Sunday, May 24, 2009

Defying Gravity

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hi, all. John here with your weekly dose of Sunday Sweets. This week, we'll be looking at the design staple of bakeries everywhere: the topsy-turvy.

Observe:
This one's from Design Me a Cake, and is one of Jen's all-time favorites.

I remember going to the ICES convention at Disney and drooling over the topsy-turvy pans. Sadly, they were like a thousand bucks* so we ended us getting the super-ultra-mini-version for like half a thousand bucks.** It's kind of hard to ice a top tier that's only two inches across, though, so we haven't had much success with it.

Check out this funky example:

(By Sharon of Sharon's Cake Art)

Topsy Turvies are most impressive when it looks like the cake is juuuust about to fall:


And then there are the ones that really do seem to break the laws of physics:

This "Moulin Rouge meets Tim Burton" beauty is by Gabrielle of Cake Coquette, and is "nearly" fondant-free, too. (According to Rachel R., only the swags and swirls were made from fondant - which means that is some shiiiiny buttercream.)

I wanted to show you the nifty cake Bronwen Weber did on that Food Network Challenge last month, but this was the best photo I could find:

That sidepiece was the only thing supporting the cakes. Crazy.

Just goes to show: If the folks at your party have the uncontrollable urge to run forward to try to save the cake, then you have done your job well.

And finally, for you Dr. Seuss fans...

So. Cool.

Jen thinks this was the winner - or at least one of the winners - of a Dr. Seuss themed contest over on Cake Central. It was made by The People's Cake.

Thanks to, ah, Jen for finding most of these beauties. You're a real trooper.

* I'm probably exaggerating here.
** and here.
JulieAnn said...

Nice! Those are awesome although I think the red and black one looks like a wreck kinda- like it's not supposed to be tipping over.

Glory von Hathor said...

It had never occurred to me that they baked the cake that shape - I just thought it was a big sponge trimmed to shape.

Learning? On a Sunday? Maybe just this once.

Allie said...

I love Bronwen Weber and I loved that cake. That Food Network Challenge thing they had going on for like a week was pretty cool to watch.

Lilly said...

The third one down....is that a Candy Land cake?? First thing I thought of. That would be awesome.

Bronwen's cake is truly amazing, I haven't seen that FTV challenge yet but they rerun them so many times I'm sure I will.

Beth said...

Beyond fabulous. A nice reminder to me about what I'm not capable of doing.

Bilby P. Dalgyte said...

Oh that dr Seuss cake is so awesome :D all of them r awesome but woo! Dr Seuss :D

Nandi said...

All I can say is WOW!!!

Haiku Joy said...

Pretty, wacky cakes!
But slicing them evenly?
How do they manage?

Dorci said...

Those are spectacular. Made me smile just looking at them. I think some of those cake stacker/decorators could cross over into engineering with no problem.

God bless!

Tammy Jo said...

I was at the taping of that Challenge Bronwen did, but we were all told we couldn't take pictures. Great catch!!

Rebecca Welch said...

I love topsy turvy cakes...especially that Dr Suess one!
Fabulous.

Fabelicious said...

Luv topsy-turvy cakes! The mystery cake (2nd photo) is from www.weddingcakeart.com.

aimlessambition said...

I wish I was getting married and could have a topsy-turvy cake! Ah well.

...On an unrelated note, I liked the Sweet Tweets. It's fun to have lots of things to read.

Anonymous said...

they have topsy turvy pans?

Heh, I do too, it's called a severely unleveled kitchen! Hurr!

Really, everything I bake comes out at funny angles. Renting sucks.

Seriously though, I've never heard of the pans. It would seem that most people trim the tiers after baking, then carve a hole in the top so the tier resting above sits level but LOOKS like it's not.

Varika said...

I didn't know they had pans for this. I made one by trimming and shaping and wish I'd remembered to get pix of it--I remember that even though I had made it, *I* kept being convinced it was going to fall over! But it was all an illusion...which I wouldn't be surprised to find out the Moulin Rouge one is made that way, too.

janet2buns said...

Cake #1: Gor. Geous.

Raychel said...

Wow the first one is the prettiest cake I've ever seen!!!

My all time favorite toO!

I hope one day I can decorate cakes like that! Hats off!!!!

Raychel from MyCreativeWay.blogspot.com

Joanne said...

This is not helping my cake addiction at all -- LOL.
Thanks for posting -- I am also a fan of Bronwen and all cake challenges. That was a good challenge -- really good!!!

