For my daughter's 3rd birthday, she wanted a princess party and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try making "The Princess Cake" where you use a real doll and make the skirt of the dress out of cake. Eventhough it was very time intensive to make, it was totally fun to create, decorate, and eat! And nothing could replace the amazing look on my daughter's face when she saw it for the first time the morning of her birthday party!!!
I used the instructions and video provided on the Betty Crocker website to help guide me in making the Fairy Tale Princess Cake. Since I made some modifications you can check out how to really make the cake on the website and look at my site for how I did it. (Click here to see their instructions and video)
I didn't have 3 - 8 inch round pans so I had to improvise a bit and use three box mixes, but it had the same results in the end.
One key was to grease and flour the baking dishes properly. Using real shortening versus a spray oil was key. Then rolling around ample flour to coat the entire inside of the pans.
I mixed up each mix separately but you can mix them up together and separate them out according to the types of pans you have. The key is to mix up the batters for the same amount of time no matter how many mixes you use. (In this case about 2 1/2 minutes with a hand mixer total before adding batter to the pans). You will need to note that baking the batter in bowls will take well over an hour so if you don't have a big oven it will take at least two baking sessions to get your domed pieces.
I utilized my Pampered Chef Classic Batter Bowl for the top of the skirt, then two 6" round pans, and then I used Pyrex bowl for the bottom. One great tip that Better Crocker gave was to put each cake in the freezer for about 45 minutes before cutting into it as to make less crumbs. Then using a serrated knife you should rotate the cake as you cut it to help reduce crumbling as well. I flattened out the 6" cake tops and then took about 1 - 1 1/2 inches off the "bowl" cakes to even the out and get me the right height to get to the top of the hips on my doll. The extra cake seemed to be a lot but I snacked on some and the rest I stacked up, wrapped up and put in the freezer for a rainy day!!!
Next I cut holes in each of the cakes so that I could easily insert my doll. Most instructions call for a 2" hole to be cut out but my doll wasn't that big and I didn't want to waste too much cake so I used a knife and cut about a 1 1/2 inch hole in the top layers but only about 1" in the lower one for the feet to fit. I also placed a few strips of parchment paper underneath the bottom layer of cake to help keep my cake plate cleaner when I put on my "crumb layer."
I opened up two containers of frosting and added enough food coloring to get my desired color of pink. Between each layer of cake I added a big dollop of frosting and spread it out.
I really like how my extra "bowl" cake on the bottom actually flips out a bit. What is so nice about this whole process is that you can cover up any mistakes you think you make quite easily.
I used a fair amount of frosting to put on a crumb layer. This is a layer designed to cover the cake and hold tight any loose crumbs so that when you put the final layer on you won't see the little black specks.
A neat tip that Betty Crocker offered was to simply hold a piece of paper with both of your hands and pull up on the side of the cakes to smooth out the frosting.
As you can see it works really well. Now that the "crumb layer" is done, they suggested that you could put the whole cake in the freezer for a while to harden things a little bit, but my freezer wouldn't accommodate that so I started right into the final layer. At this point you could remove the parchment paper and smooth out the bottom frosting.
I removed the clothes from my doll and then wrapped from the bust down with cling wrap. Then I stuck the doll down through the holes. Next I used an offset knife and started putting large dollops of frosting on the outside of the skirt. I went with the method of making little up and down spreading movements to give the dress a whispy look. At the base of the cake, I used a star tip on my little cake decorators from Pampered Chef to make it look like a little sash or lace at the bottom of the dress. This really finished off the bottom nice.
When covering the skirt, you need to bring the frosting all the way up to the waist line of the doll to fill in. For the bodice, I used another tip with a zig-zag ridge and made a V-neck and added little candy pearls for jewels on the dress. I tried matching the style of dress on the doll close to the one I made for my daughter to wear so I added some puffy white sleeves on it as well.
I also added the pearl candies in the back for buttons down the back. The final touch was to sprinkle on edible glitter all over the dress. This gave it such a cute sparkle and magical look. The candles I angled slightly frontwards and lifted the arms of the doll up as to not start them on fire.
The cake was almost as beautiful inside as well. To serve the cake I removed the doll and used the Pampered Chef Cut and Serve tool (you could use a regular knife and server as well). I cut down through the cake with the pieces being about 1 - 1 1/2" wide and then served the top section to one guest and then the piece with the bottom three layers to the next guest.
Our doll was pretty worn out by the end of the day and my daughter got a hold of it and started licking off the icing from the bodice. The cling film really helped keep the doll pretty well protected and made for easy clean up.