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  • 22Aug

    How to Make an Awesome Castle Cake

    A fairy castle cake for a complete novice? Why yes, I think I can!

    I blogged about a month ago about how much I hate craft and suck at it. I genuinely did mean it.

    At the same time my daughter’s birthday was approaching, and I thought I would *try* to make her a castle cake. My Mum always made amazing sweet/candy/lolly decorated cakes, cottages, castles, whatever we were into at the time. It’s one of those memories that you appreciate more when you’re older and know how much work it must have been. So I challenged myself to try.

    I did a practice run to see what shapes I could make. It did not go well:

    Castle Cake one

    Oh Dear.

    I pretty much abandoned the  idea and skulked out of the kitchen. Later on, I started googling images for ‘castle cake’ and felt pretty fed up. They were all made of ‘sugarpaste’ (fancy term for rolled icing) and I’d never tried it, and it looks impossible. THEN, I looked at how-to Youtube videos and thought, actually, broken down into steps, nothing about a castle cake looked that scary.

    I might bake three cakes a year (and one might be presentable), and have never made a birthday cake, but after a few evenings of consulting Professor Google and the kind bakers who share their tips, ideas and skills on t’internet, I made this:

    Copyright

    My finished castle cake

    My daughter was thrilled, and I must admit that despite my anti-craft stance generally, I really enjoyed doing it and was very chuffed with the result! As a birthday cake it is ridiculous, excessive and OTT, and I clearly got carried away, but once I got going nothing about it was really very complicated at all. Each step was easy and a bit like doing playdoh so very straightforward. Aside from baking a basic victoria sponge (google ‘victoria sponge delia’ for the recipe) the castle cake decorating took two evenings, so about 8 hours.

    I thought I would blog it a) because I’m proud of it and b) it’s so much easier than it looks I want to share if anyone else is looking for ideas :)


    I’ll just do a very brief version in images:

    After baking the sponge I started cutting out the decorations from thinly cut sugarpaste, as they needed to dry out. (I just used a plunger cutter)

    I dried cut out butterflies on folded paper so their wings stood out

    Turrets

    Make a paper template for the cones then cut out icing and glue to cones, smoothing over with the tool.

    Butter icing on a chilled cake is easier (less crumbs) and something for the sugarpaste to stick to. (Turn the cake upside down for a neater edge)

    Stop and have a drink – this takes a while :)

    Cover the cakes in sugarpaste – check youtube if you haven’t done this before – it’s easy peasy

    Print on the brick pattern (I got a mould off ebay)

    Cover and print on swiss rolls for main turrets

    Assemble cakes and start to glue on detail like doors to get symmetrical

    Lay it all out prior to gluing (I broke three turrets doing this wrong)

    Use wooden skewers for supports (the top tubes are cardboard not cake – shhh – nobody noticed!)

    Sit down with a large glass of wine, edible glue and the little cutouts and get sticking! I made thin slices of green with a steak knife for the ivy and squished together stars to make leaves.

    Add sprinkles and flags and ta-da!! A fairytale castle cake :)

    Simples. Probably cost me £40-50. Professionally made would easily have been double that. Would I do it again? Sure! I have three daughters, so will try and make something for each. But nothing else, ever!!!

    Ingredient and tool list at the end of the post…

    JT

    INGREDIENTS AND TOOLS

    For Cake:
    10 inch victoria sponge, 7 inch victoria sponge, Buttercream to fill, Jam/jelly to fill, 5 ready-made tesco value chocolate swiss rolls (the kids preferred these!) for the bottom pillars, Box of waffle cones.

    For Decorations:
    2kg ivory sugarpaste, 750g pink sugarpaste, 100g green sugarpaste, Shimmery baubles (edible), Edible glue, Meadow colour sprinkles (for cake base), (I got all these online)

    Equipment:
    20 inch polyethylene rolling pin (I can’t recommend these enough for working sugar paste), Icing smoother, large cake board, wooden skewers (to position towers), Cardboard tube (for top towers) – I used a wrapping paper inner tube, Flower and star cutters (ebay), Little brush for glue.

