The ultimate princess cake is not as hard to make as it looks! Make it out of your favourite sponge cake and buttercream icing recipes, or use shop-bought cake and icing and focus on the decorating! Your little princess will love this doll cake.
Method Prep:3hr › Extra time:2hr chilling › Ready in:5hr
For the cakes:
Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease four 20cm round cake tins and line with baking parchment.
In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour in gradually and add the vanilla extract, beating until smooth. Distribute the cake mixture evenly between the four prepared cake tins.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a cooling rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely before decorating.
To assemble and decorate:
Using a round 5cm cutter, cut a circle in the centre of each cooled sponge cake. The circle should be large enough for the doll to fit through.
Colour about 2/3 of the buttercream icing with pink food colouring for the main colour of the dress (or your desired colour). Reserve the remaining 1/3 of buttercream for finer decorations later.
Place a cake drum on a lazy susan to decorate with ease, securing the drum to the lazy susan with a bit of icing. Then spread some icing on the cake drum and lay the first cake on top. Spread a layer of buttercream over the top of cake.
Place the next layer on top, aligning the circles in the centre. Repeat with remaining cakes till the top reaches the doll's hips.
Add stability to the cake by inserting 4 straws in four different places through all layers of the cake, at least 1cm from the hole in the centre. Cut any bit of the straws sticking out of the top of the cake.
Measure 2cm from the top edge of the cake. With a sharp serrated knife, gently trim 2cm off the top at an angle to create a dome-shaped skirt.
Do a crumb coat: using an icing spatula, cover cake with a thin layer of buttercream icing, all over the sides, top and inside of the hole in the centre. Once complete, refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This first coat will keep stray crumbs from mixing with the next decorative layer of buttercream.
Fill a piping bag with a large flat tip with the coloured buttercream. Starting at the bottom, pipe buttercream around the cake until it is fully covered. (Piping the buttercream as opposed to spreading creates a more even layer.)
Immerse a long icing spatula in hot water and dry thoroughly with a kitchen towel. Smooth buttercream with the warm spatula for a polished, smooth finish. Repeat process (dipping, drying, smoothing) till the buttercream is smooth.
Once completely smooth, chill cake in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or better, overnight.
Wrap the doll's legs with cling film. Insert doll in centre, adding buttercream to the hole if necessary to keep the doll in place.
Divide remaining buttercream into different bowls and colour as desired (eg various shades of pink for roses, green for leaves). You can also leave some of the buttercream a natural white.
Before decorating, use a skewer to trace where you intend to pipe any patterns, bows or other design elements over the buttercream.
Add a small star tip to a piping bag and fill it with white or light pink buttercream. Holding the bag almost perpendicular to the cake, make rows of small stars for the front of the dress. Work from the bottom up.
Using the same tip, make pipe more stars directly onto the doll from the waist up to make the top of the dress.
Use a ruffle tip to create ruffles, ribbons and bows. You can pipe a large bow at the back of the dress, for example.
Use a small star tip to create rosettes all over the skirt of the dress. Use a leaf tip with green icing to add leaves, if liked.
Once completely decorated, chill cake in the fridge until serving. You can chill the cake in the fridge for up to 3 days. Leave at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before serving.