My inspiration for this Princess Castle with Elmo Cameo came from all of your cakes put together, and a little of my own ideas thrown in there. Unfortunately I waited until the last minute to begin this project, and left very little room for error. PLAN AHEAD!! And grab and extra hand!!
OK, I began with 3 round 9" pans, 1 round deep Pyrex bowl for the very top layer, and I purchased a 1/2 sheet cake from a bakery last minute! (because I wasted 4 sheets cakes trying to make my own, I gave in!) I also made all of the butter cream icing with confectioners sugar, and bought a beginner's Wilton decorating kit (with tips, bags, and coloring). Doweling rods were placed in the cake (4) and I swirled the globs of icing to hide them because they were sticking out.
I made the towers out of sugar cones, held together by molding chocolate, then iced and a toothpick through the top to give stability. The top cones were then rolled in sugar sprinkles. The windows are mini-Chessmen cookies, iced and rolled in sugar sprinkles. The shrubs are made from little tart molds I found at a dollar store, and I cheated and bought the green icing aerosol can with tip attachments, big time saver. I also used this to make vines going up the towers and wall. Mote is made from blue jell-o. Drawbridge is Kit-Kat bar upside down, and dirt/sand is just some left over Chessmen crumbled up!
I tried to use Chiclets gum for the door behind Elmo, but I didn't like it and wound up falling when it got to the party anyways. The letters were the pre-made kind found everywhere, and was prefect because i was so pressed for time! The final details were the small flowers I piped using a small tip and took a toothpick and added some sugar sprinkles to break up some of the color.
For the airbrush look, they have this handy Color Mist, I bought at a craft store. I suggest using cardboard scrap or laying down newspaper because it does stain. Especially your hands! After I sprayed, I added more sugar sprinkles. Everything was held together with extra icing, and was edible! (except Elmo candle and the ribbon on top).