    As I receive regular inquiries about this post and where I got certain items, links to some can be found here:

    *NEW* Many readers have kindly emailed pics of their versions of this castle cake, a selection of which can be viewed here for variations and ideas.

Discussion 80 Responses

  1. August 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    That is quite possibly the prettiest DIY castle cake I’ve see in a while. I am 27 now but I am still asking my mom for one for my next birthday!

    • August 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks – I think I would still do it if mine asked at 27!!

    • October 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      It really is pretty, well done.

  2. August 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Amazing! x

    • August 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Wow Jane!! I am just soo impressed!!! May try this for my daughter’s birthday coming up in November!! ABSOLUTELY FAB!!! XXX

    • August 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      Thankyou!

      • March 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm

        Hi,what did you use to make the wooden design on the door?

        • March 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm

          A wooden imprint mat – it came in a set of two with the brick one :)

  3. August 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Very impressive!! I don’t dare to show this to my daughter! I’m more of a making-tasty-cakes-rather-than-making-pretty-cakes-kind-of-person (hopefully one day I’ll be able to combine the two!) :-)

    • August 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      Yeah to be fair two kilos of sugarpaste gets a bit samey tasting!

  4. August 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    It looks bloody amazing. From your first effort, I was dubious re what the finished cake would look like but it’s amazing. Very professional. Thinking about how I can adapt it to make a knight’s version for my son. He likes pink but not flowers. Maybe add a dragon out the front.

    • August 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks! You can get grey sugarpaste to easily make it more medieval. Loads of good dragon cakes out there too I’m told! The little plunger cutters make it very easy indeed to cover in ivy etc.

      • August 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

        I think if I do grey turrets and then green and red ivy with a couple of dragons, then it would really suit him. Thanks for the tips!

  5. September 22, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    [...] a weird outburst making an OTT birthday cake recently, I am now officially addicted to trying out new things by watching how-to videos online. [...]

  6. October 15, 2012 at 12:38 am

    I made my kids 4 birthday cake using your design. It came out really really well! Thanks for sharing this!

    • October 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Fantastic! Email me a pic to contact@inadifferentvoice.co.uk and I’ll add it on the post?!

      • June 27, 2013 at 10:15 am

        Amazing cake which I’m in the middle of trying to replicate for my daughter’s 4th birthday. Think it might be too ambitious for me… as I need help!

        The swiss rolls – have the fuller look of your last picture but mine have fallen over!! Any tips? Did you use the entire swiss roll or cut this down? And if so was this lengthways or simply by chopping in half?

        Any advice gratefully received!

        • June 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

          Hi Flora,
          I used full size ones which stood quite comfortably – are you using mini ones? You could use wooden kebab skewers to pin them to the board before adding the turrets? Hope that helps and good luck with it!
          Jane

          • June 27, 2013 at 11:54 am

            Thanks for getting back to me Jane. I am now in greater awe with what you have done as my swiss rolls are the full size ones too but don’t resemble your neatness. Shall see if cutting them down helps to stand them up, otherwise kebab skewers it is! Thanks – may well be back for more advice if I get stuck again – which I’m bound to!
            Thanks again – awesome cake…

  7. October 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Good for you! It looks lovely! xx

  8. November 2, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Wow! This is by far the best tutorial I’ve seen for a castle cake, thank you very much! :-)

  9. November 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    [...] a weird outburst making an OTT birthday cake recently, I am now officially addicted to trying out new things by watching how-to videos online. [...]

  10. November 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Hi wow this cake looks fantastic :) what size cake Tins did you use and also is the second cake just placed on top or is there supports used? Looking forward to making this myself :) x

    • November 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks! I used 10″ and 7″ cake tins. No supports between them but I did ice each one separately before assembling which helped stop the bottom one sinking, and made it easy to take apart and cut up. Hope it works well for you too!

  11. January 6, 2013 at 1:25 am

    I’m going to give this a go so may email you with questions.

    • January 6, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      Feel free but please don’t rely on me to reply quickly!! :)

  12. January 8, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Thank you so much for this, I Made d castle for my niece on Sunday for her third birthday and found it totally stress free with all ur pictures and step by steps, it was so easy to follow, greatly appreciated xxx

    • January 9, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      That’s lovely to hear! Thanks for posting that!

