I learned a great deal from making this cake. I had some triumphs and some disasters. After I finished this cake, I was disappointed with it. However, other people who saw it thought it was great. I think because I worked so long and hard on it and wasn’t able to present the initial idea in my head I became disgusted in the whole thing. Looking back on it now, I can see that it wasn’t as bad as I initially thought, considering my prior experience at this point. My frog and hat cakes weren’t as much as a challenge as the castle cake was. I even received an honorable acknowledgment for this cake on an popular artist community website.
The bottom tier of the cake was chocolate and had chocolate buttercream filling. The castle part of the cake was yellow with strawberry filling.
I wanted to incorporate the cake board into the scene I was creating by coloring it blue with food dye and turning it into a moat. The bottom tier of the cake was going to be land, and the second/third tier were going to consist of the castle.
The first big challenge was in trying to get the fondant to drape evenly around the castle part of the cake. It was difficult to work around the corners without having creases form in the fondant. I tried to push any creases towards the bottom of the tier to cover it with a boarder later.
The biggest headache of all was the four towers around the castle. In retrospect I should have just wrapped fondant around tubes of cardboard, but at the time I was determined to use cake. This was my biggest problem. Because I used cake, the fondant became unstable from the moisture in the cake and started to sag. I tried using dry spaghetti to support the towers, but the spaghetti became limp when it absorbed moisture from the cake as well. I did eventually use toothpicks. The overall appearance of the towers depressed me though, they looked dumpy and frumpy. I had also wanted to add flags into the top of the towers, but I ran out of time in the end.
I originally wanted to make all of the details on the castle part of the cake out of fondant. However, because I baked, filled, frosted, and covered the cakes with fondant all in one day, I ran out of time. I ended up doing the details with buttercream (except for the windows and doorway which I made out of black fondant). I think the detail turned out pretty well, since I think the buttercream grass and flowers adds character to the scene.
I was thinking ahead somewhat when I was making the cake and made the princess and price figures out of gum paste the day before. I was very happy how the figures turned out. I especially like how the hair looks on both the knight and princess.
After I had completed the cake, I set it aside for the next day for the birthday party. When I woke up the next morning I discovered one of the back towers had collapsed. The top portion had fallen right off. So, I glued it together with frosting and smoothed out the seams of the fondant as well as I could. I then decorated over the seam with more vines and flowers. In the end, it was disguised very well!
My niece loved her cake when she saw it, and that is what made all the hard work worthwhile. She even asked me if she could keep the princess! I told her that it wouldn’t keep very well and it was just best to eat it, but I did get her picture with her princess so she has a memory of it.