Thursday, November 1, 2012

Barbie cake!

The makings of a quadruple Barbie cake. Because we are all about fulfilling long delayed childhood dreams for those we love. Also, we like a baking challenge.

quadruple barbie cake
{quadruple barbie cake}

We bought a Wonder Mold, three extra doll cake picks, one small package of white fondant. Optional: decor of your choice - we picked out silver food spray (because how could I resist?) and some sparkles and I already had some gel food coloring. This is all cheaper if you strategically use Michael's coupons but in hindsight I'd probably just order everything online because three trips to Michael's (my personal hell) in one week nearly unhinged me.

I picked out our recipes. This would have been much faster if we used cake mix. Normally, I have nothing against cake mix in a time crunch and if you make your own frosting most people will never know. The Barbie cake dilemma is that the ratio of cake to frosting is way off. You have a big slab of cake with just a small outside layer of frosting, so I was concerned that the cake mix taste would be too prominent.

I made a master shopping list.

D and I brainstormed decorating ideas and came up with some sketches. We spent waaaay more time talking about these cakes than any sane couple ever would. We're firmly united in our love of ridiculous projects.

I made a schedule:
Tuesday night - bake chocolate and red velvet cakes.
Wednesday night - bake semolina and coconut-lime cakes, make french buttercream frosting.
Thursday night - re-whip french buttercream, make cream cheese frosting, make chocolate glaze, frost all cakes, make fondant bodices and set aside.
Friday - transport (rock solid from the overnight refrigeration) cakes out to the desert, stick the bodice picks in at the last minute.

It worked out pretty well, but you probably won't be surprised to hear that we were up until 2 am on Thursday night. If I'd been able to take a half day off of work it wouldn't have been an issue, but I wasn't about to tell my boss I needed time off to make an enormous Barbie cake.

Here are the ladies and the recipes I used for each of them.

coconut skirt
{coconut lime cake with a french buttercream crumb coat under the lime glaze, decorated with coconut flakes}

cream cheese ruffles

french buttercream scallops

chocolate with sprinkles
{double chocolate cake with chocolate glaze frosting, gradated sprinkle effect}

Recipe notes: 

Everything was a single batch except the chocolate frosting which was doubled. The cake mold holds 5 - 6 cups of batter, which meant some of these cakes had more batter than I could use. I filled the mold 3/4 full each time and if there was leftover batter then I poured it into little ramekins and baked them for snacking. Cake fuel!

We've made the coconut lime cake from Smitten Kitchen before so we knew it would be good. I think next time I might want to try subbing in some coconut milk for the buttermilk. I love coconut, so I can't get enough. I did a crumb coat with some of the french buttercream I made for the lemon rosemary semolina cake, then drizzled the lime glaze over it and then just packed coconut flakes on top.

I'm not a huge red velvet fan but it's always a crowd pleaser so I searched for a recipe online. The one I used was very moist but had enough food coloring that I could taste it in the finished product and it squicked me out. I'd probably make it again but I'd cut down on the food coloring by 3/4 and see if it was still red enough to give the effect. The cream cheese frosting that goes with the recipe (scroll down to see it) is good and all I did was add a little splash of lemon juice for extra tartness and slightly less powdered sugar. It made the frosting a bit soft, but I'll take taste over structural integrity any day. I was going for this ribbon effect but I didn't have anything even closely resembling the right tip, so it turned out a little wonky. It didn't help that it was 100 degrees out and I kept having to stop and stick everything in the fridge to cool down.

The lemon rosemary semolina cake was very, very good and will get added to my binder. It isn't very sweet and is slightly reminiscent of cornbread. The rosemary is just a hint of flavor, I might even up it next time. This cake doesn't need frosting at all, but if you have to frost it then Brave Tart's faux French buttercream is a good option. The frosting is rich but not very sweet. If you aren't a fan of butter, you won't like it, but it paired really well with the simple cake. I generally make this Swiss buttercream, which uses egg whites. The French buttercream uses egg yolks and the taste ends up being almost like ice cream. Like Swiss buttercream, it must be eaten at room temperature. If it's even the slightest bit cold, all you taste is butter.

The double chocolate cake remains the only chocolate cake I'll happily devour with or without frosting. I used the emergency chocolate frosting recipe and they paired perfectly. It was the simplest one to decorate because I just used an offset spatula to slather the frosting on and then added sprinkles.

And here is a rather grainy cell phone picture of the ladies in action that night. We bought sparkler candles, placed one on each cake and crossed our fingers that we wouldn't end up with any flaming Barbies.

quadruple barbie cake!

Adventures in fondant coming tomorrow ...


  1. Amazing job! Well worth the late night!

  2. these are just wonderful! I envy such talent!

  3. I had a Barbie cake that was exactly like this for my fourth and fifth birthdays. I think it still takes the cake (ha. ha.) as my favorite ever!

    The Glossy Life

  4. SO amazing. I never had one of these as a child and feel as if I must fulfill that need!

  5. this is seriously ingenious and impressive!

  6. Best thing I've ever seen. Hands down.

  7. rachel, you are where taste meets structural integrity. these are so, so good.

  8. wow- this is legit talent right here. I'm beyond impressed...barbie cake wars? haha.

  9. My mom used to make my sister and I Barbie cakes when we were younger. Yours are beyond amazing! Love!

  10. This is amazing!!! I completely forgot Barbie cakes even existed! I would have KILLED for one when I was 6 or 7. So jealous of your ridiculously awesome throwback

  11. Pretty sure this qualifies you & D for the Best. Friends. Ever. award. These are so fantastic.

  12. Um, you've outdone yourself. These are beautiful.

  13. i legitimately had a cake like this at one of my birthdays! :)

  14. So adorable! What was the occasion for such fun cakes?

    1. It was for a friend's 40th birthday party - one cake for each decade!

  15. That definitely takes some dedication! I'm quite impressed. :)

  16. Now I'm in awe! These are seriously fantastic looking cakes. Great job to the both of you!

  17. Those look fantastic!

    I think this would be a great candidate for a Barbie cake, and the delicious marshmallow filling solves the cake / icing ratio issue...

  18. Wow, you're the *best* friend.

  19. I cannot believe you made these. Incredible.


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