  13. January 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    WOW I’m seriously impressed!
    I’m about to embark on the same project and you have given me hope. Your cake looks REALLY professional. I will definately go for it now. WELL DONE

  14. January 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    [...] treat them as individuals. Plus since I’d enjoyed trying it last summer for my eldest’s castle cake cake, I was happy to have an excuse to play with sugar paste [...]

  15. January 20, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Just done my own version of this… Totally copied your advice … Wish I could post a pic x

    • January 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Alice, You can email it to contact@inadifferentvoice.co.uk and I will add it on to the post! I’d love to see it! :-)

      • January 21, 2013 at 10:05 am

        I have emailed you. Thanks so much for showing me how !
        Wouldn’t have been able to do it with out you pics xx

  16. February 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Wow! Thanks for sharing. After a year or so of making cakes for friends and family, I’ve decided to try and make some money from it, after a friend saw one of my recent cakes of a horse, I was asked if I could make a fairy castle. So glad I stumbled across your blog, I’d always been too scared to try it before (think it was the turrets that did it) I now feel more confident.

    Will be investing in the embossing mat for sure.

    Thanks again. xx

  17. February 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Hi there – I was thinking of doing this with my son for a history project. Obviously we would ‘man it up’ a bit with greys / browns and blacks and maybe leave the flowers out! Wish us luck and if it’s a success I’ll send you a pic :-)

    • February 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Hehe – flowers can be manly too!! Although for historical accuracy a medieval version wouldn’t be pink and white! (mine was made to madam’s specifications, never let a three-year-old give consultancy advice on history haha!)

  18. February 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    My daughter decided on a castle cake for her 5th birthday and I am so grateful I came across this blog!! Made the cake and it was a great success. I wouldn’t have had a clue where to start, thank you so much for putting this up and giving us give it a go mums a massive head start! Xx

  19. February 25, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    This is amazing! Thank you for providing me with the inspiration to make my own [http://kialtho.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=647&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2]
    I would send you a photo for your blog but it’s all tied up in photobucket!
    Also, yours is amazing. Mine looks like a rather mediocre attempt in comparison, but regardless I am pleased with how this turned out :D

  20. February 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    hello,
    this cake is wonderful …. I would like to try it but I can not find the mold for bricks … even on ebay. can you give me the link to what you bought?
    thanks

    • February 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      Hi Carla, I found a few brick pattern moulds for cakes by searching for ‘bark and brick impression mat’ on eBay – they are there somewhere! I hope that helps!

    • March 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Thank you so much for this tutorial, I have just made this cake for my daughter’s birthday, she asked for a princess castle cake, she is 23!!!! x

  21. March 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    OMG’s you have created a monster! What a good idea, I thought to myself – my son is 4 on Thursday, he’s bang into his Knights and Castles. Why not??? I’m now on day 3 of this epic adventure. Had a few hiccups. Cake drum did not arrive, so having to use a much smaller one from lakeland and have had to cut the corners off my 10 inch square base cake in order to fit the turrets on. I also seriously under estimated the amount of butter cream I needed (my cakes are HUGE!) And didn’t think it would take me quite so many years to finish it. I believe Windsor castle took less time. Probably stone henge as well. Am about to ice the swiss rolls and assemble! Pics to follow!

  22. April 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Hiya, I’m going to attempt to make this but just wanted a little advise.

    Did you fondant wrap the whole cake including the bottoms? Or just the bits the eye can see, so the top and sides. Also I’m worried about the fondant softening once it’s finished and left. I need it for a Sunday afternoon, but I am out the day before in the evening. When would you suggest to make it? I was thinking bake Friday, Crumb coat Saturday and fondant the big bits and then finish Sunday morning? Do you think that would work? By the way the cake is FAB!

