Birthday Cakes: Fantasy

How do you fancy making a fantasy fairy castle or an impressive Pirates of the Caribbean ship? If your children are expecting great things this year, don’t fret – it can be done! All it takes is a little time – and a few inventive ideas!

Disney Cinderella Palace

Disney’s signature Sleeping Beauty palace is tall and spindly, so it’s tricky to recreate in cake. But don’t worry – with some Swiss Rolls and ice-cream cones, it can be done!


  • Two square sponges
  • Rolled royal icing in pink
  • Rolled royal icing in grey
  • Butter icing in blue
  • One swiss roll (homemade or bought)
  • Mini rolls x 4
  • Ice-cream cones x 6
  • Cocktail sticks x 10
  • Edible silver balls
  • Edible gold dust (optional)

To Make:

Before you start this cake, print out a photograph of the palace (there are plenty online). You’ll see that it has a cube base with an arched doorway at the front, backed by one large tower, and several smaller towers.

  • First, cut your sponges in half and make into a pile to create the base (a rough cube).
  • Cover it in pink Royal Icing.
  • Now, make the entrance towers – roll up two mini rolls in grey Royal Icing, and mount one on either side of the cube.
  • Top each with half an ice-cream cone (cut off an inch from the top of each one), and pipe the cone in blue icing.
  • Cut out an arch shape in grey icing and attach to the front of the palace.
  • Next, make the main tower: roll the swiss roll in royal icing and use cocktail sticks to support it, propping it upright in the middle of the cube.
  • Top this with another cone and pipe it as before. You’ll have three cones left: attach these to the cube or build more towers from mini rolls.
  • Finally, decorate the cones with silver balls, gold dust (painted on to resemble gilding), and cocktail-stick flags.

Pirates of the Caribbean Ship

Ooh arrr, me hearties! If you’re planning a pirate-themed party, this dramatic cake is just the thing to set off your tea table.


  • Classic Chocolate Cake
  • Plain and chocolate butter icing
  • Blue food colouring
  • Chocolate Matchmakers or similar (1 box)
  • Chocolate Rolos (1 packet)
  • Three long wooden skewers

To Make:

  • Bake our Classic Chocolate Cake in a loaf tin, and leave to cool on a rack.
  • Next, put the cake onto a cake board (narrow end at the bottom), and cover it with chocolate butter icing. (You can add ‘wooden’ texture to the butter icing using a fork dragged along the sides.)
  • Using a batch of blue butter icing, pipe waves all over the rest of the board.
  • Stick the chocolate Rolos into the sides of the boat hull to create ‘cannon holes’.
  • Now you need to make the boat’s railings. Snap matchmakers into smaller pieces and stick them vertically at 1cm intervals all around the top edge of the boat.
  • Next comes the tricky bit! Dabbing a little splodge onto the top of each chocolate stick, connect them with horizontal matchmakers (joining each to the next to create a fence structure).
  • The final touches: Make sails from paper and cocktail sticks, and add a skull-and-crossbone flag at the top.
  • You can either buy LEGO pirate figures (just type ‘LEGO pirate’ into a search engine) or effective Pirate candles from a supplier such as If you’re feeling confident, you could even mould your own pirate from royal icing!

The Gingerbread House

If your children love fairy tales, give them a very special birthday cake – just warn them not to go inside, in case they meet the Gingerbread Witch!


  • 110g (4oz) soft brown sugar
  • 675g (1.5lb) plain flour
  • 1tbsp ginger
  • 3tsp ground allspice
  • 450g (1lb) golden syrup
  • 150ml (5fl oz or ¼ pint) milk
  • 110g (4oz) butter
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 eggs

To Make:

  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small pan, warm the golden syrup, milk, butter, and allow to melt before stirring in the bicarbonate of soda.
  • Pour the wet mix onto the dry ingredients and stir well, before adding the eggs.
  • Pour into two greased 20” baking trays and bake at 160°C for up to an hour (and at least 40 mins), then cool on a wire rack.
  • Now, you can assemble the house. Cut the gingerbread into thirds across the shortest length of the tray.
  • Split one third in half horizontally and you have four walls (two squares and two longer rectangles). Use thick glace icing to attach the walls to a cake board.
  • Cut the second gingerbread in half, and use to make a roof for the house.
  • Now let your imagination be free with piped icing, chocolate buttons, sweets and lollipop trees!

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