Ahh, topsy turvy cakes. Everyone loves them but no one wants to pay for them ! I had two this weekend and when I told the clients that the cost was $6/person, they were outraged. But they ordered them anyway. One was for a christening and the other was a birthday.
Here’s how I do it. I think it helps with the whole effect if the bottom is narrow; when it is straight, it looks odd to my eyes. Work out the colors and designs before you start. I like to tell clients I need a minimum of three or a maximum of five colors to work with - I might go lighter or darker on some of them but
So I bake two 2” high layers, and split one in half (horizontally). The other one gets sliced by putting the knife at the top edge and then go to the opposite side at the bottom. You will flip this over so the tall sides are together and the narrow sides are together. Fill as usual, then wrap and chill. Then carve the bottom so it is narrower than the top (think of a V) but just by a little bit.
Then crumb coat and chill again.
Cover each tier with fondant. You can chill fondant covered cakes, but your mileage will vary as to whether it sweats a lot or a little. You can help minimize this by putting each tier in a plastic bag.
Using bubble tea straws or something else equally as strong (the plastic dowels from Wilton are good for this), put them inside the area where the next tier goes. Then do the same for the second tier, marking it and putting in the straws. Don’t put the tiers together yet, though.
Melt some coating chocolate (candy melts) and pour a little in the center of the straws and then place the next tier on top (be careful not to drip). The chocolate is extra insurance so the cake doesn’t move. Then put three bamboo skewers (cut to fit) to further anchor the middle tier to the bottom. This helps because the center of gravity is working against you with these types of cakes. Then put the third tier on the middle one in the same way (melted choc, then place tier, then three more skewers to secure the top to the middle.) Then drive a skewer or dowel through all three tiers.
Since you’ve chilled the fondant covered cakes, the condensation will help you attach the decorations to the cake. Or you can use a damp paintbrush to “glue” the decorations on - put the water on the back of the decoration and don’t use a lot, otherwise it will drip and mar the fondant.
Make some extra shapes and go for wired (bouncy) decorations - I like to use 18 gauge wire for this because it’s sturdy. Make sure you curve the end of the wire so the decoration doesn’t slide off the wire once you put it on.
These are a lot of fun to do; at least the planning is!