  23. April 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks for sharing:). Your castle looks amazing and I will follow your tutorial. It will be a combination of my big girl’s 3 year birthday and my little girl’s christening. With a little baby on top I think it will be possible :)

  24. April 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I just made this for my friends daughters 5th birthday party and she loved it! Thought you might like to add a photo to your blog so I’ve emailed you over one! Thanks for the breakdown on how to do it. Although I didn’t really rely on it that much as I just used your main photo. I varied it a tad by spraying it with pearl lustre spray and adding flowers around the base. I got lots of compliments on it and the little princess loved it, so thank you so much for the inspiration! :)

  25. May 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Definitely going to use this when making my niece her castle cake in July! Excellent cake x

  26. May 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I am going to make your lovely cake for my daughters 3rd bday in two weeks. only question is what on earth do I search under for the brick wall print thing on ebay? I keep just bringing up lego brick moulds! Thanks

    • May 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

      A search for ‘brick impression mat’ will find them :)

  27. June 17, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    I simply had to post a thank you for sharing this. I run my own event baking business and have had two customers ask for this design. A pro would be proud of it I know I was! I loved your elephant cake as well but it not as easy as you make it look I trained at college to learn to do this you must be a natural at modelling a design. You could buy some more equipment and make things more easier too if you wanted. Put my email if you want any more tips would like to hear from you of I can help at all but you already put some experts to shame lol!

  28. July 31, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Hi, Your cake is amazing! I’m hoping to make one myself but I was wondering how long will the cake keep. Can I make it a few days in advance? Or would it start cracking and fall to bits…Thanks Martina x

    • August 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Honest answer is I don’t know – I made it the night before and it was all gone by dinner time! I kept a couple of the spires in a plastic sealed container and they looked fine months on – although not sure I’d eat them!

  29. August 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Wow! You are amazing! I’m so inspired! I wanted to make my 3 year old a castle cake for her 4th birtghday. Since that’s all shes been talking about for months. I had almost given up on making it myself. I was just about to google where to buy such a cake until I found an image of your gorgeous castle cake! Thanks for breaking it down so simply! I think I will give it a try! Did i mention you did an outstanding job?!!! :-)
    Melisa

  30. August 15, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Hi , amazing cake!!! did you use jam filling? I understand each cake is covered in buttercream, then fondant. Just want to know if i need to fill the sponges?

    • August 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

      I just went with buttercream as it sets. Tried sugar pasting a jam one once and it slid in the heat.

  31. August 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Hi, Amazing cake, I am trying it for my daughter’s 6th B’day. How did you get the castellation effect on the top of the cake near the candles – are they marshmellows or blocks of icing? Also how did you do the step effect on the turrets? Thanks

    • August 24, 2013 at 2:19 am

      Hi Emma, the blocks are just little oblongs of icing. For the steps up the turrets I rolled a thicker piece, added the brick effect then cut individual steps out with a knife. Hope that helps!

  32. August 29, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Hi there!! Just wanted to say thank you SO much for posting this. I promised my grandaughter a Fairy Castle Cake for her birthday and then panicked when I realised what I had let myself in for. I googled Fairy castle cake and yours was the first and indeed the most helpful and detailed one I found. Her cake was amazing and she loved it. Worth all the hard work but could not have done it without your step by step pics. THANKS SO MUCH!

  33. August 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Hi, awesome cake!! It has inspired me to give it a go myself…I hope it turns out as good as yours!

    Just a small question, what size does the cake turn out to be when completed…what size cake board is needed?

    • August 31, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      I used a 14″ board. Good luck with it!

  34. September 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    What a lovely cake!

    What quantities of ingredients did you use for each cake? The delia recipe seems to be for a standard cake

    Mine don’t seem to be as thick

    Thanks!
    Laura

    • September 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      I *think* it was an eight egg sponge for the two. That’s what I did for this year’s two-tier and it looks about the same.

  35. September 24, 2013 at 11:18 am

    This is an amazing cake and Im going to have a go for little girl’s 4th Bd. I just wanted to ask – did you cut the cakes in half to put jam inbetween or just spread on top of the cakes(before the buttercream).. Many thanks

    • September 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Thanks! I butter creamed in the middles. I’m sure you can do it with jam but I find larger structures can slide with it, whereas buttercream is best for sticking. Good luck with it!

