Monday, December 27, 2010

Topsy-Turvy Stand Tutorial

I have a lot of people ask me how I make my topsy-turvy cakes without them falling over. Well, I have decided to do a brief tutorial to show everyone exactly how it is done. The first photo shows what I use in order to make the stand. I have a center support pole which I measure to the size of the tiers. If I have three cakes 4" tall with a 2" space between each tier, I don't want a pole taller then about 14", because I don't want the support pole to show through the top of the cake. I then have acrylic rounds cut to the size of my tiers with a hole in the middle to fit the support pole through. (You can also use wood and wrap it with food-safe material). The hole should not be so large that the PVC can also fit through it, only the middle support pole.

The second photo shows how the stand looks set up without the cakes on it. Please keep in mind that I always have the PVC touching the cake, and not just the support pole. I also wrap the support pole in electrical tape and Saran wrap, to ensure that the pole does not come in contact with the cake. You can see a slight tilt to the acrylic rounds. You can cut the angles for the PVC to be as extreme as you wish, just be aware that a slight angle will have a pretty large impact on the angle.

The third photo shows the first cake on the stand with the PVC pipe through the cake. It also shows the angle I wish to cut the pipe at to achieve the desired tilt I want for the next cake. 

The next photo shows the second tier dropped on the first tier. The weight of the tier rest on the PVC pipe and acrylic round, not on the tier below. You can see that some of the pipe shows, but you can easily cover that with fondant decorations.  In order to get the cake on the pole at the angle I want, I use the pre-cut pipe as my guide, and use a plastic dowel to start the hole. Then, I widen the hole to fit the PVC through the cake without damaging the cake tier.

The last photo shows all of the cakes stacked up on top of each other, repeating the process until I have a finished cake. I would then go ahead and cover the gaps with decorations so that they could not be seen.

I hope this was helpful, and it you have any questions, feel free to ask!


jjsc91 said...

Thanks for showing us the cake is awesome

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the is BEAUTIFUL!! I do have several questions if you do not mind.

1) What is the support pole made of & where can
I find it?
2) How many acrylic rounds and pvc (cut) pipes
were used? (the pic only shows 2 of each and
it looks like more were on the cake because
the different tiers and height of the cakes.
3) What size were the said that
they were the size of your cakes (6in,8in?)
4) Is the wieght of the cake support by the pvc
pipe and rounds because the pipe width is
larger than the holes cut in the round & cake
boards (I am really confused w/ the stacking)
I hope that wasn't a lot of the questions :-)

sweeteatscakes said...

The support pole is made of steel and has a thread on one end. You can find it in the plumbing section of Home Depot. The threaded end screws into the flange for support. For each cake I used the same number of PVC pipes as I have tiers. For example 3 tiers = 3 PVC pipes. For the acylic rounds I use one less for number of tiers because the bottom cake does not need an acrylic round because it rest on the board. For example 3 tiers = 2 acrylic rounds. For this cake I used 4" acrylic rounds under each cake but if I had a 3 tier cake with a 6" and 8" tier on top then I would use a 6" or 8' round. The wieght of the cake rest on on the PVC pipe and the acrylic round above it. I hope this helps. :)

Jenna said...

Hi, Thanks for posting this ... it’s a great help! This is my first time using PVC and the tutorial saved me from disaster. I went to home depot and bought starting buying some of the material.

I have a couple of questions if you don't mind:
1. What is the width of the support pool?
2. What is the width of the PVC pipe?
3. What is the depth of the rounds?
4. Where did you find the acrylic rounds (I only found wood at home depot which I need to cut myself)?
5. How does the PVC pipe not move aroun since it’s not attached to anything?

Thanks again for you help. This is great :)

sweeteatscakes said...

I am glad that this helped you out! To answer your questions the support pole is 3/4 of an inch thick,and the PVC is an inch and a half thick. I am assuming that by depth of the rounds you mean the depth of the tiers which can be whatever you want the cake tiers to be. I usually make my tiers 4 inches thick. I believe my husband bought the acrylic at Home Depot but then he cuts it to size at work. The PVC doesn't move because when you cut it you get two pieces of PVC then one piece goes down through the first tier and then you slide your next tier on and line up the cut PVC with the joint. Does that make sense? If not email me and I can send you a picture of what I am talking about. Hope this helps feel free to ask anything else.

