tinkerbell doll cake

What's cuter, for a three-year-old birthday girl, than a doll cake? Maybe a doll cake with wings? Yep, it's Tinkerbell, covered in fondant, with a gigantic leaf hoop skirt. Pretty cute, actually.

I've seen a lot of gradient colored fondant cakes recently, and they are so pretty! Making one of those is on my eventual "to do" list, but for today, I borrowed the idea for the green fondant in Tink's skirt. I used three shades, though I think a really beautiful gradient cake should have four or five shades. Next time! (The bottom tier looks white because of the lighting, but it's actually light green.)

Mary the Food Librarian recently made a doll cake using a small bundt pan and a special doll built specifically for this purpose: it's actually just the Barbie head, arms, and torso mounted on a stick that you insert in the center of the cake. (Um, totally creepy, by the way.) I thought it would be fun to buy an actual Tinkerbell Barbie so the birthday girl could play with her again. I used the Wilton doll cake pan, which is essentially a tall, narrow bowl shape with a narrow (1 cm?) hold baked into the center. I think you could easily use a bowl, but mine were too shallow for the 9" tall doll. As it was, I had to bake an 8" tier to add height under the inverted bowl cake. 

Starting with the existing hole, I used a skinny serrated knife to widen the core, then pushed the crumbs out. The assembled cake was just a bit too tall for Tink, but rather than cut it down, I borrowed a tip from Mary and gently shoved a marshmallow into the center for her toes to rest on. It worked like a charm! 

After placing it on an 8" cake board (not visible, but providing support), I torted the cake, frosted between the layers, and crumb coated it, and then I was ready for the doll. I had removed her dress, but the shoes looked like they might never go back on her feet, so I left them on and wrapped the whole thing securely with plastic wrap up to her waist. Since I was making a fondant bodice and skirt, it could cover any plastic. I cut a rectangular strip of the darkest green fondant and wrapped it around the doll to form the top of the dress, leaving it a little long in the waist to cover any gaps. Then I carefully lowered Tink into the cake and lifted her arms just enough to get them out of the way so I could do the skirt. (Had I planned to cover the whole cake in fondant, I would have done that first, then put Tink in.) I rolled, cut, and veined the leaves, then started applying them around the cake, overlapping. I started from the back - so any seams wouldn't show. Ultimately, when I got all the way around, I was able to gently lift the first leaf to tuck the last one underneath, so it ended up there was no visible seam. I wasn't exactly sure how many layers I'd need until I had done two or three rows, so I just kind of eyeballed it. I was using the largest leaf cutter of a set of four, so I assumed if I started running out of room, I could just decrease the size of the leaves as I got closer to her waist. It worked out pretty well for two rows of each color. The top row of leaves is one size smaller. I created the fondant waistband to conceal the remaining gap between the leaves and the doll, but some tiny leaves would have worked, too.

I didn't actually apply the wings until I assembled the cake, the morning of the party. I covered the velcro with scotch tape, then used a blob of green fondant to attach the wings to Tink's back (that way, I wouldn't ruin the wings with the fondant).

Tink wasn't enough cake for all the guests, so I layered her on a 10" square vanilla cake with pink vanilla frosting, decorated with grass and sweet flowers.

Same cake, different background.

Skinny strips of dark and medium green grass, wavy blades with pointy tips. 

I love the look of the shiny fondant. This time it's just from being refrigerated, which isn't the best idea for fondant by and large. I didn't refrigerate Tink, but I did put the bottom layer in the fridge overnight. The flowers were actually made from homemade marshmallow fondant, as opposed to the Satin Ice or Pettinice store-bought I usually use, and it's a little more pliable to start with. The flowers took on that shine from being chilled, then warming up to room temperature.

I used the Absolutely the Best Yellow Cake recipe because it is a sturdy enough cake to stand up to being layered and sculpted. I like the taste of it, but upon reflection, I think I prefer a little lighter and softer cake. I will continue my search for the best vanilla cake.

The frosting is my usual vanilla bakery icing, but I omitted almond extract (and subbed in a little extra vanilla) due to the birthday girl's brother's allergies.

The cake was very well received by party-goers, and more importantly, I think the birthday girl really liked it. I sure hope so! We had a great time celebrating with you, A!

Print vanilla cake recipe.
Print vanilla frosting recipe.


molly said…
OMG! I loveit. you did a wonderful job and I know who ever this is for they are gonna love it!
Kristin said…
What a truly stunning cake. You've managed to take the overdone doll cake and make it into a work of art.
Yahpee said…
Have you ever used Duff's (the guy from that cake making reality TV show) brand of fondant? It's my new fave. Super pliable like home made fondant and tastes incredible.

Just thought I'd give ya the heads up.

Great job! Nanette sent me to your blog :-)
Jami said…
Thanks guys!

@Kristin, such a compliment! I'll bet the doll cake IS totally overdone. I've never made one (or really even seen one), so it was fun to check something else off my baking checklist. The birthday girl's mom had one as a little girl and thought it would be fun for her little girl - pretty sweet.

@Aline, I have never used Duff's stuff, though I see it at Party City. Does it compare price-wise? I am totally up for trying it! Thanks for the heads up and thanks for visiting.
Dawn C. said…
WOW! This is so cute and beautiful! Man, I WISH I would have seen this post earlier. I was scouring the city for a place that makes Doll Cakes! I would totally have ordered one from you.
Carrie said…
Jami, I couldn't wait to check out your blog after telling me about it. I love it! This doll cake is beautiful. You will have to teach me about fondant because I am not good at it.
Jami said…
Thanks!! Let's trade specialties - you can teach me about dipping! I just splurged and ordered the chocolate pro.
Anonymous said…
This cake is beautiful. So you baked a Wilton doll cake, and 8" tier cake and a 10" square cake for this?
Jami said…
@Anonymous - thanks! Yes, that's right. An 8" round underneath the Wilton cake, and it's all standing on a 10" square. If I had used the half-doll that comes with the Wilton pan, that would have been tall enough. It's only because I used a real doll that I needed more height.
Anonymous said…
How did you attach the leaves too the cake? After assembled did you dirty ice it then attach the leaves?
Jami said…
@Anonymous - I have never heard the term "dirty ice," but I did do a crumb coat and it basically stuck to that. I also usually use a paintbrush with a bit of fondant glue (a pea-sized dab of fondant dissolved in a tablespoon or so of water). I didn't have any trouble with the leaves sticking. It also helped that my leaves were freshly made (still soft).