Fairy-tale castles are always popular with little girls. The turrets on these towers hide stacks of sweets that will delight party-goers. Make this cake a few days in advance so it can really dry well — it will keep for up to 10 days if needed. It needs to be Madeira cake for firmness.
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- Madeira mixture for 22 cm (9 inch) round cake
- 1.5 kg (3 lb) sugarpaste
- 250 g (8 oz) royal icing
- apricot glaze
- selection of round pastel-coloured sweets
- gold dragees
- yellow and pink food colourings
- gold dusting powder
- 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin
- 3 empty 400 g (14 oz) clean food cans
- 25 cm (10 inch) round silver cake board
- 2.5 cm (1 inch) plain round cutter
- number 2 piping tube
- fine paintbrush
- pink ribbon
Baking the cakes
Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Grease and line the cake tin and food cans with non-stick baking paper. Spoon the cake mixture into the cans, filling each one two-thirds full. Spoon the remaining mixture into the cake tin. Bake the cans for 30 minutes and the tin for 1¼ hours. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
Roll out a little sugarpaste on a surface dusted with cornflour and cut out a 7.5 cm (3 inch) square. Transfer to a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Using a sharp knife, cut a small archway from one side and notches from the opposite side. Dry for 24 hours.
Cut the dome from the large cake to give a flat surface and secure to the board with royal icing. Cover the cake and board, using the all-in-one method, with 750 g (1½ lb) of the sugarpaste.
Level the tops of the small cakes by cutting off any domes. Cut a 2.5 cm (1 inch) slice off one cake and secure it with a little apricot glaze to another so that you have three towers of different sizes. Use a 2.5 cm (1 inch) plain round cutter to take a 5 cm (2 inch) deep notch out of one side of each of the two tallest towers. Brush with apricot glaze.
Cover the tower sides with sugarpaste and place on the cake. Cut out circles of sugarpaste to cover the tower tops. To make windows, cut crosses around the towers with a knife, then press the end of a piping tube into the ends of the arms of each cross
Roll out two 5 cm (2 inch) squares of sugarpaste. Arrange a line of sweets down the centre of each. Wrap the icing around the sweets to cover them. Dampen one edge and secure the ends. Dampen the notched corners on the two towers, then press the mini-towers into position, with the joins facing inwards. Make windows in the mini-towers.
Secure the hardened sugarpaste archway against the front towers with royal icing. Make two more mini-towers and place one at each end archway. Leave to dry overnight.
Cut an 18 cm (7 inch) round of non-stick baking paper into two semi-circles and shape into cones. Make a third cone from another round of paper. Pile sweets on top of each tower, then dampen the top edges of the towers. Gently rest the cones in position. Make smaller cones from 2.5 cm (1 inch) rounds of paper for the mini-towers.
Place the royal icing in a paper piping bag fitted with a number 2 tube and pipe a dot on top of each cone. Top with a gold dragee.
Roll out 2 cm (¾ inch) strips of sugarpaste Cut out notches and secure a strip around each tower with the notched end uppermost. Place thinner notched strips around the mini-towers.
Dilute yellow food colouring with water and paint the lower third of each tower and each notched strip. Paint the lower area of the large cake. Dilute pink food colouring and use to paint the remaining areas of the towers.
Dust the cones and white areas of the lower cake with gold powder. Colour the remaining sugarpaste pale pink and shape into small boulders. Position around the base of the cake. Trim the board with ribbon, securing with double-sided tape.