I made this castle cake for my daughter's first birthday. It was the first "fancy" cake I had ever made.
I used a Dunkin-Hines boxed mix (Devils Food) and added one mashed banana and one box of chocolate pudding. I dusted the pans with oil and cocoa to avoid white powder on my dark cake.
Tips I got to achieve a flat topped cake were: preheated the oven to 350 then waited 10 minutes before putting the pans in. Also to put the pans side by side but not touching each other or the sides of the oven. Once the cakes come out of the oven allow them to sit 5 minutes in their pans. If they are still rounded use a clean kitchen towel to gently push down on the cakes. This will help flatten them as well. Then allow 5 more minutes of cooling time in the pans before taking them out to finish cooling on a rack. If your cakes are still rounded you should trim them with a sharp knife or with a string.
Once cool I wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and froze them till the next day.
I took the first cake out of the freezer, dust off the loose crumbs and piped a ring around the edge to make a barrier for the filling (I did a custard fill from powdered custard). I then put it back in the fridge to harden.
To decorate the cake I used the butter-cream Icing recipe found on the Wilton cake website I need 1.5 batches to cover everything (two 9" cakes and 3 pillars).
Decorating I used empty and cleaned spice jars (plastic) as the columns. I covered them in icing and allowed them to sit while I was preparing the icing and before taking the cakes out of the freezer.
I took the first cake out of the freezer and piped a ring around the edge to make a barrier for the filling (I did a custard fill from powdered custard). I then put it back in the fridge to harden.
I used sugar cones (bought a Baskin Robbins) for the peaks then dipped them in pink chocolate and pink sugar sprinkles. The door is a graham cracker dipped in the pink chocolate and pink sugar sprinkles and the windows are mini graham cracker cookies.
I used Cakemate icing and the star shaped tip to do all the pink details.
I used a writing tip on a icing bag to do the white fill around the door.