There were two different little staircases on the cake. One seen here (above) facing the front, and a little staircase just like it in the back of the cake. The staircases were my favorite part of the cake!!! – and Jamie’s too! I actually had planned to make them out of rice crispy treats, but after spending an hour on them, I decided that wasn’t going to work…it was a bit too lumpy and not quite “perfect” enough…despite crumb coating it in buttercream and everything. So, my husband ate those and I sat there thinking how else I could make them! – then it hit me (thank you Jesus!) – I had some white modeling chocolate that would work beautifully!! So, I rolled it out about an inch thick, laid my stair template on it and cut them out with a sharp exacto knife…and voila’, perfect little stairs! Note to self for the future!
Also, I had another issue with fading gel colors! URGH! I tinted the buttercream for the flowers on the ivy a pretty fuchsia color and piped the flowers on there. Unfortunately I didn’t get pics of the cake in Portland because I was SO late and just wanted to get there. On the way down, sitting in the sun, all the flowers faded to a gray! Such a bummer!! It’s just like Maddie’s Cake when the fondant faded. Seriously…someone needs to invent something to fix that…so frustrating!!!
I used a good amount of styrofoam on this cake because they were expecting only about 25 people (mostly kids) for the party…and I wanted a grand cake! The base of the cake was a 10″ square cake with alternating layers of vanilla and chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream. The second layer was a 7″ styrofoam tier. The third tier was a 4″ round cake with alternating layers of vanilla and chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream. The fourth/top tier was a 2-1/2″x6″h styrofoam tube. All the tall castle keeps were styrofoam foam (I ordered everything from Dallas Foam). The four at the base of the cake were 2″round x 6″high and the remaining three were 1-3/4″ x 6″ high (perfect for fitting the sugar cones). I have ordered lots of styrofoam from Dallas Foam and highly recommend them. They can do anything! – custom sizes you name it…it’s SUCH a time saver! I think each castle keep was $1.50 or something…which was a huge time/cost savings! In order to apply the fondant to styrofoam, I rubbed Crisco all over the surface of the styrofoam, cut a rectangle of fondant that would wrap around it, then laid the styrofoam “tube” on the edge and rolled it up. It worked beautifully!
The turrets were another element of the castle I really loved! Although, again, it took some trial and error…and lots of time (each one took me about 30 min to make), they really made the cake! I tried several other designs before settling on this one. I wanted it to be roof-like, but not cottagy-like (if that’s a word)! So, I used sugar cones because I liked the thin cone look (and it made it easy). I wrapped them in strips of modeling chocolate and cut the design in each layer with an exacto knife. I took some pics of the process…scroll down for a little tutorial to make your own.
For the tops of the walls, I wanted the traditional castle tops with the cutouts, but I wanted it slightly more feminine and not so rectangular. So, I used the cutter on the far left seen here. It’s by FMM and called “Straight Frill Cutters, Set 3″. I love this set…I’ve used it on several other projects too including my scalloped cake.
Details details details – they make beautiful cakes stunning! – and I sooo wished I could have had the time to add more!! The rocks were black and gray fondant swirled together and torn off and just slightly rolled in my hands. The water was blue fondant I painted over with some shades of blue and brown gel colors mixed with vodka to get the water look. The cobblestone pathway at the front and side entrances were lots of random shaped white balls rolled and flattened together. No impression mats used here! – although I had borrowed some…they just didn’t fit the scale of the project. Thanks anyway Deborah!
Again, there were SO many more elements I wanted to add to this cake, but my sweet baby girl got a doozy of a fever and didn’t want me to put her down for two days…so, a lot had to be eliminated from the scope of the project. I don’t know what I would have done if Jamie was an actual paying client! – it confirmed that a cake business is NOT for me right now! I had planned to put the castle on a cliff, flower boxes under the windows, a draw bridge, some sign posts, etc etc. Lots of plans, not a lot of time! Fortunately my sweet cousin didn’t mind one bit and understands the unexpected nature of kids and their sicknesses!
It is amazing how we can have our days planned out, or our cake projects planned out (our entire lives planned out for that matter), but it is the Lord who directs our steps! I kept thinking of Proverbs 16:9 and how relevant it is to me every day! I am SUCH a planner!! – and it seems every time I make a cake, something happens unexpectedly that calls for a new course of action…especially being a mom…nothing is predictable! So, I offered up this cake and all the details and plans I had for it and knew that no matter what, it would be a blessing to my sweet cousin and I needed to be with my baby for those two days…just loving on her, holding her and singing to her…not wishing things were different, because I can’t control that…I can only control my attitude about the here and now. And, what’s funny is that after all was said and done, the cake didn’t need a big cliff, a draw bridge, some cool little sign posts and flower boxes. I got to spend the time I would have been making those things with my kids (or sleeping!)…and that’s the plans the Lord had for me this week! God is always gracious and there were MANY times I saw His loving hands upon my heart and upon this cake throughout the week! Thank you Jesus for your goodness…and for pulling me through!!
Let’s get to the “How to’s”!
How to make turrets for a castle cake! – The Jessicakes way!
Step 1 & 2: Flip the sugar cone onto some modeling chocolate and trace around it to create a base for the turret. Smooth the edges a bit so it’s nice and even.
You can use water or some gumtex glue to get everything to stick. To make the glue, take about a 1/4 tsp of gum-tex (or Tylose powder), mix it with 2 Tbsp of warm water and let it sit in the fridge overnight. It won’t dissolve right away…it’ll look clumpy, but don’t worry. In the morning it looks great! It works beautifully to give you extra hold when water isn’t quite strong enough.Step 3: Cut out 8-10 strips of modeling chocolate 6″wide by 1/2″ high. I used my pasta machine and put it on number 4.
Steps 7-8: Continue layering the strips, cutting them cleanly in the back. Make sure to add the slit detail to each layer before adding the next one.Step 9: To get the top finished, I cut out a small circle and quartered it. I then folded the cut edges together to form a little cone and placed it on top.
And you’re done! Does it look like a Christmas tree??! LOL!
Now, there is a “lesson learned” with these! I made these several days ahead of time and had them sitting on a cookie sheet with some plastic wrap draped over them…not sealing them tightly. When I went to attach them to the cake, two of them had started splitting in the back!! YIKES! See below: