1 each 5-, 7-, 10-, and 14-inch round cake tiers, filled to 3-inch height
1 12-inch round cake tier, filled to 2-inch height
Filling of your choice for tiers
Frosting of your choice for crumb coat
1 20-inch-diameter, 1-inch-thick cake board
1 1/2 recipes Royal Icing Royal Icing
Paste food color in rose
22 1-inch-diameter peppermint balls
2 10-ounce bags of peppermint twists, or 85 pieces
5 10-ounce bags of mints
2 recipes Italian Meringue Italian Meringue
5 1/2 feet of 1-inch-wide white satin ribbon
16 2-inch-long 1/4-inch wooden dowels (cut ends must be flat, not angled)
20 3-inch-long 1/4-inch wooden dowels (cut ends must be flat, not angled)
Prepare the tiers:
Prepare the tiers:
Place each cake layer on a piece of foam board cut to fit it. Split the cake horizontally, and fill it to the specified height using whatever filling you desire. Spread the assembled tier with a thin layer of frosting to seal in crumbs, and chill until the crumb coat is set, about 30 minutes.
Prepare cake board:
Tint one recipe royal icing very pale pink using the rose food color. Thin by stirring in water 1 teaspoon at a time. Test the consistency by lifting the spoon and letting icing drip back into the bowl; the ribbon of icing on the surface should remain for 5 to 7 seconds before melting back into the bulk of the icing. Using a small offset spatula, spread the top of the cake board with the icing; let dry 6 hours or overnight. Using a hot glue gun, glue the ribbon to the edge of the board, overlapping ends in back. Remove peppermint twists from their wrappings (you will need about 85), and attach them to edge of cake board with hot glue or thick royal icing. (If the candies will not be eaten, hot glue works nicely and hardens quickly.)
Prepare the peppermint columns:
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the peppermint balls and flat mints, and select the most beautiful; you will need 22 balls and 88 flat round mints to create the pillars. Set the rest aside for chopping. Make the pillars by gluing (with the remaining half recipe royal icing) 2 flat mints, 1 ball, and 2 more flat mints together in a column; make 6 for the top set and 16 for the bottom set.
Let dry for 6 hours or overnight. (Note: You can also use hot glue to glue the pieces together, as long as they will not be eaten.) Once the columns have had time to dry, glue each 2-inch long dowel to the bottom of a peppermint column with either royal icing or hot glue, and glue 6 of the 3-inch dowels to the remaining peppermint columns. Make sure that the dowels are straight, as they will act as the supports for the cake. Set columns aside to dry 6 hours or overnight.
Prepare chopped mints for cake:
In the bowl of a food processor, process the remaining mints until coarsely chopped. Pour into strainer placed over a large bowl, and sift out the powder. Place the chopped mints into a sealed plastic container, and set aside.
Decorate the tiers:
Remove the tier from the refrigerator, and apply a final coat of Italian meringue that has been tinted a very pale pink; use a medium-size offset spatula to smooth the beauty coat. Do not refrigerate the frosted tiers.
Support and stack the tiers:
This cake should be assembled on the table on which it will be displayed, and it should not be moved once it is assembled. Insert eight 3-inch dowels into the 14-inch tier, and six into the 10-inch tier, placing them 3 inches from the edge. Insert the peppermint columns with the 2-inch dowels attached into the 12-inch tier, and those with the 3-inch dowels into the 7-inch tier, placing them 1 1/2 inches from the edge and making sure they stand exactly straight. Place the cake board on the table, and stack the tiers as directed above.