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Pretty Bakes Blog

Cake decorating basics for pretty cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats

12 tips for topsy turvy cake success

Topsy turvy cake. Mission: Complete.

Topsy turvy cake. Mission: Complete.

The results of my first topsy turvy cake turned out to be not as bad as I feared – I worried that the entire cake might collapse or giant chunks would fall off. It didn’t fall but it leaned and needed to be supported with a handy teapot. There’s plenty of room for improvement so I’m sharing what I learned about topsy turvy cakes in the following list.

12 tips for topsy turvy cake success

1. Do plenty of research. Watch several tutorials like this one from janellscakes. Read topsy turvy cake disaster stories at Cake Central’s forums — they might frighten you at first but it’s best to know what you’re up against. Gravity is a formidable enemy but there are things you can do to fight the force and create a great-looking cake.

Just when the scary stories of cake collapses have you doubting yourself, watch Rebekah Allan’s topsy turvy YouTube tutorials. They’re most helpful and her adorable vintage hairdo and dress instantly increases her credibility, right? She makes the process look so easy, she’ll have you convinced that you, too, can make a topsy turvy cake – no problem.

2. Book off lots of time. You really don’t want to rush the carving process and you’ll need extra time to fit the fondant into irregular shapes. Slow and steady wins the race.

3. Use a dense cake. Fans of light and airy cakes must sacrifice texture and flavour for fashion. You’re asking for trouble with a cake recipe that delivers a soft, moist and light cake. Use a pound cake recipe.

4. Freeze cakes before carving. That’s when they’re most stable. Still, use gentle sawing motions with a knife to avoid further weakening the cake’s structure.

5. Taper slightly.  A little goes a long way so gently angle your knife. Check out How to taper cake tiers at wickedgoodies.net for helpful tips.

6. Use a thin layer of icing between cake layers. Thick layers of buttercream make the cake less stable.

7. Apply a crumb coat. Chill it, and then add a smooth layer of buttercream before applying fondant. The smoother your cake’s surface, the smoother the fondant’s finish.

8. Thaw cakes completely before covering with fondant. Otherwise, your fondant may slump and separate from the cake as it sweats and comes to room temperature.

9. Knead fondant well before rolling it out to improve elasticity, avoid cracks and tears. You want the fondant to easily stretch into irregular and tapered shapes.

10. Use icing sugar or cornstarch sparingly to prevent sticking when rolling fondant.

11. Remember to keep fondant moving regularly when rolling it to prevent sticking. Lift it off your work surface and dust the surface with icing sugar or cornstarch only as needed.

12. Place dowels in a more central formation than you normally might so they don’t pierce through the sides of the tapered bottom layer of cake.

If you have any additional tips for topsy turvy success, please post your advice by leaving a comment.

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