After browsing this website for ideas, I created a pretty princess castle cake for my daughter's 1st birthday. The day before the party, I baked 3 boxes of Duncan Hines Chocolate double fudge cake mixes and split them between two 12" round Wilton cake pans. I baked each cake 55 minutes at 350.
After baking, I cooled each cake for half of the day. I used Wilton's buttercream icing recipe but instead of using 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, I used 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract and maybe a tiny more later on to add more flavor. This tasted great with the chocolate cake! I made 3 batches of the icing and stored them in bowls on the counter with a wet towel over the bowl. I combined two of the bowls and tinted the icing light pink using Wilton's concentrated dye. I split the third bowl and left one white, and tinted the other a light purple.
Next, I made the castle towers using ice cream cones. I melted Wilton's white chocolate pieces in a big glass cup in the microwave, dipped 5 sugar cones in the chocolate and spread it evenly with my fingers, and then rolled it in Wilton's pink and white sugar crystals. I took two cake cones and stacked them end to end and pushed shrimp cocktail toothpicks inside to hold the two together. I then used a spoon to put the melted chocolate on and spread it with my fingers. I then dipped 4 more cake cones and let all of the cones dry on tin foil. Next, I evened the cakes out using a knife and cut off the domes. I would have frozen the cakes at this point if I had freezer space to make them easier to work with during icing.
I put some iridescent tissue paper over a 14" inch round cake pan, and then covered with a large piece of parchment paper for protection. I put my bottom cake layer on top of the parchment paper. I squeezed a rim of frosting around the top edge of the bottom layer to create a barrier for my filling. I then spread 2 non-refrigerated pudding cups on the top of the layer (I would use more next time). Then I placed the second layer on top of the pudding layer. I didn't know a good way to do this...I would love some advice on that! I spread a thin layer of the pink icing using Wilton's metal spatulas. This is the crumb layer and doesn't look really pretty (especially when you work with chocolate cake). I let this dry for about 30 minutes. Then I spread a very thick layer of frosting on the cake doing the sides first and then top. I dipped my spatula in a warm bowl of water to help smooth the cake. It wasn't perfect, but I had to stop at some point. Next, I took Wilton cake sparkles and put in a plastic bag and rolled with a rolling pin until it became sparkle dust. I sprinkled and blew the dust from my hand onto the cake for added shimmer. I let this dry for at least 30 minutes before I decorated it. I ended up trimming little holes in the cake so the cones were more stable. The decoration frosting also helped hold the cones in place. When I finished decorating, I cut the parchment paper with scissors really close to the bottom rim of the cake so you couldn't see it. I was left with a pretty cake on my iridescent tissue.
I stored the cake on the counter overnight. I cut some sides off an extra large Huggies diaper box and partially covered the cake with that and then used Tin foil to cover the front and create a little tent for the cake. It was way too tall to use any kind of storage container. I didn't do this so much for freshness, but to protect it from general elements and my cats! Have fun making your cakes!