Grace’s Princess Castle Cake

how to make a princess castle cake

In my poll of readers and Twitter friends, 6 moms said there’s no way they’d try to make the cake and 3 said they would try it.

I would think it’s clear by now which group I’m in.Wilton Romantic Castle Cake Set\

I saw the cake and thought, “I could totally make that.”

I’m ambitious and creative and patient. I thought the cake was totally impressive, I knew Grace would love it, and I was up to the challenge.

If I weren’t pregnant, I think it would have  been a lot easier, but it was tough to finish. I’m thankful that my  sister was here so that I could walk away when my frustration and  morning sickness got the best of me.

A lot of people told me that I was crazy for taking on the princess castle cake, but I was undaunted. My little sister, Amanda, offered to help me, and we planned out 3 weekends in advance of the party to do the flowers, turrets, sugaring, cake baking, and assembly. We had a great plan.

And then the unthinkable happened.

We had to change the date of the party because of a scheduling conflict with some of the grandparents. Our 3 weekends were cut down to one weekend, a busy Saturday (during which Grace and I already had plans), and the morning of the party. It made the preparation a little hectic.

Nonetheless, we made it. The cake was beautiful, and every single person who saw it was duly impressed. wilton romantic castle finished

This castle cake did require some special tools, but no special skills to speak of. The instructions on Wilton’s website were very good, and partly illustrated. If you want to tackle the Princess Castle Cake, start there.

Here’s what we did.

Princess Castle Cake – Day One

Everything in this cake was made from scratch (except the fondant). Honestly, I intended to buy a couple of cake mixes, but when it was time to actually do the baking, there weren’t any in my kitchen, and the store was closed.

Our plan for the first day of preparation was to tint the fondant, cut out 350 or so pink daisies, and make royal icing to form the centers of the flowers.

Make Royal Icing

The royal icing was the most complicated, so we started with that.

The recipe provided in the castle kit required 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, and Grace wanted to help, so I set her up to start sifting.

That would have been really helpful if she had sifted.

Mostly, she tossed powdered sugar around.

making a princess castle cake

When she started eating powdered sugar by the handful, I demoted her from helper to sideline goofball.

princess cake

After I had the sifting all done, Amanda made the royal icing with my KitchenAid stand mixer.

Tint Fondant

With Grace safely outside with Joe and Amanda working on royal icing, I got to work on the fondant. I bought some, not sure if I’d be able to make it myself. It comes in white; I used gel-style food coloring to dye it pink.

The instructions online said to use food safe rubber gloves to dye the fondant. That’s not a joke. My hands were streaked hot pink for four days.

princess cake tinting fondant

Prepare the Fondant Daisies

After getting the fondant the color I wanted, Amanda used a teeny tiny cookie cutter to cut out the flowers.

princess cake cutting flowers

And I piped a royal icing center onto each flower.

princess cake icing flowers

It took all day, but finally, we had 350 or so little flowers finished.

castle cake hundreds of flowers

We didn’t realize ahead of time that the flowers would fade while they waited to be attached to the cake. They did fade, some dramatically, but it gave them a neat, almost tie dyed look.

Princess Castle Cake – Day Two

Our plan for the second full day of cake preparation was to frost the tower peaks and then to decorate the towers.

We were working really hard, so we didn’t take as many pictures.

Frost the Tower Peaks

I dyed the royal icing using purple gel-style food coloring and my KitchenAid stand mixer, and I used that purple icing to frost the peaks. While the icing was still wet, I sprinkled it with cake sparkles.

castle cake frosted towers

After the first two peaks were finished, I thought there had to be a better way.

I asked Joe to make me a drying rack for the peaks. He took a cardboard box, stuck 12 wooden skewers in the top, and set it up on our dining room table. I forgot to take a picture, but that drying rack made it so much easier to frost and decorate the peaks.

Decorate the Towers

There wasn’t a lot we could do at this point to decorate the towers.

We weren’t sure how the royal icing would keep over the course of two weeks, and we didn’t want to make the green royal icing just yet.

It turns out that the icing kept nicely, so we could’ve made the green on Day Two and gotten a little more of the decorating done early on.

Amanda outlined the towers’ windows with purple royal icing.

castle cake frosting windows

She quickly handed them off to me, and I sprinkled them with cake sparkles. The icing dried too much if she did both windows before handing it to me, so we worked on one window at a time.

castle cake sparkle windows

Make Fondant Flags

I was exhausted, and I needed to take a nap. While I was napping, Amanda decided to make some pretty pink  flags out of fondant to attach to the tops of the tower peaks.

castle cake fondant flags

And then, she had to put little balls of fondant on top of the peaks to stick the flags into. If we were starting over, I think I’d try to talk her out of the flags next time. They were a real pain.

wilton fairy castle supplies

Princess Castle Cake – Day Three

My mom insisted that I make the cake three days before I needed to assemble it.

