IN SEASON Anti-gravity cakes

A cake that defi es gravity? Read our expert tips and tricks to making your showstopper a superb success...


hat Heather Upham from Fancy That Cake Company doesn't know about making 3D cakes, isn't worth

knowing. From traditional wedding cakes to afternoon tea and 3D celebratory bakes, Heather lets us in on the industry secrets to creating your gravity defying bakes at home.


For anti-gravity or 3D cakes use a madeira recipe for the sponges. The addition of the extra fl our makes a more robust heavier sponge, less prone to fall apart while under construction. Victoria sponges are fabulous for afternoon tea, fi lled to the brim with cream and jam, but their lightness makes them too delicate to cover with fondant, chocolate or buttercream.

Always bake the cakes in shallow sandwich pans, never deep pans. They cook faster in the oven, making them less dry, and cool faster so the moisture remains in the cake and also costs less as they spend less time in the oven.

Top Tip

Bake cakes in layers using shallow sandwich tins


Everyone has a favourite fi lling, whether it’s jam, cream, chocolate spread or ganache. I use fl avoured buttercream or ganache, or both! The addition of a fi lling adds lots of fl avour to any cake, it can alter a plain vanilla sponge into something spectacular. Add concentrated food fl avourings to buttercream; for example, raspberry essence added to raspberry jam and buttercream will make your fi lling out of this world.


For anti-gravity cakes, however, if you wanted to use jam always mix it into your buttercream, to prevent the jam from making the layers ‘slide’. I always fi ll three layers of cake with my buttercream or ganache then cover the cake with a crumb coat of buttercream. The cake is then best popped into a fridge for 30 minutes to harden.


For chocolate gravity cakes, use ganache for the outside coating. This can then be covered with chocolate panels, chocolate fi ngers or chocolate cigarellos. The gravity ‘pole’ can also be covered in ganache which helps the ‘falling’ contents stick to the pole. Add the falling pieces from the bottom and continue up the pole until covered. For non- chocolate gravity cakes, use buttercream in the same way. For added security, place a large straw into the cake before adding the ‘pole’ - this supports the pole and any weight on the top.


Madeira is the best sponge for building your anti-gravity cake. Makes 1 loaf

175g unsalted butter, diced 175g golden caster sugar Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 3 medium eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 250g plain fl our 2 heaped tsp baking powder 50ml whole milk

1 Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3 oven and butter a 22m/1.3 litre non-stick loaf tin. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together in a food processor, then add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla - Don’t worry if the mixture appears curdled at this point.

Top Tip

Add a concentrated essence to your

buttercream and jam for added fl avour

Top Tip Use a large straw for added security

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