Barbie Cake 101 – It’s Easier Than You Think!
There is nothing quite like the look of joy on a Barbie-loving little gal’s face when she is presented with her very own Barbie Doll birthday cake. Let me first tell you that I have made more of these cakes then I can possibly count. I started long before I had a little gal of my own and I am still making them today. Well, not today, but I did last weekend! A friend of my daughter is a sweet, Barbie-loving girl who also has her black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Like Barbie, I am pretty sure she might grow up to be a doctor, veterinarian, teacher, Ambassador for World Peace, or pretty much anything else she puts her mind to doing.
Cake mixes: $3.00 dollars. Cream Cheese frosting: $6.00. Barbie from Target: $7.50. The look of delight on a little girl’s face when she sees her own Barbie cake: PRICELESS.
I will have to admit that the first time I made a Barbie cake (and remember this was long before I had children) I took all weekend to bake a perfect cake from scratch, made 3 colors of frosting and spent at least 6 hours piping, swirling, and making rosettes all over her ball gown. It was beautiful, but man, no one in the real world has all weekend to work on a Barbie cake! Over the years I have simplified the process. The one I made last weekend took about 1.5 hours to decorate, but remember I was stopping to take pictures so I could share my simplified process. I promise you don’t have to be an expert to make this cake look fabulous.
Use a full sized Barbie. I know at the cake stores you can buy Barbie’s torso so you don’t have to make such a big cake skirt, but half the fun for the Birthday gal is to have a Barbie to play with when the cake is all gone. There is a line of ballerina Barbies that sell for 5 – 10 dollars. I find these work great because Barbie has a plastic bodysuit that is attached so there is no need to pipe a bodice with icing. Wrap your Barbie’s hair and legs in plastic wrap to protect it from the frosting process.
There is no need to go out and buy the special Barbie cake pans. I use three types of cake pans to make this cake. For the bottom I use a bundt pan, for the middle I use a heat-proof pyrex bowl, and for the top layer I use a cupcake. I use a generous application of Pam on each “pan”, if you don’t like using Pam, just be sure to grease and flour each pan thoroughly. To keep things simple I use cake mixes. You will need 2. One for the bundt pan, and the other for the heat-proof bowl. Use the remaining batter to make cupcakes. You should get about 4 – 6 cupcakes. I usually bake the cakes the day before just so the cakes firm up a bit before you try to frost.
A good basic decorating frosting is from Wilton. It makes a great firm, easy-to-use decorating icing. But now I will nit pick. Maybe it’s because I have made this frosting too many times, but I just don’t like the taste anymore. Because I have simplified the decorations on this cake, I now use the DC CUPCAKE Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe. This doesn’t make really stiff frosting, but it will work fine for this cake. If you want to do more elaborate piping than I show here, stick with the Wilton recipe.
DC Cupcake Frosting Recipe (Make 2 and ½ times the recipe for your Barbie Cake)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese
Cream the butter and cheese. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Whip for 2- 3 minutes in your Kitchen Aid mixer. Or if you don’t have a KA whip until very fluffy. Add the food coloring one drop at a time until you have the desired color.
Next, cut a hole in the middle cake just big enough to fit Barbie’s legs. Start stacking your cakes on the platter you are going to use to serve. Remember to use a little of the frosting to glue your cake together. Place Barbie inside the cake. Cut the cupcake in half and use frosting to “glue” it around Barbie’s waist
Now Barbie is ready for her “crumb coat” of frosting. A crumb coat is just a light layer of frosting over the entire cake. This helps to keep the crumbs from getting into your finished frosting as well as hold the cake together. Once your crumb coat is finished put Barbie in the fridge for about an hour to firm up the frosting.
Now comes the tedious part. You will use a frosting bag with a star tip to make little stars all over Barbie’s skirt. Using the star tip is the most forgiving of all frosting methods. Practice a couple of times on a piece of paper. Then go for it! You will start at the top and work all the way around Barbie’s skirt before starting the next row. Offset the stars between the rows like I have here and you will get better coverage. Don’t worry about your stars being exactly the same – I promise it will all blend together for the finished product
To finish off the skirt, add some of these simple Marshmallow Flowers. You make these by simply cutting a mini marshmallow in half diagonally. Dip the sticky cut part into some colored sugar and press into the frosting on Barbie’s skirt to form a flower.