Sam said...

haha, was I the only one expecting to see "Wicked" cakes? ;)
they're awesome though... i want a pan like that!

Heather said...

Great pictures!! To those who asked, no, there are not pans for this. We decorators trim the cakes to that shape and size to make these cakes.

dkchisho said...

The third cake (Dr. Seuss) is from Too Nice To Slice, a baker in Kitchener, Ontario. I recognized the picture because Chrissy (the owner) made my friend's wedding cake in the shape of the building where they met, and this Dr. Seuss cake is on her main page. (toonicetoslice.ca)

Jennifer Luxmoore said...

I'm with Heather, I've never seen tilty pans, we cut the cake on an angle and then secure it with a center pole going thru all the cakes. I don't think we have many posted, but we've done a lot (www.eatwicked.com).

Jennifer

Bunny said...

the only thing i wanted for my wedding was a specific Topsy Turvy cake. I have never found a photo like it . We ended up making the top 3 layers of foam. it was perfect!! thank you for these!

Jay Jay Stroup said...

These cakes are all super gorgeous! I was curious, so I typed in "topsy turvy cake pans" into Google and I ended up finding this gem: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=71115&pid=969488&st=0

It's a step by step illustrated guide to building a topsy turvy cake. Sweet!

Etiquette Bitch said...

i love these. my sister had multiple cakes like this at her wedding. her baker called them "mad hatter cakes." if i can find the jpegs (from my old, crashed pc) I'll send 'em along!

Anonymous said...

For Heather, who sniffed that "we decorators trim the cakes..", try these:

http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?sku=2105-4946

Might help making those cakes a little easier, and less waste. :)

Princess MAR said...

I love this style. fun! Whimsical! The first pink and zebra one rocks. But i also really love the red one that has alomst no fondant. That is amazing and yummy!!

Amy said...

Sweet! I love the red and black one. Nice.
~Amy B

The Adventure of Linds and Lyds! said...

I am so glad to see Bronwen's cake on here. I love her on Food Network and she makes some great cakes!

Anonymous said...

Those topsy turvy cakes are really fun. When I read the title, though, I was so excited because I thought these were going to be Wicked-themed cakes! Can there be an upcoming Wicked wrecks or Wicked sweets post?

Amy said...

Awesome cakes!

Becky said...

Anonymous-those are flat cakes that are decorated to look topsy-turvy.
And while Browyn's cake was spectacular, each of the cakes sat on a wooden base which was screwed onto the curvy board. She had some trouble getting the boards foe one of them to attach properly.
For the baker wanting to try one of these- First bake plenty of layers, and a bottle of rum. Each tier starts with three layers, iced to stick together. Then cut the tops and bottoms to unequal angles and try stacking them. Then get a piece of metal pipe (if the cake curves) or a dowel about 1/2" in diameter (If the cake is straight up and down) and run it through your tiers. This helps them stay in place better than the friction coefficient of fondant-which is pretty high.
Then decorate as desired.
I think the technical challenge of these cakes is amazing, but some how don't really like them. Just a contrarian I guess

john(the hubby of Jen) said...

To Heather and Jennifer,

I never knew that they made pans either until I went to the ICES convention. They had all sizes, square and round. They actually put the angled part at the bottom with a support bracket so that the cake can be sliced evenly at the top and flipped.

To those referring to the Wicked line, I wanted to put a bunch in here but it's pretty difficult. And I can sing every song from memory. Ah well.

john

Anonymous said...

Thank god for Sunday Sweets! A week of those wrecks were turning me into a cake hater. Who can view all those wrecks and still want a slice of cake? Really?

WendyB said...

I have been meaning forever to dig up the photos of my gravity-defying wedding cake and the wreck that resulted when someone tried to copy it. This is from way back in 2001. I know I have the pix somewhere!

Meagan said...

Those are so gorgeous!
If I wasn't worried about my butt getting fat I'd totally eat them all.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the Wilton 3 layer topsy turvy pan, there's also this great 5 layer set over at suppliesforcakes: http://www.suppliesforcakes.com/product.asp?specific=204

I want cake now...

WendyB said...

P.S. Here's my cake, still need to find the wreck picture.
http://wbjewelry.blogspot.com/2007/08/happy-birthday-husband.html

wildmaven said...

Bronwen Weber is a cake goddess!

Though I am getting tired of topsy turvy cakes. I think they've had their run.

newbie said...

I love wonky cakes - so much so that I'm having one for my wedding cake :) Thanks for posting these - should give my baker some inspiration (and if not, I'll be sending pictures of the resulting wreckage!)

