadyPol Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 4:33pm
post #15 of 18

Thanks, everyone! I definitely want to purchase Sharon's DVD but no money or time right now, unfortunately.

Ok ... I wondered if the Hershey's cake was part of the problem. I really tried to find what the best recipes were for making these and just wasn't coming up with much in search. I have never made a pound cake recipe before ... I have made WASC but haven't perfected the baking times and so still sometimes get cakes that are not done in the middle and sink.

Ok, for this particular TT cake, the birthday girl wants the bottom tier to be chocolate, the middle tier to be vanilla, and the top tier to be strawberry. Any suggestions for good stacking/carving recipes?

I won't give up and I like trying new things ... but for some reason this project has me doubting myself big time!

I truly appreciate all of your help! Thanks so much!

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sugarshack Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 7:37pm
post #16 of 18

the 3d durable recipe on this site is perfect fot TT cakes

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LadyPol Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 8:09pm
post #17 of 18

Thanks, Sharon - I will def. check it out! *smile*

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lildragon Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 8:13pm
post #18 of 18

I recently tried the strawberry cake recipe on CC contributed by tuffstuff and everyone loved it!!! They couldn't get enough and it stood up very well to torting, carving, and stacking.

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