Except, three days before I wanted to assemble it was the night we went to the circus. And the night after that, I was just. too. tired. to do it.

That meant I was making the cake the day before I needed to assemble it. Not ideal, but I didn’t have any other options.

Bake the Cake

Because he’s wonderful, Joe measured the ingredients out and had everything ready for me to put the cake together when I got up in the morning.

castle cake ingredients

Mixing the cake was a family affair. Grace had fun helping me to dump the ingredients into the mixer.

And then, of course, helping me to lick the beater.

princess castle cake beater

The cake batter was delicious, but I think the finished cake was a little too heavy for this particular design. I think a boxed cake mix would have worked a little better.

I poured the cake into two 6-inch cake pans and (what I thought were) two 10-inch cake pans and baked it. (They were actually 8-inch cake pans, which made the final assembly a little more difficult.)

When the cakes were done, I cooled them on a wire cooling rack and wrapped them in kitchen towels, as my mother suggested.

Assemble the Cake Layers

I thought it would be nice to have a layer of white chocolate in between the cake layers, so I spread some melted white chocolate between the layers as I placed them on the cake board. I wrapped the stacked cake in kitchen towels again when I was finished.

It was a good idea, but that layer of chocolate in the middle of the cake made the finished cake too rich.

Assemble the Towers

In order to make the final assembly a little easier, I cut plastic dowel rods to the correct size, a half-inch shorter than the cake layer they would sit on top of. Then, I attached the plastic dowels to the towers using melted white chocolate.

The instructions said to refrigerate the assembled towers, but I thought they’d be okay since they were going to sit over night.

Princess Castle Cake – Day Four

This was party day, and I was exhausted. We’d been swimming all day the day before, and I took Grace to a birthday party. I woke up feeling like I needed to take a nap.

Make Green Royal Icing

This happened in the same way as before, except that Amanda dyed it green when she first got started.

Make Buttercream Frosting

Amanda made this, too, according to the recipe in the cake kit. The KitchenAid made quick work of it.

Frost the Cake

Self explanatory, no?

Assemble the Cake Towers

This was the hardest step of the whole process, in my opinion.

I put the towers into the cake. Some of the towers broke off of the dowels I’d attached the day before. (Would cooling or freezing them have made a difference? I don’t know since I didn’t do it.) I got very frustrated with them. I had pillars propped up with bowls and stuck to things with frosting.

Remember that my cakes were smaller than they were supposed to be? Some of the towers were too close to the edge of the cake. They made the cake crumble around themselves.

Fortunately, Amanda rescued me because I was ready to walk away at this point. She helped me to build the cake back up with frosting and white chocolate.

Once they were stable, I cemented the peaks on top of the towers with white chocolate.

And then I really did walk away. I couldn’t take any more. I was tired and cranky, and I went to clean the living room for the party and Amanda mercifully finished the cake.

Attach the Fondant Daisies

Amanda piped green leaves all around the cake. On top of each leaf, she added a daisy.

wilton romantic castle making leaves

Because we’d done things slightly out of order, it was tough for her to reach some of the places on the cake that were supposed to have leaves and flowers.

A resourceful girl, she used a pair of scissors and later, a hemostat, to get the flowers into their spots.

wilton romantic castle resourceful

The towers were easy to decorate, and they turned out nicely when loaded with flowers.

wilton romantic castle towers

At long last, it was party time!

wilton romantic castle towers

The cake was impressive sitting on the table.

Princess Castle Cake – At the Party

There was no place on the cake to put candles. I considered sticking them in the side, and then decided instead, to make a candle holder from a mound of leftover buttercream. It had been sitting long enough to be slightly stiff. It worked to hold the candles upright for the 5 minutes I needed them.

princess castle cake candles

Did I mention that Grace adored her cake?

Of course she did.

wilton romantic castle is all done

But I don’t know if we’ll be making another one.

It was an insane amount of work, even with two of us working on it.

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© 2010 – 2014, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. HeathersHodgepodge says

    What a cake! And to think I was impressed the years that my mom made me a single layer cake – from a mix!

  2. TheAngelForever says

    Tara and Amanda – you both did an amazing job. Love the details and how everything turned out. This is inspiration to take out my KitchenAid and finally use it. Of course, no princess cakes in my future. I have a strange feeling my oldest son will want something Star Wars related for his birthday in August. Oy!

  3. PrincessJenn says

    I've walked by that cake kit a dozen times and always thought…wow, that would be so cool, but an insane amount of work. And I think after reading this, I'm glad I never bought it. I wouldn't have nearly the patience you did. But the result is gorgeous!!

