No Piece of Cake: Building Castle Cakes for the Louisiana TFP Boys’ Summer Camps

August 31, 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle

By Andrea Philips

The last feature of every TFP boy’s summer camp is a castle cake, the finishing touch to the “medieval” banquet. The banquet often features a magnificent roasted pig, complete with an apple in its mouth. Louisiana style, the side dishes are just as well prepared and appetizing.

Every year, the TFP coordinators settle on a theme focusing on the Catholic heroes and history of a particular country. Thus, through the years, the young participants have learned about Catholic Spain, Portugal, Poland, Austria, France, Italy, and others. Often, the cakes feature a historical castle as well.

Beginning with Summer Camp Louisiana 2002, I was approached about baking the castle cake. With only basic baking skills, I delved into the project with more “brave” than “sage.”

Neuschwanstein castle cakeTwelve cake mixes later, and not a little over-whelmed, I recruited my husband, Brian, to help me assemble the daunting project on site, several hours before the banquet.

I will never forget that first assemblage as we seated through melting icing, and tottering, sliding towers. Subsequent yearly episodes were just as daunting.

Around cake #7, felicitous circumstances introduced Melinda Howze, who contributed her invaluable cake-baking skills to our amateur group. Suffice it to say, we no longer dread but tread with a lighter step.

Still, no castle cake is “a piece of cake”.

Why Our Lady Weeps


Melinda Howze and Andrea Phillips assembling castle cake This year, the theme of the camp being Germany, we were probed about attempting Neuschwanstein, a marvel of architecture, with not only massive proportions but sky-rocketing towers.

“Not a chance” was my reaction.

But then, inspiring pictures of Castle Cake Neuschwanstein from TFP Summer Camp Pennsylvania, by Cecilia Shibler and her young team, began appearing in my inbox.

I e-mailed Melinda. “Do we ‘oldies’ have courage for this?”

Neuschwanstein Castle CakeWe can do it!” was her answer.

Fifteen cake mixes, 2.6 gallons of icing, and 10 cups of filling later, we had a convincing semblance of Neuschwanstein.

We thought to share with our readers, not only a few pictures of castle cakes, but also a glimpse of the process involved in producing these all-edible structures.

Many, many hours go into each of these cakes, but every effort is amply paid when the boys, coming in from their last games and exercises, give us thumps-up, “coooool!” and shining eyes.

Indeed, baking a castle cake for a TFP boys’ summer camp may not be a piece of cake, but as soon as we finish one, we are looking forward to the next baking adventure – albeit glad for the year in between.

Neuschwanstein Castle Cake


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