Anonymous said...

Topsy-turvy is a design staple? Funny, I've only ever seen them here.

frigglesnitz said...

Quoting AnonymousII
"For Heather, who sniffed that "we decorators trim the cakes..", try these:

http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?sku=2105-4946"

Those aren't to make a vertical topsy turvy, but a horizontal one. Look at the ad again. They're a single layer pan.

WV vitioust- cleaning out one's medicine cabinet out old vitamins.

MrsPost said...

Not to be silly but why can't these be baked with wedges under one side of the cake pan to get the right angle?

Is there something truly special about the pans?

They're great visual statements and and have a sense of whimsy. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the topsy from DesignMeACake is my all-time favorite, too. She is fantastic!

Valerie said...

I made a cake like those once, not intentionally... it was a stacked 3-tier wedding cake and had a rough ride to the reception. The tiers had shifted slightly so the hotel propped up one side. About half way through the reception folks were taking bets on how long until it toppled. Once we pulled the shim out from under it, it leveled itself and all was well. Good thing... I don't think my sister would have forgiven me! (I was 18 when I made it.)

Natalie said...

These cakes were really cool!

You've inspired us this morning. My 2 year old and I are ditching cookies and we're making a cake. It will probably be an unintentional topsy-turvy, and so will likely end up as a wreck on tomorrow's post!

Donna said...

I love watching Bronwen on the Cake challenges, she's really good! I was rooting for her on Last Cake Standing...but 2nd is still pretty good too. :)

Ya should find more Bronwen cakes for Sunday Sweets...or even cakes from any baker who's been on a Food Network cake challenge, I get envious because I can't even do a frosting rose LOL

CALpumper said...

Topsy Turvy Awesomeness!!

Love the colors in the first.
Love the Dr. Seuss one.

Amazing talent out there....

AutumnJade said...

That 2nd one looks like it was designed by Betsy Johnson. Very cool cakes guys!

Shawty said...

Oooh... these are beautiful. I've always wanted a topsy-turvy Alice-in-Wonderland style cake. Maybe I am a complete idiot when it comes to baking (actually EATING I do all right in.) but I didn't know you could buy pans for them!! One more item for the wishlist.

Ashlee said...

I first saw one of these a couple of years ago and have since maintained my wedding cake will be in this style. They look amazing!

John and Sarah Sperry said...

I hope you're not fed up with your readers, Jen. As nice as John seems, we love to hear from you, even if it's horribly exhausting to be so witty day after day! All that aside, those cakes are so beautiful and look super-yummy! I love Sunday Sweets

Forklifts Brisbane said...

looks like the cake in "Alice in Wonderland"

Mamz said...

Ahem --- that's "trouper" and I'm sure JEN would never make that slip!

:=)

sues2u2 said...

I watched that cake challenge one. Man, that was a scary challenge!

Anonymous said...

Actually Bronwen came in third, Courtney was second.
I made my first fondant covered cake on Friday. Six tiers! It was almost cakewreck worthy!
Linda

archersangel said...

all of those caske look like something form a seuss book

Mandy said...

I love, love, LURVE the Dr. Seuss cake!!!

Beautiful Sunday sweets!

wv: oveneuc ~ when the oven tries to imitate the microwave

Aleesuhn_Muhree said...

God, I love everything about these cakes! Especially the Tim Burton one--It looks so cool! :-D

lunamorgan said...

I would really worry that the topsy turvy PANS would cook unevenly, which I think is why pros usually use stacked layer cakes.

ccna said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!
ccent

jackie31337 said...

All of these Sunday sweets are going to be very dangerous to my budget when it comes time to order a wedding cake. I've been making a note of who the bakers are so I can be assured of actually getting a beautiful cake, and not the drunken plaid cake, for example.

twinklescrapbooks said...

Love the Moulin Rouge-type cake!
tina

Ophelia said...

::squee:: Too Nice To Slice is my friend's shop! She does fabulous cakes (and hand-painted cookies!). I had her make a cake for my one-year anniversary at the office where we worked (at the time) - she came up with a giant cupcake, with a huge (to scale), beautiful fondant cherry on top.

Stacie said...

Topsy turvey cakes are always my favorites...especially that first one. They're so whimsical!

Brooke said...

Too Nice To Slice also did my wedding cake... it was very similar to the one posted here, but all music notes and keyboards - A dancer's dream. And the best part, her fondant tastes like cotton candy. Truely yummy!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Suess was the winner of the Topsy Turvey cake contest on Cake Central.

José said...

