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To create this whimsical topsy-turvy cake, all you need are ordinary pans and bowls, a long knife, and a playful sense of baking adventure. Check it out -- it's easier than you think.
For cakes, use one 8×8×2-inch square baking pan, two 8×1-1/2-inch round baking pans, one 9×5×3-inch loaf pan, and two 3-cup oven-safe glass bowls. Play with the shape of the cake by using different pans and oven-safe dishes.
To give the cake stability, insert a drinking straw and trim it until flush with the cake. This will help keep the bottom layer from being smashed as the other layers are added.
The off-kilter layers are created by splitting the layers at a diagonal angle. Holding one hand on top of the cake, cut crosswise using a long knife, cutting at a downward angle.
Remove top layer from the round cake. Carefully flip and replace by positioning wide edge on higher side to form a slant. Trim as needed to make a straight slanted line then remove the top, fill with frosting, and replace top layer. This same technique is used for creating the slanted square layer (See recipe). Attach a piece of cardboard, cut to fit the shapes to the bottom of these layers with frosting. Then place on plates, and frost the tops and sides and chill until ready to assemble.
For the ball topper, spread a layer of the frosting on the flat side of one of the bowl-shaped cakes. Place the flat sides of the cakes together to form a ball. Cut a clean piece of cardboard piece into a circle slightly smaller than the round side of the cake (use a 3-ounce paper cup as a guide). This will provide support under the cake layers. Add a dab of frosting to the center of the cardboard piece. Place a rounded side of the ball on the cardboard piece.
To frost, place the cake on a small plate. Elevate the cake by placing the plate on an upside-down bowl (find one that has a rim on the bottom to keep the plate from sliding; or place a wet paper towel between the plate and bowl). Insert a straw in the center of the cake ball, but do not trim. Use this as a "handle" as you frost. Add frosting to cover in an even layer.
To smooth the frosting on the ball, work from bottom to top, making on smooth, continuous stroke. Continue around ball, wiping the spatula clean after every stroke, either on the side of the bowl or with a paper towel. Chill the cake until needed for assembly. Leave the straw in the cake to use as a "handle" when assembling.
Run a thin metal spatula under the round and loaf cakes to loosen them from the plates, but leave the cardboard intact. Use a wide metal spatula under the layer, and insert a straw in the center of the layer to use as a "handle". Lift and place cake layers on the layer underneath. The slanted sides of the round and loaf layers should be together, leaving a flat surface for the ball layer. The straw handles can be removed or cut flush with the layers for more stability. Once the cake is assembled, smooth the frosting over the straw in the ball layer.
Use 10- to 12-inch wooden skewers to press vertical indents in the slanted round cake layer. Place the skewer at 1/2- to 1-inch intervals and press in lightly. Vary the space between indents for added interest and to fit the whimsical theme.
Pipe alternating colors of frosting into the indents using pastry bags fitted with a small round tip. Pipe in one smooth movement, working from top to bottom and using your other hand as a guide.
Use a pastry bag fitted with small round tip for all the decorations. Pipe dots and larger concentric circles randomly over the sides and exposed top of square cake. If desired, add sugar pearls to the dots of frosting. For the flowers, add random dots of desired-color frosting on the slanted loaf cake layer for the flower centers. For the petals, using another color of frosting, start a dot of frosting near the flower center, but pull the tip away as you pipe. Add sugar pearls to flower centers, if desired. For the ball layer, pipe dots at random intervals all over ball, adding sugar pearls if desired.
Tint Candy Clay with food coloring as desired. Using a dumpling dowel (found at Asian markets) or rolling pin, roll a portion between sheets of waxed paper to 1/8-inch thickness. If waxed paper slides while rolling, add a dab of frosting under the bottom waxed paper layer. Peel the clay from the paper and turn over occasionally as you roll. If clay becomes soft, chill 5 to 10 minutes. Measure and cut an 11x1 1/4-inch strip of the clay. Set trimmings aside. Fold the short ends of the strip toward each other in the center and overlap slightly. Pinch the ends together in the center. Cut a 3x3/4-inch strip from the clay trimmings and lay over the center where the clay was pinched. Fold it underneath and press to seal, trimming as necessary. Reshape the loops of the bow.
Insert a wooden toothpick in the bottom of the bow, inserting until about halfway in the bowl. Insert the other half of the toothpick into the ball layer, placing slightly off-center.
To serve, working with one layer at a time, slip a wide spatula underneath the cardboard of the layer. Use another spatula to hold the side of the cake while lifting to a cutting board or serving platter. Cut into slices or squares using a serrated knife.
Watch this video to see the step-by-step instructions to make this creative cake