Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Adventures in Topsy Turvy

So there’s always going to be a cake that you’ve always wanted to try but never tried because you were afraid.  This is that cake.


It use to take me forever to get the fondant on the cake and smooth, now I’m a machine but just altering the status quo makes me feel like the first time I decorated a cake.  But I do so like a challenge.  How else do you learn if you don’t challenge yourself?

My friend Jill’s uber cute daughter, Jillian,  was turning one and Jill asked if I would make her cakes.  One smash cake for a photo shoot and another for her party.  The smash cake was pretty straight forward.  Jill wanted it to look like a cloud and pink.  My first thought was Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB – recipe at end).  So I made a vanilla cake with the SMB and strawberries.  I added a few silver dragees and a gum paste flower.  Our fellow neighbour, Evan of Evan Pike Photography did the awesome photo shoot.  I can’t wait to see all the pictures.  I took these.


The cake for her party was to be baby girl pink with tiffany blue and Jill’s first thought was topsy turvy…eek!  I immediately went to my bloggy friend Melissa’s website Mycakeschool.com.  If you’ve never been there it’s the mecca for how-to decorate cakes.  Seriously awesome.  She’s also way cool, super nice and always very helpful.  Next I scoured the Google world and watched a couple more video’s on how to get this party started.  I was ready.  Then Jill said that I could just do a regular cake but if I wanted to I could give the topsy turvy a go.  I was going to wimp out but then I thought that if I didn’t give it a try, I probably never would.

I baked some cakes (vanilla), I made some icing (lemon buttercream) and was ready to go.  It didn’t go well.  The type A’er in me was screaming internally.  The shame, the horror and the almost tears took over.  IT IS SO NOT EASY.  I carved, it started to fall apart.  It wasn’t slanty enough.  I got it dirty iced and stuck it into the fridge and walked away.  DEEP BREATHS. 

When I woke up the next morning and went down to look at it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  PHEW.  I mean it’s not as slanted as it could be but I realized when I made the second cake that the layers needed to be thicker because this time I got the slant I wanted.  YAY!  Now I didn’t taper the bottom like you are suppose to but I had lost my confidence, so I left it straight.

A beaded border, a couple of circles, some stripes, a few flowers and voila!


I had a little batter left over when I made the 6” cake and so I made a small 4” tiffany blue box for the birthday girl.  Jill had made an original comment of have the box made but then changed her mind.  I thought for fun that I could do this!


Happy Birthday Jillian!

So now this attempt is over I would be willing to give the topsy turvy another go :)

Things I learned:

  • cake layers need to be thicker and chilled
  • I so need a sharper serrated knife
  • carve with confidence!
  • and remember it’s never as bad as you think it is :)

Thanks for looking!

Recipe: Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla.
  4. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day.  It makes about 5 cups.

I link with THESE great parties


  1. Though the making of this may have stressed you out in the beginning you really came through like a trooper. This cake (all of them) are beautiful. Love that you continue to push your limits with cake decorating and that you share everything with us.

  2. SO pretty!!! Those are gorgeous. You're so talented.

  3. The cakes came out beautifully! You did an amazing job.

  4. Looks awesome! The first and only topsy turvey I tried really was as bad as I thought it was - it fell over! But I learned something right? And it still tasted good. ;)

  5. They came out AMAZING! I would love to try making cakes some day, but I am super intimidated. When I'm frustrated with something it always helps to take a breather. 95% of the time I come back to my frustrating cookie and it looks way better than I thought, if not I eat that bad boy :D You did a beautiful job and I was drooling reading about these cakes and the flavors. yUM!

  6. Hooray! So happy for you that even with a few stressful moments, the cake came out beautifully! (We've all been there--things rarely go 100% according to plan!) Be proud! ;0)

  7. This is gorgeous!

    I would love for you to link this to my Flaunt It Friday link party! Also, follow my new blog Blissful Bucket List! :)


  8. I love your cakes - they are always so beautiful. This topsy turvy cake must really have been a challenge (thank you for being honest about the fact it was not easy!) but it has turned out gorgeous! I love the little blue Tiffany box cake too!

  9. Beautiful, thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop. Your recipe will be shout out at tomorrow's Hearth and Soul blog hop at Zesty South Indian Kitchen

  10. I think it's just gorgeous! Pinning and featuring this tomorrow! Thanks so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  11. Is there no powdered sugar in the icing recipe?

    1. Hey, in the buttercream there is but in the SMB there is not

  12. Darling!! Wonderful job..I cannot wait to try your icing recipe
    Thanks for sharing