Hi,

These really justify the saying :
cooking is an art.

Best regards,

José

Lia "online learning" Scott said...

lovely unique cakes

Kim H. said...

Is it just me or is Bronwen looking more and more tired every time she does as challenge? The poor thing, every time I see her - those bags under her eyes look bigger. I absolutely love her cakes though!

TheWicked Gingersnap said...

Stunning. Absolutely marvelous. Just a few months ago I had no idea that any of these rarefied techniques existed. Along with the circus side-show comprised by the daily wrecks, the Sunday Sweets (to extend the metaphor, perhaps the pretty, lithe trapeze artist who looks down her nose at the range of malformed oddities with whom she is forced to associate...is that going too far?) has given me a tremendous education. I regularly find myself say, "you can do that with cake?!". There truly are more things in heaven and in earth...and some of them taste yummy.

I also want the red and black cake for my very own...is cakenapping considered a criminal offense?

wv: acinesse...these gravity defying cakes look as though acinesse would blow them over.

Cakedreamer said...

These are fabulous! One day I WILL try a cake that is topsy turvy. I WILL. I hope. Maybe. Thanks for sharing these.

Shelley said...

I love Bronwen!!!!

Tara said...

Topsy Turvy cakes are so much fun, but don't waste money on the pans. I don't know ANY professionals (myself included) that use them. Everyone I have worked with has always carved their cakes... TT pans are just another case of someone trying to cash in.

Norkio said...

Every time I see these GD crooked cakes I think of "it's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake" and that annoying pink-haired girl. Thanks.

The Dunaway's said...

The zebra, green and hot pink cake is the cake my cousin is using as inspration for her wedding cake. She is getting married in July and where it is black and white zebra, she is doing brown and white..the other colors are the same.

DangGina said...

I. LOVE. THEM. ALL!!! Seriously, it amazes me AND they look awesome!

Jagyularr said...

Dang, and I thought from the title that this was going to be a post of Wicked cakes. :P

Clayvessel said...

Just to give credit where it is due- The person who got that cake ball rolling, the "topsy turvy" or "Mad Hatter" cakes is Polly Schoonmaker or Polly's Cakes and she lives in my town. Her "whimsy" cakes were the beginning of this new trend in cake decorating and unfortunately she seems to have gotten lost in obscurity. I've told her not to feel bad, not too many artists in any medium can know they have revolutionized an industry in their own lifetime. She's retired now after a very successful cake career.

Cycling Knitter said...

awesome cakes!!

The Unexpected Housewife said...

I had a cake like this at my wedding and my Husbands aunt went into the kitchen to bitch out the cake lady for making a cake that was falling over...hahahah

Anonymous said...

These are amazing! They look like art sculptures, not something edible. What creativity and talent there is out there in the bakery world. have to admit I've seen nothing like it til stumbling on this site.

Aviatrix said...

As I was making fondant icing for my first fondant cake, I wanted to show my mother what miracles could be wrought with fondant, so I brought up a Sunday Sweets page that happened to include one of these. She looked, then wrinkled her nose and scoffed, "that one isn't even straight."

Anonymous said...

This one's kind of a watered-down version of the pink zebra cake:

http://family.webshots.com/photo/1372887838064447331nkfvuK

Still pretty awesome.

Hibryd said...

If anyone wants to see more photos of the black and red cake (not to mention the wedding that went with it) go here:

http://offbeatbride.com/2009/05/tim-burton-wedding

secret agent bitchypants said...

am I the only one who finds this style overdone and tedious? they're pretty, but come on... can we move on to cubist or abstract cakes or something now? these are just so twee.

Christine said...

I may be the only one, but I absolutely abhor topsy turvy cakes. Just hate them.

Leigh Ann said...

That third one by Too Nice to Slice or whatever is Whoville from Horton Hears a Who. That's a really cute cake!

Gabrielle said...

I love Bronwen Weber!! I can't remember if she won that challenge or not, But it was amazing! =D

Nathan said...

Cakerific's transformer cake is the best in my opinion. We used this as inspirations for a cake for our son's birthday but couldn't do it justice! How they got the gun part to stay together vertically I'll never know.

We're making a forklift shaped cake for our work staff party coming up and would love to see any ideas people have?

RSA said...

It had never occurred to me that they baked the cake that shape - I just thought it was a big sponge trimmed to shape.

Learning? On a Sunday? Maybe just this once.

Forklift Courses Sydney said...

I absolutely LOVE the Topsy Turvies by Sharon. Tried to make a simular design the other day but it looked nowhere near as good as hers.