Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later... I had my first disaster cake!! It all just went so wrong!
My mum asked if I was drunk when I made this... It does look a little tipsy, doesn't it?
When I thought about doing a cake for Cinderella I knew it had to be the castle. The castle is probably one of Disney's most iconic images... and every princess wants her own castle cake... right? I knew it would be difficult, especially as firstly I didn't want to do just any old castle cake, it had to be fairly recognisable as Cinderella's Castle.
That is an awful lot of towers and turrets...
Secondly - I'd never made a castle cake before, so I wasn't sure what would work or what wouldn't!! I referred to a couple of cake decorating books for ideas of how to create this "masterpiece". Debbie Brown's 50 Easy Party Cakes (Castle Guards, pg 70 and Dream Castle, pg 85) and The Australian Women's Weekly Kids' Birthday Cakes (Palace of Dreams, pg 80). What I noticed was that generally people didn't bake castle cakes, but rather they assembled them. So, I felt a bit like I was cheating when I went out and bought some swiss rolls... The part of the cake that was baked by me used my standard vanilla sponge recipe.
What went wrong? Well, I think there are two reasons for the wonkiness of my towers. The first (and what I think is the main cause) was that I made a bit of a schoolboy error when measuring the cakes. I measured, cut and assembled the cake before I iced it, to make sure the shapes and sizes were right. And before any of the icing went on, things were looking promising:
Look at those towers all standing nice and mostly straight
However, when I made the measurements I didn't account for the additional length added by the icing. Now this may only be a few millimetres per swiss roll, but when you add them together the cakes that were resting on top of the base didn't actually fit on the base. Humph. So they leaned into the towers next to them, causing those towers to also lean. To be honest, I'm lucky it didn't all collapse! Another thing that could have contributed was the tops of the towers being too heavy as I covered them in fondant icing - in hindsight it would have been better to use a lighter icing, like butter cream or royal icing, or maybe to dip them in chocolate.
You can probably gather that I wasn't best pleased with how this cake turned out, but you live and learn! Next time I make a castle cake I won't be making the same mistakes again. And regardless of how it looked, it was a pretty tasty cake, and there was so much of it that all of my friends got to take a massive chunk home with them too!
For those of you who would like to have a go at making your own version of the disaster castle, I've put the ingredients and method below. ^_^
200g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2-3tbsp strawberry, raspberry or mixed fruit jam
2 jumbo swiss rolls
3 standard swiss rolls
2 mini swiss rolls
10 ice cream cornets
1.5kg white ready to roll fondant icing (plus a further 180g for making the Cinderella model - see yesterday's post!)
Blue food colouring
Purple food colouring
Edible glitter (I used White Hologram)
75g unsalted butter
125g icing sugar
- This cake takes quite a bit of time to put together, so I found it easier to colour my icing and make the Cinderella model the night before baking/assembling the cake. Full details of how to make Cinders are found here. I coloured 150g of white icing lilac, and 250g of white icing blue, for the tops of the towers.
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and grease and line a square baking pan.
- Cream the margarine and caster sugar together in a bowl. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Sift in roughly half of the flour and fold into the margarine mixture. Add roughly half of the egg to the bowl and beat well. Keep alternating flour and egg until the mixture is completely combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for approx 25 mins, or until golden brown and firm to touch. Remove the cake from the oven and set to one side to cool.
- Whilst the cake is cooling, make butter cream by combining the unsalted butter and icing sugar in a large bowl until smooth.
- Once the cake is cool, cut it into quarters. Use the strawberry jam to sandwich the four squares of cake on top of each other to make the base of the castle.
- Stand the swiss rolls next to/on the base and cut to the appropriate sizes. (See picture above for reference.) You can always stick pieces of swiss roll together with a bit of jam if you need to make a bigger tower. I used 2/3's of a jumbo swiss rolls for two of the side towers, and two regular swiss roll for the smaller side towers that stand in front of those. I used 1/3 of a jumbo swiss roll for the large tower that rests on top of the base at the back, and cut the third regular swiss roll in half to create the two smaller towers either side of that. for the three small towers at the front of the base, I cut mini swiss rolls in half.
- Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the ice cream cornets down to the required size(s). Check that all of the towers fit together. Cover each of the cornets in butter cream. Roll the blue and lilac fondant icing into small balls and flatten these between your thumb and forefinger. Stick these "bricks" into the butter cream until the tower tops are completely covered.
- On a powdered surface, roll out some of the white ready to roll fondant icing. Cover the base and each of the swiss rolls in fondant icing, using a little butter cream on each to help the fondant to stick.
- Reassemble the various towers, sticking to the base with a little butter cream. Stick the cornet tower tops onto the swiss roll towers with a little butter cream. Paint a front gate onto the cake using a little food colouring and place the Cinderella model in front of the castle. Give the whole thing a generous sprinkling of edible glitter.
- Cut into slices and enjoy!
Hopefully next time we'll have a bit more luck with Alice in Wonderland, when I'll be making "Eat Me" cupcakes and "Drink Me" potions!