Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Rapunzel Cake

A couple months ago my brother and his family began planning their cross country move.  He got a job in Idaho and they made it so they could visit us on their way!  I was thrilled to see them.  He casually mentioned that they would be coming through on his daughter's birthday and this year she really wanted the Rapunzel tower for her birthday cake.  
My brother is a master at making birthday cakes... he's made a shark, monster truck, a frog... I could go on and on... all huge, amazing... incredible.  I cower in his cake making skills as well as all his other skills... for example I made him promise on to do pottery - because pottery is my thing... he didn't keep his promise and he could probably be a world wide famous potter if he tried. Incredible.
So him mentioning that I make the Rapunzel tower for  his daughter's birthday sounded like a good challenge... Eden's birthday is only a few days after his daughter's birthday so I asked Eden what she thought about the having a Rapunzel tower for her birthday and she was thrilled...
She's easy to please! 
I looked at hundreds of Rapunzel cakes on Pinterest... I googled it.... looked at the structure the colors... etc -- researched for hours.  But I never saw anyone that gave instructions except for some that looked "interesting".  So here is how I did it...
I got a wooden board and screwed a wooden dowel into the bottom of it.  The dowel is just a little bit taller than 2 feet.  If you are going to do a tower... it need to be a TOWER!!!

I baked three base cakes... two chocolate with a strawberry layer sandwiched in-between (gotta have pink... It's a girl thing). I dirty iced them (love saying that because I pretend I'm all cool like Cake Boss) and wrapped the base in plastic wrap.
Next I made three batches of rice crispy treats and formed a tower around the wooden dowel.  For the house of the tower I used a yogurt container and for the roof I used a funnel.  
I then took the another layer of rice crisps and wrapped it around the body of the house... yes!  It gave me the shape I wanted.  With long wooden BBQ kabob sticks I attached the little window seat area.  I took a knife and carved the tower to the shape I wanted... this really HELPED it look like a tower.. and my kiddos were delighted with the snitches... they are like vultures waiting for carnage when I decorate a cake.. I'm serious!
I then started to cover it with fondant.  I get a lot of questions about fondant and I have the perfect recipe I love and go to all the time.  I found it (here).  I did brown "rock" on the bottom with intentions of brushing it up with grays and blacks, but I wish now I would have done gray and touched it up with browns and blacks, but it is all good... I would have liked something different from the wood color, but a minor detail that an artist like me would lay awake at night pondering.
With it all covered and the shape I wanted... I started the detail work. It's a lot of just get in there and do it.. try it.  If it works celebrate - if not tear it down and start again!  The shingles were my favorite part.  I loved the colors... I randomly layered them, overlapping, mixing up colors... 
The window seat tower was made from another little funnel for the basic shape and then I carved it down to fit perfectly.  I ran out of colored fondant so if you look closely the shingles on the little roof are a slightly different color... haha!  I love imperfections -- good reminder that we are not the Great Artist - we all try to hard to mimic!

I then started piping little leaves and grass.  I love how you can cover all your mistakes with frosting. Decorating a cake isn't about making it perfect so much as learning to fix, correct, and hide the imperfections... I love that.  You can tell by this picture that - it was almost midnight... at this point.  Yeah, late night! A cake like this takes TIME, TIME, TIME!
I made all the flowers out of fondant.  Forming each leave and petal is also time consuming so that was also why I was up so late. The morning of the party I finally had the courage to work on Rapunzel.  That was the part I was most worried about.  BUT thankful I had my brother and his wife to help. My brother worked on the face (he made a t out of kabob sticks and formed the head shoulders around that - this is also what we stuck into the cake to hold it there), his wife worked on the dress, and I worked on her hair.  With something like this - you JUST HAVE TO TRY.  Just dive in and pray it works.
The hair was almost disastrous. I couldn't get it on the cake because the other layer of fondant had dried.  It kept drooping... but I kept at it.  Brushing water on the tower and the hair.  Holding it.  Sticking a toothpick here and there and PRAYING like crazy that I hadn't screwed up big time! It was intense.  But it WORKED!
So that is how the cake was construction.  Lots of research, time, patience... and a WHOLE lot of LOVE!  So glad it turned out -- I believe it is my best cake as of today... 
and perfect for these two!


Jeana said...

I am seriously in awe of your cake skills. You are cooler than Cake Boss.

I also appreciate how often you encourage people to JUST TRY! Get messy, make mistakes, that's how we learn!

Christa Forsythe said...

Thanks, Jeana! You encourage me so much with your words... thanks!

Jen F said...

You're amazing!!! What a work of art!

Carolyn said...

Amazing! I love the shingles too.