How to Make a Topsy Turvy Cake

by Gretchen Price on December 1, 2013

Post image for How to Make a Topsy Turvy Cake

Ok, so YES this happens to be a Christmas decorated cake, but the building of a Topsy Turvy cake is the same no matter what the occasion, so follow along step by step with this very detailed video tutorial below and feel free to decorate as you wish!
At the start of this video I show you my sketch of how I intended my cake to look.
I always recommend to draw up some “blueprints” of your vision for these elaborate cakes before you begin.
This way you can “Plan your work, and then work your plan!”

In this video I used my Golden Vanilla Cake prepared 2 times to make 3 8″ layers and 3 5″ layers.
I also made 1 recipe of the Swiss Vanilla Buttercream for the filling and icing.
I always use purchased fondant for my cakes and the brand I prefer is Satin Ice

Be sure to make your modeling chocolate for all of the decorations too! This part can be prepared days ahead of time.


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

jaylean October 1, 2013 at 3:48 am

I’m glad you mentioned about putting the cake with the fondant in the ice box cause I was told if I did that the fondant would get to hard to eat so I always tried to decorate the same day of delivery. Learn something new everyday :-) thanks for everything!


Nina October 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Can I make this cake with just buttercream frosting, instead of fondant?


Gretchen Price October 3, 2013 at 12:50 am

yes of course!


Riciê Vasconcelos October 3, 2013 at 6:45 am

Hi, Gretchen!
Well, here in Rio de Janeiro – Brasil, we usually recommend to not put the fondant covered cake in the refrigerator because the temperature are always changing about 25-40ºC and the relative humidity here is over 60-65% (when it’s minimum). So, the problem that happens here (by experience) is not to put the cake to cool, but when you get it off – all that humidity in the air condenses to fast on the cake covering and it just makes the fondant “melts”.
I don’t know how is the relative humidity in New Jersey, but that was the only good explanation for what happens to my cakes here.


jazzy October 6, 2013 at 6:42 am

Do you know who Cake Boss is and do you like his show ?


Gretchen Price October 6, 2013 at 9:16 pm

yes I do know, and I think he is a fabulous artist of cakes. One of the best


Ralch November 4, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Hi Gretchen,

I recently baked a topsy turvy cake and the bottom layer collapsed on me. bottom layer was 11-10 while top layer was 10-8. I used pouond cake recepee.. I dowelled d cakes yet the head od the “couch” came apart. Have you any idea what could have caused this?


Gretchen Price November 5, 2013 at 12:00 am

Sounds like the head of the “couch” may have been too thin??
Im not sure what you mean by “bottom layer was 11-10 while top layer was 10-8″
Do you mean the bottom layer was 11″ in diameter? and the top tier was 10″ in diameter??
If YES- then I will suggest that those two cakes are too similar in size to be stacked. You need about 3-4 inches difference in diameter for each tier as it graduates up.
See my video for How to Build 3 tier cake and I talk about the sizing of each tier.

But anyway- I am thinking the 1 inch difference between each tier was just not enough space to support


Erin November 12, 2013 at 2:43 am

I would like to say first that you are amazing I love your blog page every video is helpful you explain so much, thank you :). The mat that you are using for the fondant, what exactly is it or where can I purchase one? Thank you again! :)


Gretchen Price November 12, 2013 at 3:52 am



Narine November 16, 2013 at 7:57 pm

They say dont put fondant in the fridge because they are afraid of condensation. I was scared at first too, but it eventually evaporates and looks great!


Yuka November 20, 2013 at 3:06 am

Hi Gretchen,
I am always amazed how QUICKLY you can put them all together!!!!
Thank you for clearing the myth of fondant. Now I have a question on gum paste! If I decorated a cake iced with your world’s best buttercream and decorated with some gum paste flowers or leaves, can they go in the fridge? How long is safe? If I paint the gum paste, would the color run?

Thank you again for taking your time for us, as always!


Gretchen Price November 20, 2013 at 4:22 am

I have not had good experience with gumpaste in the fridge, it will dissolve, yes the color runs and be a mess
Put the gum paste on the cake at the very last minute


Yuka November 20, 2013 at 9:37 am

Thank you, as always!!


Karen O. November 21, 2013 at 3:16 am

Hey Gretchen!

I am a little confused about the process of creating a topsy turvy cake like this one…
I want to know if you refrigerate the cake after each step
for example do you fill and crumb coat the cake, refrigerate it, then take it out all before cutting the angle and then re-crumb coat it and put it back into the fridge.. or do you just fill the cake, cut the angle, crumb coat it and then into the fridge..

Also, I need to store the cake that I’m making in the fridge for a few days… is this a good idea? how long can a fondant covered cake stay in the fridge?


Gretchen Price November 21, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Not too much got cut out of this video in the way of editing. I did not cut out any info that was important.
I do refrigerate each tier in between making the next, I also do the same as I am carving one to the other.
SO yes, I basically put in the fridge whenever the conditions in my kitchen seem to tell me it is necessary, once the cake and the icing gets difficult to work with and too soft, yes to fridge.

(unless of course you are making homemade MARSHMALLOW FONDANT? because many have told me NOT to refridge this fondant, I do not make my own though


Dimy Ssg December 13, 2013 at 11:17 am

Is there a guide to the amount of fondant to use ( weight ) for individual cake sizes? So you’re not left short or have too much excess please.


Gretchen Price December 13, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I have not seen one, but I betcha Wilton will have some recommendations, but I think it depends first of all on what brand fondant you are using or if you are making your own. Some people roll thicker and some people roll thinner, I have just developed a sort of guestimated knowing over the years! If that is even possible! Sorry I am not of better help.


Dimy Ssg December 24, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Thanks Gretchen you were of help, found a couple of charts – a Wilton one and one in Australia already converted for me! :) thanks for leading me in the right direction.


maria January 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Hi Gretchen your videos are amazing and very helpful. I was wondering if you had a good crusting buttercream recipe that you like to share . Thank you


Gretchen Price January 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Thanks, but I do not use crusting buttercreams


Lisa January 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Hi there,

I am just starting out with my passion for decorating cakes. I am wondering have you ever used your pasta attachment on your Kitchenaid to cut fondant? I was thinking of making the “picket fence” design cake and I thought it might be easier to cut the fondant that way. I would also like to say that you have the best website and have only fueled my passion for learning this craft! You are amazing!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!



Gretchen Price January 26, 2014 at 2:36 am

HI Lisa Thanks!
I actually use the dough sheeter (that giant machine that is on the other side of my table you see me always working on)


Amber February 18, 2014 at 8:42 pm

How long do you leave covered cakes In the fridge? I have always been told not to so I just haven’t but I have also been only making cakes for a year now and I now know why I have been battling huge air bubble problems.


Sharon April 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm

following! I would love to read response on this one too. I know the ideal thing would be to put cake in the fridge but, I live in the Caribbean, with LOVELY :( hot and somewhat humid weather, and as the cake goes to room temp, I get HUGE bubbles, even though I leave the cake to “settle” for a couple of hours. before placing the fondant.


Janice Fay Mitchell March 21, 2014 at 2:35 am

Wow, I love this design. Your awesome Ms. Gretchen! :) I recently been taking classes. You have taught me so much more. Thank you!


Gretchen Price March 23, 2014 at 12:27 am



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