Haunted Castle Cake

1 tube (16-1/2 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, softened
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Icing and Assembly:
4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Orange, black, violet, brown, green and yellow paste food coloring
Pastry tips—round #4, 6 and basketweave #46
Orange Tic Tacs
White pearl dragees
New paintbrush
1 package devil's food cake mix (regular size)
4 cups buttercream frosting
8 wooden skewers (12 inches)

In a large bowl, combine cookie dough and flour. Press into a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan lined with nonstick foil or parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before carefully removing to a cutting board. Trace full patterns onto waxed paper; cut out. Arrange patterns over baked cookie. With a serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut out castle pieces and tombstones. Set cutouts aside.

To make icing: In a large bowl, combine the first three icing ingredients; add water and vanilla. Beat on low speed until blended. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Remove 1/4 cup icing and tint orange. Place a damp cloth over bowl and cover tightly between uses.

To decorate: Place all castle pieces on a parchment paper-lined work surface. Insert #4 tip into a pastry bag; fill with orange icing. Pipe a window outline on piece A and a door outline on piece B (do not fill in). Pipe and fill in two windows on piece B and one window on each C piece. Press Tic Tacs around all windows.

Remove 1/4 cup icing and tint black. Insert #4 tip into pastry bag; fill with black icing. Outline castle pieces and tombstones in black. Fill in window on piece A and door. On parchment paper, pipe 2-1/2-in. bat and cat shapes. Place a damp paper towel over pastry tip, place in a small resealable bag and set aside. Add pearl dragees for cat and bat eyes; add pupils if desired.

Insert #4 tip into pastry bag; fill with 1/4 cup white icing. Carefully pipe white icing "mortar" between Tic Tacs. On parchment paper, pipe 2-in. ghosts. Tint some white icing gray and thin if necessary; fill in tombstones. Remove 3/4 cup reserved icing and tint violet. Insert #46 tip into pastry bag; add 1/3 cup of the violet icing. On waxed paper, pipe 12-15 fence sections. (Each section has three strips, about 1 to 1-1/2-in. long.) Set aside 1 tablespoon violet icing for bricks. Thin remaining violet icing with 1-2 teaspoons water. Insert #6 tip into pastry bag; fill with thinned icing. Fill in castle pieces with thinned icing.

Tint remaining icing brown. Using tips #4 and 6, pipe a tree onto parchment paper. Let all pieces dry for 24 hours. With a paintbrush and reserved dark violet icing, add brick designs to castle pieces; let dry. Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using two greased 9-in. round baking pans. Tint buttercream frosting green. Spread frosting between layers and over the top and sides of cake.

To assemble: Just before serving, add each castle piece to cake and support with skewers. Just behind the center of the cake, make a 3-in. wide x 1-in.- deep cut into the cake; gently insert castle piece B. About 1 in. behind piece B, make a 1-1/2-in. wide x 1-in.-deep cut into the cake; insert piece A. For C pieces, make 1-1/2-in. x 1-in.-deep cuts in front and on each side of piece B; add remaining pieces. Finishing touches: If desired, add phrases and a bunch of flowers to the tombstones; arrange on cake. Add faces on the ghosts; attach ghosts and bat with icing. Add the cat, trees and fence. Makes 1 haunted castle.