I realize these cakes are slightly on the corny side. They do look like something you’d see at a county fair somewhere in the deep South, don’t they? But I just love ‘em, and they’re a pretty big hit among the girls-under-ten crowd. I made my first doll cake four years ago when my niece turned five, and all I can remember is the look on her face when she saw the finished cake for the first time. Three months later I made one for her sister, and before I knew it I was making them for my friends’ kids and their friends’ kids. (Yes, I made all the cakes pictured here.)
If you have a little girl in your life, you should at least attempt to make this cake. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t turn out perfectly — she won’t care. I’ll be making one later this month for my little friend Sasha, and I’ll be posting step-by-step instructions as I go along. I’m even thinking of posting my first ever how-to video on icing roses and piped decorations…. Stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, here are basic instructions for how to make a doll cake yourself:
1 9×2 inch cake
1 8 x2 inch cake
1 6×2 inch cake
1 cup custard or fruit filling
4 cups stiff buttercream icing
1/2 pound colored rolled fondant
1 plastic doll with articulable arms
ribbon, fairy wings and other accessories as desired (check your local fabric & crafts store)
icing tips and couplers
10-inch cardboard cake round
Torte the 9-inch cake (slice it into two layers) and attach the bottom half to a 10-inch cardboard round with a dollop of buttercream. Spread the cake filling over the top of the bottom layer. Place the top half over the filling. Repeat for the 8-inch and 6-inch cakes, but do not attach the smaller cakes to cardboard rounds. You should have three filled cakes.
With a spoon, gently scoop out a 2-inch hole from the 8-inch and 6-inch cakes before layering them on top of the 9-inch cake. To attach each cake layer to the cake beneath it, place a dollop or two of icing between them. The hollowed-out 8-inch cake should be sitting on top of the 9-inch cake, and the hollowed-out 6-inch cake should be sitting on top of the 8-inch cake. You will have stacked the cakes one on top of the other, largest on the bottom and smallest on the top. The finished cake “tower” should look like a small tiered wedding cake.
Your doll should be naked and rinsed clean. (You might also want to wrap her head and hair in aluminum foil to protect her from icing during the decorating process.) Once she’s ready, plunge her body, feet-first, through the hollowed-out cakes. Her feet should sink into the 9-inch cake base and her hips should sit directly above the top of the six-inch cake. You may need to fill the hole around her with buttercream to keep her securely in place.
Using a cake decorating turntable, trim the cake layers on an angle so that the tiers slope downward, creating a skirt shape.
Cover the entire cake with a “crumb coat,” a thin layer of icing that will lock the crumbs in place to prevent them from getting into your butterceam. Proceed with a generous layer of buttercream over the entire cake/skirt.
With an icing bag, use the rose petal tip to pipe the skirt “ruffles” around the base of the cake, coming up the skirt about half way.
Roll out the fondant and cut into tear-drop shapes to create the skirt layers, which will fall over the ruffles. Arrange these in an overlapping fashion around the skirt, over the buttercream, gathering the fondant pieces gently around the doll’s waist. Cut a small rectangular piece of fondant to form into the dress bodice, pressing it against the doll’s body.
Cover all the dress “seams” (where the fondant pieces connect and overlap) with piped icing decorations. Use a star tip to create ruffles, or the plain tip to create pearl-like dots.
Embellish your creation with ribbons, fairy wings, icing roses, etc.