The importance of cake

Sorry we’re a little late to the party today for our Wildcard Tuesday offering. I’m stepping in late-notice with a little Wild Card fun…a princess birthday cake!

Yesterday was my daugther’s 5th birthday. We have a tradition in our family of celebrating birthdays for many days…and her 5th is no exception. So we started off on Sunday with my family coming over to celebrate. Then on the actual day (yesterday) she had ‘Cake in the Park’ with her pre-school friends. And on Sunday (11 December) she’s having a fairy birthday party. Anyway, I decided to use yesterday as the practice run for my Fairy Princess Cake. I spent quite a bit of time researching this – recipes, cake tins (Dolly Varten) and decorating options. 

I will post the recipe below, but first I wanted to show you the many stages of the cake decorating that went on early yesterday morning!

Stage 1: Banana cake baked and cooled (night before)

Stage 2: Stick fairy Barbie into the cake (and also line the plate). Note: I’m afraid some of Barbie’s legs had to go. I know…cruelty to dolls is NOT a good sign! But it was off at the knees for this Fairy Barbie.

Stage 3: Pink cream cheese icing/frosting made.

Stage 4: Fairy Barbie’s dress is iced!

Stage 5: Decorating the dress – with my little helper (still in her pyjamas)

Stage 6: Take a step back and bask in the glory. Especially when your husband laughed – loudly – when you first told him of the task at hand and showed him photos you were aiming to replicate!

Both Grace and I were very happy and her pre-school friends devoured the cake in minutes. I got a taste too and it was yummy! 


So, the recipe:
4 oz butter
1 cup sugar  
1 egg 
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp milk  
2 mashed bananas
1 ½ cups flour          
1 ½ tsp baking powder

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add egg and beat well.  Dissolve soda in warm milk and mix in. Add mashed bananas.  Lastly, fold in the flour and baking powder.  Bake (45 mins) in a moderate oven (180C).

I doubled the recipe and cooking time for the Dolly Varten tin. 

This video was extremely helpful:


 Have you got any fun cake-making stories? Or disasters? I’m just hoping my cake on Sunday will turn out as good as the practice run!

23 thoughts on “The importance of cake

  1. PD Martin

    And the icing/frosting recipe…
    2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

    I only needed about half of this though. I've now got loads of hot pink cream cheese icing/frosting in the fridge!

  2. Alexandra Sokoloff

    That is an AWESOME cake, and I think even I could make some approximation of it.

    Of course, it helps to have the cutest helper in the world, right, P?

    I won't even go into what I used to do with Barbie dolls, but I'm sure I'm not the only one here. I'm looking at YOU, Cornelia.

  3. PD Martin

    Thanks, Alex! It is actually pretty easy. Easier than I thought. And yes, my helper is the cutest girl in the world. Not that I'm biased or anything!

    Thanks, Stephen! We're all proud this end. Should have said in the post, I emailed my husband a photo once it was done. He was speechless. All he could manage was "Wow!" It's always nice as a wife to make your husband eat his words…or in this case laughter πŸ™‚


  4. PD Martin

    Hi Mollie. I'd definitely recommend making it. The finished product looks pretty fancy and like it would be hard, but it's quite easy. And I'm sure your daughters would love it. Probably good for any girl 3-10ish.

    The cake part took me about 15-20 minutes to make, then 1.5 hours to bake (night before). And making the icing/frosting and decorating took just over an hour. I reckon that's pretty good. Check out the video and off you go!

  5. Sarah W

    i caved last year and bought a similar Barbie cake at a bakery for my older daughter.

    Yours is prettier, no doubt tasted better, and was obviously made with love and a skilled hand with the flower decorations.

    I'm bookmarking this for next time—thank you!

  6. KDJames

    Okay, remembering my daughter and her friends (and the tendency for drama) at age five, I can't help but wonder — how did the kids react when you cut into the cake and they saw Fairy Barbie had her legs chopped off at the knee? I'm sure it's very bad of me to think that must have been hysterical.

  7. PD Martin

    You had me laughing, KD! The kids didn't really seem to comment on the massacred Barbie. Too busy eating cake? Fixated on the bright pink icing/frosting? One of the mums did comment that it could open some great conversations on diversity.

    Barbie's too perfect anyway. Who's got legs like that AND boobs?? It was time to cut her down to size – ha, ha.

  8. Reine

    PD, that is so pretty! And your little girl is adorable!

    Someone made a Cinderella cake for my birthday one year. She used a blonde Barbie and made a beautiful gown similar to your fairy cake gown. I can't remember which birthday it was, but I've never forgotten the cake or my friends' smiles when they saw it. It was so special, even my babysitter – MY babysitter – remembers it! I had boys at my party too, and they thought it was hilarious, because after the cake was gone they saw that Cinderella didn't have anything on under her gown. Boys. They would have hidden one of those rainbow M16s underneath.

  9. Reine

    Hi Mollie,

    You could make that with a chiffon pie or even one with piled-high whipped cream. You could decorate with colored whipped cream in a pastry tube or put candy sparkles on it.

    One year I made an Incredible Hulk pie for one of the boys. I made it with a deep-dish apple pie with way extra apples sticking up like rocks and the Hulk rising up from the middle. It was appropriately disgusting. The next year I made him a GI Joe peanut butter pie made to look like a swampy quick sandy place with chocolate shavings and had GI Joe slogging through on all fours. Huge hit!