  4. Stephanie Ingersoll says

    Great job! I made one a few years back, only without the kit. I used papertowel rolls and sugar cones for the towers. Fun stuff.

  5. says

    Wow Tara, that is one impressive cake!! You and your sister did an amazing job!
    Happy birthday Grace & Happy birthing day to you!! <3

  6. says

    Oh my gosh, I LOVE it!!!! I’ve done a fancy cake for each birthday…it just makes such special memories! I’m going to remember this cake for next year!!!

  7. Sarah says

    Tara, you guys did a wonderful job! I've taken cake decorating classes (in particular Wilton's classes) and love tackling all sorts of their cakes….in fact I have that castle kit and will be doing a different princess castle version for Lily's first birthday party in July. I'll try to remember to post about it so you can see mine…..

  8. says

    If I thought about the process, I may not have gotten it, either. I thought, “Wow! That is so cool! I bet Grace would love it!” and then considered the work much MUCH later. ;)

  9. says

    Your cake is awesome! I love making fun birthday cakes for my daughter also. Maybe next year I will try one like yours:) This year I made a unicorn carousel cake for my daughter it was so fun:)

  10. AngieB says

    I am so impressed! That cake is fabulous! I have to admit I take more of a Grace approach to cake-baking. You know, lick the batter, nibble the icing, take a nap after the sugar high wears off . . .

  11. Brandi says

    I made that cake last year for my daughter’s Diamond Castle birthday party. It was a HUGE undertaking. I did mine a little bit differently–yours looks fabulous!!

  12. BoosPlace says

    You guys have done an awesome job!!! Do you think you will ever do something like this again? I think it is rewarding to do stuff like this just to see the face of your child is priceless!

  13. says

    YOU ARE THEEEEE BOMB! SERIOOUSLY! Oh my goodness, it's amazing. I am one that looks at that and says, I'd never try it. It's a privilege to “know” someone ( or soon to know IRL) who would try it and do it SO well.

  14. Joni says

    Well even though that was an insane amount of work….it turned OUT SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Wow, wow, and wow! Joni

  15. says

    wow. I can't imagine all that time and preparation…. you really do have ambition! I've been planning on asking my son what kind of cake he wants this year for his birthday, but if he comes up with anything remotely this involved, I'm in trouble!!
    Great job!

  16. Sheila says

    Tara – that looks awesome!!! I'm 37 now and I still remember the special cakes my mom made for my birthday's growing up. It may have been an insane amount of work but Grace will remember it forever!!!

  17. Karen says

    Are you kidding me???? Insane amount of work??? That is an understatement!!!! I would have laminated that cake and preserved it to go into the Smithsonian!!!!

  18. says

    Wow! I guess that’s why He made some talented and patience like you, and others like me who can only stand back, admire and applaud… have a blessed weekend!

  19. Marie says

    Hello – I'm visiting from The Inspired Room! Holy Moly, you totally outdid yourself on that beautiful cake! Too cute to eat! Great job.

    Blessings,
    Marie

  20. Autumn says

    lol you have the same disease I do: “I can do that!” I was just saying yesterday how that always gets me into trouble, but you know, I’m always pleased in the end when I have something about which I can be proud, just like you do here! That cake is amazing! And look at your daughter’s face. She loved it! Great job.

  21. Blessedwithgrace says

    I.AM. SO. PROUD. OF.YOU!!! Great job. I would totally buy that cake and think a professional cake decorator did it. I KNOW it was a memory Grace will not forget. Super MOM and Super Aunt awards should be given to you both.

  22. Mommyconomy says

    I bought all the stuff to make this cake yesterday. I found your blog entry when I got home. I can't wait to try this cake!!!

  23. Hilerie says

    That cake is totally amazing and I am so impressed!!! My daughter would freak over it but I would never dare take that on. Way to go!

  24. AleahsGrand says

    Thank you so much for documenting the castle process!! Aleah’s Birthday is in 3 weeks and I’m trying to prepare myself for the work to come. Your cake looks AWESOME and so does your family.

  25. Sabrina says

    This is going to be so helpful! Thank you for the detailed information… though I must admit I am a bit overwhelmed after reading that! (Preggo with my 3rd and only have 3 days until my Grace’s party!!!) I better get off the computer and get to work! Thanks again, and I think the cake came out lovely!

  26. Shannon says

    Thank you for these step by step pictures! I am planning on making this & have 3 weeks so I’m hoping it turns out! I only wish I could see the problems you were having with attaching the towers. From reading reviews on the Wilton website it seems like that is the hardest part. Thanks again & yours turned out beautifully!

    • Sue says

      Shannon,
      I would like to know how your castle cake turned out. I am about to make this next month, and I’m trying to learn what not to do. Do you have any advice with the towers?

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