My friend emailed me a few weeks ago asking if I could make a cake for her daughter's 5th birthday party. She then mentioned they were keen on a princess castle cake. As you will very quickly pick up by reading my blog, I have a son and to date have had no excuse to make a super girly cake... until now!!! So of course I immediately said yes and then had lots of fun researching a cake design.
I had already committed to making a Carnival Cake from my son's school fete and had planned on using fondant to decorate it. I had never used fondant before and wanted to practice before the Carnival Cake. While researching for the princess cake, I found many recipe that used fondant and knew this was my chance.
Why you may ask did I have want to make and decorate a girly cake? Well, for some reason I find the older I get, the more girly I become. When I was a teenager, I never wore dresses or skirts and was pretty shy. I never seemed to like typical girl colours, like pink and purple, always opting for green. I don't actually think there's anything wrong with that, however as I reached my mid 20s, I realised I owned NO pants, only dresses or skirts (that includes jeans, I did not and still do not own a pair of jeans), and I even found some pink sneaking into my wardrobe. Now, having recently turned 30, I love glitter and I own a fair bit of purple.
So, back to the princess cake - why wouldn't I jump at this chance. And on that note, why did I wait to do it for a five year old? I should have made this cake for my birthday!!!
Pink marshmallow fondant
450g pink marshmallows
2 - 5 tbs water
450g icing sugar, sifted (NOT icing mixture - it has corn flour in it and we do not want that)
Pink food colouring
In a bowl over a saucepan with simmering water (aka a double boiler), melt the marshmallows until smooth. Remove from heat and sift in the icing sugar. Start combining in the bowl, then cover your hands and wrists in shortening (this will seem weird, but really works to avoid the marshmallow sticking to your hands) as well as the (clean) benchtop and scrap out the marshmallow/icing sugar mixture. Kneed like a bread dough for about 8 minutes of until smooth. You will need to keep applying shortening to your hands and the bench. It will come together after a few minutes, so don't give up. When smooth, shape into two balls/discs and store in an air tight bag (or wrap with cling wrap). It's best to let it rest for a day or so. I made mine at the start of the week and didn't decorate until Saturday morning. Store at room temperature, not in the fridge.
When starting to decorate, dust the bench with corn flour and roll out the fondant. This will stop it from sticking and keep it smooth. Don't use flour as it will change the consistency and texture of the fondant. Roll until about 0.5 or 1 cm thick. I couldn't get over how smooth the fondant was, I couldn't stop running my hand over it.
If you want to make a deeper pink, add some food colouring (either gel or powder) before rolling out. Kneed the colour into the fondant until colour is consistent. Then dust bench with corn flour and roll flat.
White Chocolate and Musk mud cake
250g butter, chopped
140g white chocolate, chopped
450g caster sugar
230g plain flour
85g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon musk essence
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Grease and line with grease-proof paper a 20cm round cake tin and preheat oven to 170C.
Add butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth (don't boil). Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Sift in the flours and combine, then whisk in the essence and egg until smooth. Don't over whisk. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and until a skewer can be inserted into the middle and come out almost clean (it's ok if it's a little crumby).
Allow to cool for about 10 - 15 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
150g shortening (needs to be white, not yellow, so not butter)
450g icing sugar (again, NOT icing mixture)
Gel food colours (for final decorating - I used purple, green and yellow)
The best thing about this icing is it will last for ages, and if used in summer or hotter months, it will not melt if you're having an outdoors party. It's super easy to make, just beat the shortening and icing sugar until combined. You will need to add some water towards the end of beating to finally bring the buttercream together. Make two batches, one with less water than the other so you can roughly ice the cake with one and then use the other for final decorating.
Rice crispy towers
150g rice bubbles
Melt the marshmallows and butter in a saucepan over a low heat. When completely melted, remove from heat and gently stir in rice bubbles. Roll into ideal shape and pop in the fridge to firm. Many people use PVC piping, however I just rolled a cylinder using baking paper.
Yes, MORE MARSHMALLOWS!! Melt the marshmallows over a double boiler and coat the outside of the waffle cones with the melted marshmallow. While still wet, roll in sprinkles until completely covered. Allow to set.
Ice crispy towers
A little princess and her critters
Roughly ice the cake with the "wetter" buttercream. Place the cake in the centre of the cake board, but towards the back. Like this:
Next, very carefully roll the fondant over the cake and smooth down with your hands. Then trim the excess fondant from the base.
Trim the rice crispy cylinders to the required height for your castle. Then roll the fondant around the cylinder. Using skewers, secure the cylinders on the cake. Pipe some of the firmer fondant to help secure the side tower. Like this:
I made my remaining pink fondant a darker pink colour for the windows and doors by kneeding in more pink food colouring gel. Using cookie cutters, I cut out window shapes and piped a white cross over each to look like window pains. Using the same firm buttercream, I piped a shell boarder around the cake, like this:
I also brushed the footpath with some of the melted marshmallow from the cones and pressed in more sprinkles. Like this:
Next I dyed the remaining food colouring to make a green, purple and yellow buttercream. I piped on vines, flowers and grass, then finished by placing on my characters and waffle cones. You might need to trim the skewers so the cones fit properly. Then you're done!