Pria said...

WOW , Thanks for this... your sharing is invaluable !

I want to find out, I know the PVC pipes are cut to the angle that we would want the cake to sit. How does the PVC round stay in place ? Is it glued onto the tilted slit pvc pipe ? what prevents this from rotating during transport ?

sweeteatscakes said...

Hi Pria

Thanks for your nice comments! The PVC pipe is not glued on to anything. The weight of the cake itself keeps it from moving or rotating. You also have the option of transporting the cakes unstacked and stacking them when you get there.

Jnet said...

Great tutorial! Thanks so much for posting.
I have a couple of questions:
1) How do you cut the PVC pipe?
2) When you are cutting the angle on the PVC pipe, do you just eye it? Or is there a specific angle that you recommend using for someone doing this for the first time? What angle did you use for the cake in the tutorial?

Thanks again!

sweeteatscakes said...

Thanks Jnet! I cut the PVC with a reciprocating saw. I do not measure an angle. I just eyeball what angle I think I want and then cut that angle. If that angle ends up being to extreme then I just shave a little bit off until I have thr right angle. I will be doing another tutorial for this method of stacking very soon. I hope to get more pictures of the process to better show how it is done.

Donna said...

Thank you for sharing! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial, my husband made this for me this weekend and it turned out wonderful!! Now i cant wait to make a cake so I can use it. I have a question
Can you make a topsy turvy cake and use this construction for it, or would it be to much tilt? and what do you use to cover the pvc between the tiers? Again thank you so much and you are so wonderful to share the tutorial with everyone.

sweeteatscakes said...

Thanks for your commment. When you say topsy turvy I am assuming you are talking about the straight stacking method in which case I use a different method to stack. I use fondant to cover the PVC between the tiers. I just put some crisco or piping gel on the PVC and attach the fondant to it directly. HTH If you have any other questions let me know.




sweeteatscakes said...

Hi Tiffany Cakes. I can try to help you as much as possible. I would need to know how large the gap is between the second pole and base. If you have a picture of the gap that would be even better so I can see what you are working with. Sorry I couldnt be of more help but without more info I don't ha each advice. Thanks SEC

Anonymous said...

I am making a basketball 3D cake and I will be doing the top semisphere in cake and the bottom one in rice krispies. In between the two layers, I will either put a piece of wood or chocolate ganache to hold it together. Because of the weight, I think I'll have to use a PVC support pipe in the middle. I am not sure at this point, how to attach the pipe to the surface and the wooden plate (the one that will go between the two semispheres) to the pipe. Also does anyone have suggestions as to what method I should use to make this ball shaped cake?

sweeteatscakes said...

Hi Anonymous,
I would suggest using a flange between the pipe and the wooden plate. Then you can attach the wooden plate to the flange with screws. The easiest way to make a ball is to bake in a pyrex bowl and then you dont have to carve anything or depending on how large you need the ball Wilton has ball shaped pans as well. Hope this answers you questions. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I bought the Wilton pans and I decided not to make it complicated and stick the two halves together with ganache instad of wood.

Melinda said...

Great turtorial!! Thank you so much! Only question I have is how you put the holes in you cake board that your cakes are on?

sweeteatscakes said...

Hi Melinda,
The holes in the middle of the cake boards are put there with a hole saw.

Janvielle Sutton said...

You have answered so many of my questions. I only wish I could find a class down here in Virginia to teach me this skill l love. You should consider u-tube & making your own tutorials to sell. Id buy one! Bless you with continued sweet success.

Swetha Sharma said...

Hi I can't thank you enough for doing this great tutorial! Just one question. Hope you don't mind.
How did you attached the acrylic rounds to the pole?

Thank you so much in advance.

Lauren Sgalambro said...

Hi! I love this tutorial. My question is... are the cakes all cake or are the bottom halves rice krispy? I want to do something like this with planets for my daughters birthday, but i'm not sure how. Thanks!