  36. September 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

    It’s a lovely castle cake and a good tutorial. I used it for my niece’s 3rd birthday (in purple!) and she loved it. Thank you for sharing!

  37. October 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I made this with great success as a practice for my nieces birthday but the real one must be made this week. how did you keep the Swiss roll fresh as when I made the last one it was dry , the only downfall to a lovely cake

    Any tips would be appreciated!

    • October 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      I’m not really sure as mine were ok. Did you coat them with sugar creme before icing (including the ends?).

  38. November 10, 2013 at 5:17 am

    […] to decide what shape to make out of a not-very-mouldable carrot cake. I have been dreaming of the castle and piano and octopus cakes of internet legend, but I had to settle for something simpler. I […]

  39. November 16, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Hi I did this yesterday for my daughter 5th birthday party today. I changed it slightly but followed ur step by step guide they were a great help and my daughters face was priceless thank you soo much ur guide was a great help to make her perfect cake. Was a lot of hard work but worth it.

  40. January 12, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Hi – I’m planning on emulating your gorgeous castle cake – by far the best one I’ve seen, and I’ve looked at probably 50 of them! – for my daughter’s 6th birthday. I’ve not been able to find Swiss rolls anywhere, but am planning to try Rice Krispie treats for all the towers instead. My question relates to the final decorating touches. I’ll make the flowers and leaves etc. ahead of time, but what about the ivy? Did you just cut that out and glue it on without drying it? I don’t see how it could get dried first, or you couldn’t lay it around the towers. Thanks for any advice!!

  41. February 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Love the cake very impressive. I am looking to make my grandaughters this for their birthday. Just a quick question. What recipie did you use for the Swiss roll towers

  42. March 21, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I love this tutorial on how to make a princess castle birthday cake.
    I have just been asked to make one for my great niece’s 6th birthday in 2 days time so googled and came across yours – which I am now in the process of making.
    If it looks half as good as yours I will be thrilled and so will she! Fingers crossed xx

  43. April 14, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Thank you. My eldest daughter and I had great fun making this for my 6 year old and it came out superb. Will figure out where to sent my version which was pretty similar to yours. I’ve never had some many facebook responses ever as when I posted up my cake. You are truly amazing to have shared this step by step with us! thank u!

    • April 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      Thank you Sheri! I’m glad you enjoyed making it and your comment has made my day :)

  44. April 20, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I googled “castle cake” in search for inspiration and I must say of all the professional and non professional cakes I found I liked your’s the most. It’s awesome and beautiful :)

  45. May 16, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Great castle. I am planning a similar one for my daughter. If anyone else is planning to try one, I would suggest colouring your own icing with food colour gel (from any any supermarket) rather than buying it ready coloured as this can be very expensive. White is much cheaper to buy and is doesn’t take long to knead the colour through.

    • May 18, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks Karen. I have tried this method but found that for large amounts (like this one) I either need to mix the whole lot at the start or end up with different shades later or too much of one colour which then can’t be saved as it’s been handled. Also I used a red gel on a birthday cake last summer and it took so much to get a good Scarlett that it got very very slimy and would have been cheaper to buy ready made. Depends on the project and how often you do it I guess. (Also I haven’t found a UK supermarket that stocks sugar paste – only basic rolled royal icing – where have you seen it?) :)

  46. June 7, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Lovely cake I have to make this for a customer next week as she has sent me this pic. How did you get the towers to stick to the top layer of cake. I know you said you used skewers but if they are cardboard hollow tubes how would they help support the towers in place. And how did you stick the turrets to the towers. Sorry for all the questions x

    • June 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      I actually made all turrets in cake but I did put a thin board between the top layer of cake and the lower layer as my great niece wanted to keep her cake for her actual birthday on the Monday so they could lift off the top cake and upper turrets and only cut the lower layer at her party.

      If you do use cardboard tubes just apply with a little royal icing having already covered the tubes in fondant first.

      Good luck!

  47. June 21, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Im going to attempt to make one similar to this next week for my 20th birthday! I am soooo excited. Yours definitely looks the nicest from google!

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