Pretty Perfect Princess Penguin Castle Cake

Wow. This cake took some work. Three day's worth, in fact. Why is it that I always end up doing my most challenging cakes for Katie's birthday? (Last year I made my first fondant sculpture, and also stuck my toe into the world of candy designs.) Despite all the challenges, I am a better cake decorator for this cake.

As adorable as those penguins are, they took a lot of work, and a lot of marshmallow fondant (which, by the way, is very tasty, but really sweet). I missed out on watching the Sound of Music because I was making these guys! They were a lot softer that I thought they would be, but they spent almost 2 days in front of a fan, which sort of firmed them up.

This penguin, with instructions at Wilton's website, was my inspiration. Although, I used fondant, not buttercream.

The tower tops are also covered in blue fondant, then white cake sparkles. That was quite messy. :)

I used 2 1/2 boxes of white cake mix (I still don't understand why that crazy girl didn't pick chocolate), because I had 2 6" layers and 2 10" layers. The other 1/2 of the cake box went to the petit fours which are currently unfinished in the freezer until a later date.

I used the first recipe on this page. Really nice and creamy, but it didn't crust well enough for me (I think that's because I didn't use enough powdered sugar). Katie liked it though, and that's what matters.

Since we had her birthday party on Easter, I took the unassembled cake to my grandmother's house, along with my box of supplies (extra icing, the towers, the penguins, tips, bags, etc.) and assembled it there.

A word to the wise: if cake instructions call for dowels, use the dowels. I didn't, and that was big mistake. Can you see in the picture where the bigger 2 towers on top are leaning? Well, they definitely are, and they even cracked the cake! I stuck some straws (cut down to size) inside the cake, added some melted chocolate, and stuck the towers on top on that. Wow! Was that a mess! And it was baking chocolate, with no sugar added! Tasty, huh? The chocolate didn't harden fast enough for my impatient little self, so I added the white icing boarder that you see around the top towers to hold them in place.

That worked pretty well... until about an hour before dinner, when the tallest tower fell out! Ahh! But by that point, I was pretty passive about the whole thing: everyone saw the cake, I had pictures taken, it was still edible. So I used some more icing to stick the tower back and called it a day... until it was time to eat it!! :)

So there you have it. The pretty, perfect (well, mostly)princess penguin castle cake that I made my little sister for her birthday (which, by the way, is the day after the First Day of Spring, but she likes penguins, so penguins it was)!

P.S. I discovered that, although our house is on a hill that slopes down to the west, our over actually slopes down to the south, which is why all of my cakes always turn out lopsided. Because I'm very good at trimming them down, I usually try to fit the layers today so that the lopsidedness balances out... that doesn't usually work. I've said this before, and it remains to be true: my lopsided, leaning cakes have character. And if you hold the camera at just the right angle, nobody will be able to tell!

I used the Wilton Romantic Castle Cake Set for my inspiration, and also for the towers, window, etc. And it was only $10 with a coupon! Whoo-hoo!