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Crumbling castle cake

This is not easy to make, unless you are a skilled and patient baker, which I am not.  It was a labour of love, but I guess we do love our children.  This was supposed to look a little more like a boys' Norman castle cake, but I think the upside down cones, princess figure and pastel coloured decorations (all I could find in the local shop) transformed it into a more girlie cake.  Luckily The Naughty Knight loves princesses and pink, and was more than happy with it. I found a light coloured silver spray. But you could buy a little black food colouring and add this to the white icing for a more manly gray colour and do without the silver spray.  You could make a trifle from the left over bits of cake.  I am ashamed I threw out the 4 ice cream cones after the cake was eaten as they had gone quite soggy, and there was a lot of waste from the icing when I covered the pieces of cake. This is not an ethical cake.  
  • 2 swiss rolls, cut into half , otherwise they will be too tall and collapse
  • 1 large rectangular sponge cake, homemade or shop bought, depending on skill, time, mood
  • white icing that you can roll out (I used 2 boxes of ready made icing) 
  • 3 tbsp jam - I used strawberry jam, but next time I might use apricot, as it might discolour less
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 can edible silver spray
  • 4 ice cream cones
  • decorations - I used pastel coloured butterflies as that was all that was available
  • patience - more than you probably have
  • a supportive friend/ partner to sprinkle a little sense back into your thinking
  • time 
  • realism - this does not have to be the perfect cake, your child will love it because you made it with them in mind
  1. Gently heat the jam and water in a small saucepan. Remove from heat.
  2. Choose a board to present the cake on.
  3. Place the four pieces of swiss roll on the board to be the towers. Don't worry if they droop inwards a little.  
  4. Cut the sponge cake into two longer pieces and two shorter pieces, all of similar height, to form the walls. 
  5. Roll out a bit of icing, enough to cover either one of the walls or one of the swiss rolls.  Better to do too big than too small.  
  6. Now use a pastry brush to spread jam over the cake, and as carefully as you can, wrap the cake in the icing, just as you would a present, cutting off any excess. Smooth the joins together. The heat of your hand will make the icing more pliable.  Try to keep the jam from oozing, but don't worry if it does. You can put a patch of white icing on top later.  
  7. Repeat until all the pieces of cake are covered with icing. 
  8. Now assemble the cake together, by glueing the sides together with the jam - the four swiss rolls in the corners, wedged together with the rectangular walls. An amazing feat of engineering, and they all seem to prop each other up.  
  9. Use a dab of water (or tears) on your fingers and off cuts of icing if necessary to smooth the joins together. This takes patience, time and the mantra "I am doing my best, it does not matter if it is not perfect".  
  10. If you are making fairy tale turrets, cover 4 ice cream cones with icing and glue upside down onto the swiss roll turrets with a little jam and extra icing.  If they droop or fall off don't worry, you can stick them back on and think it looks like a crumbling castle. 
  11. Use a knife to carefully and very gently mark the icing on the walls to make the walled effect, do not score too deeply.
  12. When it is all dry, cover with edible silver spray, if using. This hides some of the joins and errors. 
  13. Use decorations to improve the look.
  14. Cover some of the mistakes and ugly bits with princess or knights figures. 
  15. Serve to a delighted and grateful child, turning the lights down.