This Great Cake Contest entry was submitted by michellesauer from Gahanna, Ohio: A cake fit for a princess...made from cake and free standing fondant towers and walls.
The castle pieces: Weeks before, I started rolling out and cutting the fondant to form the pieces, so be sure to give yourself plenty of dry time...you'll need it! For the towers, I rolled out white fondant to a little thicker than 1/8" and cut pieces wide enough to wrap around a 1" piece of PVC pipe with about 1/8" of overlap. I made two of each length (6", 8", 9") in case of breakage. (I went to Lowe's and bought 1 piece of 1" PVC pipe that was 10' long. I had them cut it down for me into 12" pieces so it was easier to work with. They do it for free!)
I wrapped the cut fondant around a 10X (confectioner's) sugar dusted PVC pipe and secured by using a little bit of vodka on the overlap portion. I cut out little windows randomly around the towers and let them dry for days. (I slipped the PVC over golf club shafts and suspended between two chairs. After a couple of hours of dry time, give them a little spin on the PVC pipe to make sure they are not sticking. Add more 10x (or cornstarch) if you think you need it.
After the tubes were completely dry, I used pink fondant to form the peak/tops. I purchased a really cheap set of funnels and used the one that seemed to look the best with the size towers I made. Coat the funnel with 10X (or cornstarch) and push in pink fondant to take on the shape of the funnel. When I popped them out, I tried to get them a little more "pointed" with my hands. I placed them on top of the towers (again with a little vodka) in an upright position to dry. Add a 10X dusted straight pin in the top for the flags to go in later.
Cut out pieces of fondant to form your flags- a little thicker is better. Very carefully slide a pearl head straight pin through the fondant flag and dry (I used longer quilting pins since the flags would be a bit heavy). When you assemble the finished cake, you will take out the original pins and replace them with the flagged pins. (I downsized this cake for an order to a 10" round with a 5x5 square)- kept all the walls towers, etc. the same.
The walls of the castle were also made of fondant rolled out to about 1/8". I made them as long as the sides of the square cake I used on the top layer and decided on a height that would be just a bit taller than the actual cake (Mine were 8" tall with 2"of that being the stake at the bottom, and 5-1/4" wide). Use a small Letter "H" cookie cutter to do the top of the wall. When doing the bottom of the wall, I hand cut two "pickets" or stakes so that when it dried, all I had to do was push it down into the cake. Make four semi rounded pieces (I think they are called rooks- mine were 9" tall by 3" wide) of fondant that will cover at the corners of the cake. This should be a little bit taller than the castle walls. I allowed them to dry on the back side of large flower formers.
The banner: Again, fondant that I cut to the size I wanted and dried with spoons pushing up from underneath to give it that waving affect. You could also do this same thing with crumbled paper towels. The writing is done with a food marker that is edible (I found it at my local cake store or you can get them on Wilton.com) The cake: The base cake is a single layer cake done in a round 14" x 3" pan. I did not torte/fill/layer it, but I am sure you could. On top of the 14" round, place a 6 x 6 square (cut down from an 8 x 8). Be sure to use dowel rods to support the weight when you stack it.
Decorating: After all the fondant was dry, I added the royal icing vines, flowers and beads around the windows (this was several days before so it had plenty of time to dry) The night before: I iced the two cakes and stacked them and added decorating the sides & bottom of the base cake. The day of the party, I transported all of the individual pieces to the party and used butter cream to bas