Back in March, I volunteered to make the cake for a Game of Thrones birthday dinner. A sugarcraft Iron Throne was always going to be beyond me, but a nice square sponge Winterfell is doable for anyone with an oven and (too much) time on their hands.
I’m a cake decorating novice and cackhanded to boot, so this isn’t the most delicate or detailed of castle cakes, but I was pleased with it and I hope the birthday boy was too.
Winter is coming… and it tastes delicious
Makes 20 slices, served on the point of a sword.
You will need:
- Your favourite sponge cake recipe (use a sponge of sturdy constitution rather than a delicate crumbly one)
- Equivalent quantity buttercream icing
- Strawberry, raspberry or whatever fruit you fancy, jam
- Ready-rolled fondant icing, or fondant icing sugar (depending on how skilled and brave you are)
- Blue and black food colouring
- At least 4 posh ice cream cones (ie the ones made out of waffle rather than dust)
- At least 6 Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers
- 3 large bags of Cadbury’s Giant Chocolate Buttons
- A small amount of normal icing sugar
- Four clean baked bean tins
- Cocktail sticks
First, get the turrets out of the way. This is a nice repetitive yet fiddly task to acclimatise you for the task ahead – and if you do more than four, it doesn’t matter if you break some.
1. Gently trim your ice cream cones to make them flat. Use a small sharp knife or nibble into shape, depending on how well you know the people eating the cake. That was a joke. Use the knife.
2. Make up a small amount of water icing, not too runny. Use a teaspoon to dab blobs of the icing onto the back of the giant buttons, and then stick them firmly onto the cone. They do not take kindly to being overlaid like tiles (they slide down) so stick on separately working your way slowly up each cone.
3. Leave the finished cones on a tray to dry for a couple of hours while you make and assemble the cake.
1. Bake your cake! I made (as ever) Nigella’s Buttermilk Birthday Cake, using double the recipe’s quantities.
Make two rectangular/square/circular cakes depending on the architecture you’re going for and the tins you own.
Keep back some of the batter and cook it in the baked bean tins – these will form the turrets. Note that the turrets will take longer to cook than the rest of the cake – if you don’t give them enough time, they’ll be soft and fall over and people will laugh at them while you’re trying to make them sing Happy Birthday (this did not in any way happen to me)
Constructing the castle
1. Place the bottom main cake on a cake board or flat tray and spread with the buttercream. Spread the top cake with your choice of jam and then sandwich together.
2. Measure the height of your cake. Cut into each turret at right angles to this height and eat the leftovers.
3. Spread the inside of each cut-out turret with a generous blob of buttercream and then hold against a corner of the cake. Don’t worry if it looks a little messy – you’ll soon cover the whole thing with a layer of smooth, smooth fondant.
You should end up with something that looks a little like this:
Icing and decorating
1. Mix your fondant icing to a smooth, rollable consistency and get the colour how you want it. I went for a bluey-grey. Don’t over-blend the colour – little streaks of dark and light here and there look authentically stone-like.
2. Roll out the icing and drape it over the cake. Start in the middle and then smooth it into the corners and over the turrets. My spatial awareness is abysmal so I iced the main cake and turrets separately but it looked a bit rubbish.
3. Using a cocktail stick, gently score brick shapes and little archery windows (the crosses) onto the walls and turrets.
4. If you’re feeling brave (and this didn’t work for me) dab some green icing around the bottom of the cake with a sponge to look like bushes.
5. For a wintery scene like mine, make up some more water icing and apply to the corners in ‘snowdrifts’.
6. To make the imposing ‘wooden’ ‘door’, just cut the Cadbury’s Fingers to shape and stick together, and then onto the cake, with water icing.