Today’s tour host is Glynis Smy, who will be sharing an interview with me. Head on over to Glynis’ blog to learn more about me and Wizard of Ends.
Today is also the final day of the 99c book bundle iBooks promotion.
I’m grateful to have had my work promoted by iBooks for the last four weeks, and have already seen a vast improvement in overall sales. Thank you, iBooks!
If you’re looking for a bargain read and new fantasy series, grab Doorway to Destiny, a bundle of 13 fantasy and science fiction books, for only 99c. Be sure to browse some of the other bundles on offer at iBooks too – it may be your last chance to get so many books for as little as 99c a bundle!
Now, on to the fantasy castle cake I promised…
My daughter’s first birthday is coming up in November, and, since I hadn’t baked in years, I decided to do a trial run of the fantasy castle birthday cake I plan to bake for her special day. Thus, I invaded my sister’s kitchen and we worked a little magic together. The results were not too shabby considering it’s been about ten years, I think, since I last baked anything other than a microwave box cake!
Baking this fantasy cake was far easier than I imagined, so I decided to share the recipe and results with you as part of the Wizard of Ends book tour.
5 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
2 cups milk
1.5 cups vegetable oil
4.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Note that the cake is a little on the small side – if you aren’t having a lot of other children over for cake, it’s more than enough, but, if you’re baking for a party and/or extended family, I advise that you double the recipe and use bigger baking pans to make each layer bigger.
1. Preheat oven to 177°C (350°F). Grease your baking tins, and don’t forget to do the sides too – I used three square tins.
3. Pour batter into baking tins.
4. Place in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the tops are golden. To test if the cake is ready, stick a fork in the centre – when it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
700g icing sugar
6 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Food colouring of your choice, if you don’t want vanilla icing (I used crimson pink)
1. Beat the butter until soft.
2. Add the other ingredients.
3. Beat until smooth and creamy.
Note: Don’t make the same mistake I did – if you need to soften the butter a little, be extra careful not to melt it, or it makes the icing far too runny for decorating.
Making & Decorating the Cake
1. Once the cakes have cooled, cut off the domed top of each cake to make the tops flat.
2. Ice the top of one cake, then place the second cake on top and ice that too. (Note: I found this to be far too sweet for my taste – alternatives my other half suggested for baby’s real birthday cake are caramel or jam.)
3. Add an ice cream cone to each corner, then cut a square piece out of the third cake to place in the centre and ice the top. Cut another two smaller square pieces (these two must be the same size) from the third cake and place them on top of the third square, with icing between each layer. Note that you will have some cake pieces left over – I used leftover icing to ice these for an ‘after-baking snack’.
5. You can get creative with decorating. We used fruity Liquorice Allsorts for the crenellations (parapet with open spaces), pink wafer biscuits for the doors and windows, and chocolate vermicelli and edible pink ‘crystals’ for further decoration. We also added a little something to the turrets. For the actual birthday cake, we purchased a horse and carriage and a candle in the shape of a ‘1’, but we obviously didn’t use those for the test run. It finishes the cake off nicely too if you use white piping to make the doors and windows more realistic, but we were a little short on time, so didn’t do that this time.
As you can see from these images, melting the butter makes icing the cake a tad difficult! However, I’m still stoked with the results. This cake was super easy to make and, now that I’ve learnt from a few mistakes, baby’s actual birthday cake is bound to turn out really cool! I’ll try to remember to share a picture of it when the time comes (her birthday is 6 November – feel free to remind me).
Most important of all was the look on Myka’s face when she saw the cake:
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you make this cake, please post a picture online and share the link here. I would love to see how yours turned out and perhaps steal some more decorating ideas from you!
Release date: 23 October 2014
Note: From 24 October, Book 2’s price will go up to $2.99