Tangled Tower Cake

My almost 4-year-old, the Prima Ballerina, is in love with Tangled.  Everything about that movie has captured my daughter’s heart.  So when I asked her what theme she wanted for her birthday party, she immediately answered Rapunzel.  We had 2 parties, one for kids and one for family.  At the first, I bought a generic fairy cake from our local grocery store.  I’m not amazing at baking.  I am quite a crafty person (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about crafts, right?).  For some reason, my baking goes horribly wrong, ending in letting my children put sprinkles on it so I can shamelessly explain that it looks the way it does because “the girls helped.”  Now that I’ve said this, everyone knows my secret!  I doubt I was fooling anyone anyways…

So Prima Ballerina stated in her matter-of-fact, 4-year-old attitude that I will be making a Rapunzel cake for her next party instead of  a fairy cake.  Oh, really?  Am I?  Yes.  I would do almost anything to see her face light up.  One of these days I’ll post her sweet little angel face on here so you can see what I mean.  How could I ever say “no” to that happy face she makes?  My children are my biggest weakness.  They have me wrapped around their fingers.

I saw a tower cake here.  It was explained well with lots of pictures, but there were issues with the cake, and I think I made some good changes to it.  I just want to give credit where it is due.  Here is a picture of MY finished cake.

Here we go!  First, I needed to create a stable base so that the cake wouldn’t tip over.  I enlisted my step-dad’s help in this because this way I didn’t have to go through the home improvement store asking employees, “Where is something that looks like a rod and some of those nut and bolt thingies?”  I swear I’m not challenged in home improvement and know the difference between a nut and bolt, but whenever I walk into a store like that I feel that’s what people think I say.  I don’t look like I belong there. I used:

  • 16″ pizza pan that I have had for ages
  • 2″ PVC pipe that was then cut down to about 17 1/4″ in length
  • 18″ rod (I’m sure there is a technical name for this)
  • 2 “platforms” that can be screwed onto either end of the rod
  • 4 sets of nuts and bolts

My step-dad drilled the holes for the bolts on the pan, and secured the platform on the bottom, screwed the rod on the platform, then put the PVC pipe on, and finally screwed the top platform to keep the PVC pipe from moving.  Could I have not used the PVC pipe at all?  Probably.  I would have needed to use a lot more rice krispies later (which I’ll get to).  The price for all of these items (minus the pizza pan that I already had) probably came out to about $7.

I then covered the bottom in aluminum foil so my old pizza pan wasn’t visible and the bolts underneath the pan wouldn’t scratch whatever surface I had it on.

Now for the edible part!  Here is a list of what I used for this cake (it fed about 30 people):

  • 2 packages of cake (I used one chocolate and one white, but it doesn’t necessarily matter) and whatever goes into making those cupcakes and bundt cake
  • 1 box of Rice Krispies
  • 1 bag of marshmallows
  • 1 ice cream cone (I think sugar cone is the best for this)
  • graham crackers (I used about 5 making this)
  • flower sprinkles
  • 3 tubs of white frosting (and use food coloring to change some of it)
  • icing (I used green and a very small amount of black)
  • color food spray (I got purple to make the roof the color it is.  You could probably color the icing instead, but it was SUPER easy to spray it instead.)  You can get this pretty much anywhere in the cake decorating area.
  • yellow embroidery yarn for the hair

I made a bundt cake with 1 package of cake mix and cupcakes with the other.  There needs to be 1 JUMBO cupcake for the top and normal sized cupcakes for the base.  I looked at various stores and the cheapest jumbo cupcake pan was at Walmart for under $10.  I ended up going to my favorite bakery O&H Danish Bakery and got an unfrosted, jumbo cupcake for $2 instead of spending the money on a pan.

While the cakes were baking, I started on the Rice Krispie treat tower.  There are a few tricks to molding rice krispies.  You have to keep your hands from getting sticky in order to mold your treats.  I just kept rinsing them with warm water, but I’ve heard that coating them in butter works as well.  Also, I compressed the treats to get rid of a lot of air, making it easier to mold into the shape I wanted.  I just did this by taking pieces of the treats and pressing them in my hands.  I then flattened it and went around the PVC pipe, starting from the bottom and working my way up little by little.  I’ve read that putting a layer of marshmallow puff on the surface helps the treats to stick more easily.  I didn’t need to, but I figured I’d suggest it if you are having trouble.  I also waited 15 or so minutes after I made the treats to cool it off a little before working it on the tower.  It will tend to sag until it’s cool.  After I finished getting them all on the tower, I wrapped the entire thing in Saran wrap and let it sit for about an hour.  I had ZERO sagging after it set.  This was the problem with the previous blogger using the pecan pinwheel rolls as her tower.  Rice Krispies seemed to be a perfect substitute.  After everything was cooled, I thinly frosted it with white frosting (also make sure to frost the platform above the krispies).

After finishing the tower, I started on the bottom cakes.  I cut the bundt cake in half and also made a bigger center hole to be able to more seamlessly fit it around the tower.  I wrapped the cake around the tower and then used the remnants of the cake that I cut out and placed them under the cake in order to lean it against the tower (otherwise the cake tended to lean away from the tower and not hold).  I then put the cupcakes around the bundt cake.

Next, I colored the frosting green for grass (leave some for the top of the tower, though).  I put it in a parchment bag with a decorator’s tip that said to make grass.  I frosted the entire bundt cake and cupcakes using that.

I then placed the sugar cone on top of the jumbo cupcake and frosted the entire top (leaving the paper on the cupcake).  I used the purple color spray to spray the frosting.  I refrigerated that to keep the color from bleeding.

I then created the top of the tower.  I used graham crackers and took a sharp small knife and worked slowly to cut 2 full graham crackers, stacked next to each other, into a circle.  It was easier to make a slight line indent in the cracker and keep doing that over and over than try to cut it right away.  It cracked if I worked too fast at it.  I took a little frosting and placed it on top of the platform.  I then took other crackers and cut them to look like little supports for the tower’s edge.  I used frosting to “glue” them on the tower.

Then I took the yarn and braided a long strand to make it look like rapunzel’s hair (just so there was a smaller chance of the yarn getting all over the place and not looking neat and clean).

I used a little frosting to stick the “hair” to the center top of the tower and put the cupcake on top of that to hold it in place.  I then crafted a “window” out of the graham cracker (pretty much rectangles) and frosted those in place on the cupcake.  The hair should look like it’s coming out of the window.

I used a tube of green icing for the vines, but you could probably have used the same frosting as the grass with a small decorator’s tip.  I went around the window, up the tower, under the graham cracker “supports”, and just wherever it looked appropriate that a vine would grow on a tower.  I took the black icing and used it to make the “window” look dark on the inside.

I took the flower shaped sprinkles and placed them all over the vines to make it look like flowers were growing.  Then I sprinkled them all over the grass.

ALL DONE!  Phew!  It took me about 4-5 hours to make.  I didn’t think that was too bad of a time frame.  Everyone loved the cake.  Even the rice krispies were yummy for the next week!  Considering how previous cakes with much less intricacies have left me in the past, I was pleasantly surprised how this turned out.  Now I just have to figure out my next baking adventure.  I’ll be willing to give it another shot.  Hopefully this will help explain how to make a tower cake to others pressured by their adorably, insistent young tangled fans!  Good luck!


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