  10. Barbie

    I LOVE THIS CAKE!!! Seriously, I want to make one for myself!!!! Okay, so, I hate banana cake, and cream cheese frosting would probably make me puke, but, man, I bet I could make it a vanilla cake, with strawberry and marshmallow frosting! Or a chocolate cake with caramel frosting!!! Or lemon cake with lime frosting!!! YUMMY! Oh, I just adore this idea!!! Poor Barbie, though. I'd have to make a taller cake so I could stick her in with her legs. Maybe I'll make it for Chubs (that's how I call my baby 4 month old baby sister!) someday!

    Also, I LOVE the title. Cake is my absolute favorite desert ever! I adore it!!! I don't like it when they mix sugar and salt in it, but other than that, YUM! Definitely a bookmarked, this blog.

    Happy Birthday to your little girl, PD! I hope she's had the greatest day. And the next day! And the next. And Sunday! πŸ˜€

  11. Reine

    barbie, do you have a recipe for lime frosting. sounds so yummish.

    please excuse my typing tonight poor control. no voice for dragon dictate.

    nite all xo

  12. Catherine

    PD we tend to extend our birthdays into a season too. I text my youngest the other day about what she may want to do for her Birthday and she text back don't you mean my birth week.

    When my youngest turned four I made her a Mermaid Barbie birthday cake. I admire your fortitude (and very sweet results) in pursuing the dolly varten version.I'm curious though, did you consider dismembering Barbie ( and saving the legs for a later miracle cure ) before you amputated?

    Part of the reason I picked the Mermaid Barbie was so she could loll around sort of prone atop the cake. Worse case was she toppled over into the brown sugar sand…

    Because Ash has an Australian December birthday and we lived on the Sunshine Coast (sub tropics sort of like Florida in terms of heat/humidity) heat played a big factor in the production of 'fantasy' cakes. I remember mainly decorating at 11pm the night before with all the fans on and the odd Christmas beetle making it past the screens dive bombing while I iced. I'd have to put the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes at a time to let the icing get a chance to solidify between applications.

    There is something about four year old birthday parties that brings out a heavy handed decorating approach in me. We blew up masses of pink balloons and draped a frenzy of streamers. Nineteen years down the track, we treasure photos of excited smiley little girls ringing the table around that strategically lolling Barbie

    That smile on your daughter's face says it all. Good luck doing it again on Sunday with a slew of littles ones hopped up on sugar.

  13. PD Martin

    Sarah W – sometimes time constraints make home-made things tough! But if you get a chance give it a go next time. I like to think mine tasted better than shop-bought and it was definitely made with love and a good helper πŸ™‚ And, like I said, really didn't take that long.

    Reine – hilarious re boys and the M-16. It's amazing what a girl can hide under her dress, huh? Maybe in a crime fiction novel the heroine WOULD hide the M-16 under a ball dress! And your Incredible Hulk cake sounds really cool.

    Barbie – glad you like the look of the cake and thanks for your birthday wishes for my daughter! I have seen this cake decorated using pink icing and marshmallows stuck into it (half marshmallows, I think) and you can also get ice cream Princess cakes! Start Googling πŸ™‚ Although, if your sister is only 4 months old you've got a little while until she'll appreciate it.


  14. PD Martin

    Hi Catherine. Sounds like you've got some great cake-making birthday memories! I do like the idea of Mermaid Barbie…maybe next year.

    I did consider trying to detach Barbie's legs altogether, but then I was worried there wouldn't be enough of her lower body left to 'anchor' her into the cake. And the image of Barbie's torso falling off mid 'Happy Birthday' is even more disturbing than the amputation procedure (I think).

    But maybe you're right…lolling Mermaid Barbie is better all round πŸ™‚

    Saturday/Sunday will be a bit warmer than earlier this week so I'll see how I go. Melbourne's set to hit mid-20s, but the humidity is nothing like QLD so we should be safe. I hope! And mid-20s is nothing.


  15. Catherine

    Better is such a subjective term…Mermaid Barbie is I think the lazier option.

    You sound like you'll be having lovely weather this weekend. Mid-20s is optimum I'd imagine.

    I now live up in the hills behind the coast that I grew up at, and the high today was 16.2 celsius at 11am. It is currently bucketing down. It's weird putting the doona back on in summer.

    I think your reasoning is sound in your barbie strategy…Barbie listing slowly to the side before candles being blown out could be all sorts of traumatic.

    I think my daughter (turning 23 and whinging about as though she is decrepit) may like me to make a surprise type of commando cake in the style Reine outlined for her upcoming birthday. I'll have to see if I can scrounge up a GI Joe from Kmart.

  16. Pari Noskin

    I'm so sorry I missed this on Tuesday. Don't know where I was . . . o . . . yes . . . at a school band concert.

    Anyway, my favorite cake story wasn't mine — but a friend's. She was making a dinosaur cake for her son and the center caved in completely. She ended up frosting it in green and brown and creating a kind of tar pit scene with plastic toy dinosaurs caught in the mire. Hysterically funny and her son adored it!

    A fabulous save.

  17. PD Martin

    Almost missed these replies…

    Catherine, I'd love to see the GI Joe version. That would be hilarious. He could be sticking out of a bunker maybe.

    Pari, that is a funny cake story. Although I bet it wasn't funny at the time. I really enjoyed making the cake, but the pressure was on too!


  18. Samatha@Nanny Background Check

    I almost forgot my allergy to cakes when I saw your post. The presentation was excellent! I remember when I was just 5 years old; my nanny baked a cake like this (which made me happy because she exerted effort just to bake it, but it made me upset at the same time because I can’t eat the cake due to allergy). It’s like no other!


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