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Haunted Castle Cake

 Haunted Castle Cake
Although this cake will steal the show, it's really not that difficult to make. The castle and tombstones are decorated sugar cookies, the cake is a simple layer cake, and the ghosts, tree, bat and cat are made from simple icing. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
12 ServingsPrep: 1 hour 20 min. Bake: 15 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 1 tube (16-1/2 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, softened
  • 1/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ICING AND ASSEMBLY:
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Orange, black, violet, brown, green and yellow paste food coloring
  • Pastry tips—round #4, 6 and basketweave #46
  • Orange Tic Tacs
  • White pearl dragees
  • New paintbrush
  • 1 package devil's food cake mix (regular size)
  • 4 cups buttercream frosting
  • 8 wooden skewers (12 inches)

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine cookie dough and flour. Press into a 15-in.
  • x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan lined with nonstick foil or parchment
  • paper. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Cool completely before carefully removing to a cutting board.

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Haunted Castle Cake (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • Trace full patterns onto waxed paper; cut out. Arrange patterns over
  • baked cookie. With a serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut out
  • castle pieces and tombstones. Set cutouts aside.
  • To make icing: In a large bowl, combine the first three icing
  • ingredients; add water and vanilla. Beat on low speed until blended.
  • Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Remove 1/4
  • cup icing and tint orange. Place a damp cloth over bowl and cover
  • tightly between uses.
  • To decorate: Place all castle pieces on a parchment paper-lined work
  • surface. Insert #4 tip into a pastry bag; fill with orange icing.
  • Pipe a window outline on piece A and a door outline on piece B (do
  • not fill in). Pipe and fill in two windows on piece B and one window
  • on each C piece. Press Tic Tacs around all windows.
  • Remove 1/4 cup icing and tint black. Insert #4 tip into pastry bag;
  • fill with black icing. Outline castle pieces and tombstones in
  • black. Fill in window on piece A and door. On parchment paper, pipe
  • 2-1/2-in. bat and cat shapes. Place a damp paper towel over pastry
  • tip, place in a small resealable bag and set aside. Add pearl
  • dragees for cat and bat eyes; add pupils if desired.
  • Insert #4 tip into pastry bag; fill with 1/4 cup white icing.
  • Carefully pipe white icing "mortar" between Tic Tacs. On parchment
  • paper, pipe 2-in. ghosts. Tint some white icing gray and thin if
  • necessary; fill in tombstones.
  • Remove 3/4 cup reserved icing and tint violet. Insert #46 tip into
  • pastry bag; add 1/3 cup of the violet icing. On waxed paper, pipe
  • 12-15 fence sections. (Each section has three strips, about 1 to
  • 1-1/2-in. long.) Set aside 1 tablespoon violet icing for bricks.
  • Thin remaining violet icing with 1-2 teaspoons water. Insert #6 tip
  • into pastry bag; fill with thinned icing. Fill in castle pieces with
  • thinned icing.
  • Tint remaining icing brown. Using tips #4 and 6, pipe a tree onto
  • parchment paper. Let all pieces dry for 24 hours.
  • With a paintbrush and reserved dark violet icing, add brick designs
  • to castle pieces; let dry.
  • Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using two
  • greased 9-in. round baking pans. Tint buttercream frosting green.
  • Spread frosting between layers and over the top and sides of cake.
  • To assemble: Just before serving, add each castle piece to cake and
  • support with skewers. Just behind the center of the cake, make a
  • 3-in. wide x 1-in.- deep cut into the cake; gently insert castle
  • piece B. About 1 in. behind piece B, make a 1-1/2-in. wide x

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Haunted Castle Cake (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • 1-in.-deep cut into the cake; insert piece A. For C pieces, make
  • 1-1/2-in. x 1-in.-deep cuts in front and on each side of piece B;
  • add remaining pieces.
  • Finishing touches: If desired, add phrases and a bunch of flowers to
  • the tombstones; arrange on cake. Add faces on the ghosts; attach
  • ghosts and bat with icing. Add the cat, trees and fence. Yield: 1
  • haunted castle.
Editor’s Note: Meringue powder is available from Wilton Industries. Call 1-800/794-5866 or visit www.wilton.com. Use of a coupler ring will allow you to easily change pastry tips for different designs.