This basic castle design could be used as a base for any kind of castle (a medieval style castle, siege style castle for a little boy's birthday, a spooky haunted castle or a wedding cake) depending on the colours, details and figures added. This one's super girly pink sparkle because I made it for a 4 year old (very girly) girl.
This tutorial covers the castle shape and details, but not the figures and extras (no dragon, girl, faeries or flowers). I will do another tutorial on how to customise your castle with figures etc later.
I've included the instructions for piping fine detail on the castle, but if you're not confident with this or don't have time you could easily leave this out without it seeming unfinished, it's just an extra little finishing touch.
You will need-
Tools- Large rolling pin, small rolling pin, smoother tool (useful but not essential), small sharp knife (vegetable knife or similar), large knife for cutting and shaping sponge, butter knife or palette knife for jam and frosting, no 1.5 or 2 piping nozzle and a piping bag (or greaseproof paper piping cone), straight edged modelling tool and a paint brush (for sticking pieces with water).
Large cake board (at least 2" larger than your biggest cake), small cake board (the same size as your middle sized cake).
Bamboo kebab skewers.
Jam (and butter cream frosting if desired).
3 cakes in varying sizes (I used a 11", 8" and 6" round sponge) and extra cake for details (I used half of an 8" round).
About 3kg of sugar paste icing. I used pink, purple, light purple, grey and green sugar paste and royal icing in the colour of the walls.
(I used girly colours because this castle was for a little girl's birthday, you could use grey or pale blue icing for a more natural effect, or white or cream for a wedding castle. I used pale green for grass, you could use a darker green, brown or grey for a more rocky, hostile rock face).
You could use any colour you like for towers and doors.
I also used purple edible glitter and 'snowflake' glitter powder to decorate and make it extra girly!
Step 1: The Basic Shape
I used coloured sponges because this was a birthday cake, and colour coded it (purple for gluten free sponge) because of dietary requirements.
Cut the top edge off of the largest cake (about 1/3 from the top at about 45 degrees), flip this cut edge over and stick to the bottom edge with jam (and butter cream/ frosting if required). The bottom tier should now have a tapered, hilly look.
Cut all 3 sponges in half (horizontally) and fill with jam (and butter cream/frosting if required).
Roll out your green (or chosen 'hill' colour), cover the cake on to the board and smooth all over with a cupped hand (or smoothing tool of you have one). Flatten any excess icing on to the board and stick underneath with jam or water. Trim any paste that goes off the edge of the cake board.
I stacked the 2 small tiers together, jammed them and covered them as one, but you could also ice them individually then stack them.
If covering together- Stick your cake to the small cake board with jam, roll out your sugar paste, transfer it to the cake. Smooth the paste on to the top tier with your hand, then smooth the paste down around the bottom. Rub all over with a cupped hand or smoother tool, cut off excess, define the line between the tiers with a smoother tool or straight edged modelling tool.
Stack your smaller tiers on top of the 'hill'.
I didn't need to dowell (support with rods) my bottom tier because my sponges were quite dense. If you have used a softer 'victoria sponge' style recipe you may need to dowell the cake (like a stacked wedding cake) before stacking.
Step 2: Smaller Cake Pieces
Cut 2 small rectangles, in different sizes and 2 different sized arched pieces for doorways. I cut church/gothic style doorways, but you could use arches or rectangles instead, depending on the style you want.
Cover all 4 pieces in jam.
Roll out pink icing and cover both rectangular pieces. Cover the arches front and back (as they will be upright on the cake).
Hold a bamboo skewer against the cake to measure the depth. Cut the skewer to the right length (depth of cake plus depth of cake piece for rectangles add an extra 1/2" for the roof piece to stick on to). Insert the skewer into the cake where the pieces are going, then skewer the pieces into place.
Mark the castle parts of the cake and all the small pieces with horizontal lines. Mark vertical marks at regular intervals to make a brick work pattern.
Step 3: Turrets
Roll out thick 'sausages' of sugar paste (I have used 8 turrets, but you can make as many/few as you like but loads of turrets might reduce the stability of your cake). Cut into sections longer than the depth of your cake. They don't all have to be the same size, but symmetrically opposite pieces should be the same height (for this style of castle, if you don't want a symmetrical castle, go wild!).
Cut bamboo skewers to length (the depth of the cake where the turret is to go, plus the height of the turret, plus a tiny bit extra to stick the roof to).
Insert the skewer through the sugar paste turret, roll on your work surface to smooth, then insert into the cake.
Roll out small balls of sugar paste in your roof/door colour (mine was purple). Roll them at an angle with the heel of your hand to make a cone. Stick them on top of your turrets. Mark all your turrets with horizontal and vertical 'brick' lines like the rest of the castle.
Step 4: Roof and Door Pieces
In your 'door and roof' colour sugar paste, roll out 2 arches for doors. Stick on to the middle of the arch cake pieces.
Roll out rectangles the width of the top of your cake arch pieces. Stick on as roof tiles.
Make a small cube of pink sugar paste. Make a purple roof by pressing the sugar paste into a pyramid shape. This will be the top of the castle. Mark brick pattern around the edge and stick it on top of your small rectangular castle piece.
Step 5: Battlements, Windows and Doorways.
Roll out pink sugar paste thinly (as though you are covering a cake). Cut thin strips (about finger width). Cut lines half way in to the strips, cut less than finger width apart. Cut every 2nd section off with a horizontal line, making a battlement pattern. Stick these on to all the top edges of the castle with a small amount of water on a paint brush.
Roll another 2 strips of pink paste. Wrap over the tops of the doorways. Mark vertical lines to make brick shapes.
Using another colour (I chose pale purple) roll out sugar paste. Cut small rectangles to make windows. You can also make curved or gothic window shapes. Stick them on to the walls and turrets.
Pipe around the windows. Pipe lines through the larger windows to give a plate glass effect. Pipe handles on the doors.
Step 6: Grass
Knead some green sugar paste, Pull it apart to make a textured section, cut this off and stick it on as grass. Keep adding grass around the bottom of the castle and randomly around the bottom tier to give a grassy appearance.
Make small grey balls of sugar paste, flatten them on to the grass outside the castle door to make cobble stones.