If you saw my last post, you got a peek of the castle cake I made for my daughter for her 5th birthday party. I’m going to try and describe my step-by-step on how I created this with things I learned while making this. I used buttercream instead of fondant because I’m not a huge fan of the taste of fondant.
Step 1: The Base
I used (2) layers of 8″ round vanilla cake for the bottom and (2) layers of 6″ round vanilla cake for the top. I made a double recipe of buttercream frosting, which was able to assemble the whole cake, all layers, and provide a crumb layer for the base. Recipe below:
1 Cup butter, softened
4 Cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla
4 T milk
Cream all ingredients together.
Make sure before assembly that all cake layers are cooled and the tops are cut so that they are all flat. Between the bottom 8″ round layers and the 6″ top layers, I put a 6″ round cardboard layer wrapped in foil and supported by barbeque skewers so that the weight would not crush the center of the cake.
Step 2: Turrets
I ended up using two types of ice cream cones. The pointy cones were the tops of the turrets and the tower portion were a combination of the flat sugar cones. With the pointy cones, I made a royal icing recipe, watered down, and spread it onto the cone. Then I covered it with rainbow sprinkles and set them on wax paper to set.
I didn’t need anything special for the individual towers. I simply attached a point cone to a flat cone using frosting first, let it set, then attached that with frosting to the base cone turned upside down. For the top of the cake, I use a barbeque skewer for the tallest turret that went through the cake and both cones (plus frosting) to provide more stability.
For the top turrets, I wanted to have a hierarchy of the towers so I ended up cutting of the base of two of the flat cones so that you would see the gradual rise of turrets. I think that the effect turned out quite nice.
Step 3: Assembly
I have never been able to get a really smooth buttercream iced cake. However, after a lot of research, I found that in order to accomplish this, you ice the whole cake, and then you use a cake scraper, heated with hot water and wiped clean, and run this around the perimeter of the cake. As you do this, the heat will soften the butter in the icing and give you a perfectly smooth base layer. It was quite amazing and I will definitely use this method again.
Step 4: Decoration
I basically made this up as I went along. I cut a graham cracker for the door and then I just iced away. I thought the top would look more like vines climbing up a tower. I think though that the main attraction was the turrets so I didn’t want to make it too busy. I ended up with seven turrets in total since there were seven girls at the party.
This was by far my most ambitious cake challenge yet, especially since I am by no means a professional cake decorator. I did have a lot of fun though, and I definitely learned a lot. What was the craziest cake you ever made?