DIY Doll Cake — Gluten-free & Dairy-free. Time to party!

Doll cakes are a decades-old delight. Appearing during the heyday of Barbie dolls, the doll cake has staying power. While it’s not a culinary masterpiece, try telling that to a group of 7-year olds at a birthday party. (This will be included in the next book, DIY Dolls, so if you have suggestions, please email me.)

Terry and I were the only ones here to eat the cake, so I dressed ours in plain brown chocolate frosting. Maybe a pre-Thanksgiving Pilgrim? Halloween witch? Anyway, ours wasn’t that lively, in her modest homespun, so I searched the web for something more glam. Here’s a nicely done doll cake from  another blog at:

doll cake

Doll cakes require simple equipment and supplies. First, a new plastic doll that will look good in a full-skirted gown. Dora the Explorer just doesn’t fit here. Think of those lovelies at the Dollar store. Perfect. Remove the clothing and wrap the legs with plastic food wrap (so they will slide easily into the cake), and wind some wrap around the hair to keep it clean during the process.

Figure out how many skirt cakes you need depending upon the doll’s size and height. Assemble pans and measure if necessary. A 12-inch Barbie-size doll needs an 8-inch round pan, an 8-inch wide oven-proof bowl and a 5 1/2-inch wide oven-proof bowl. Other doll sizes can be made using different sizes of bowls, custard cups, and muffin pans. Tiny dolls can just slip into a cupcake.

You’ll need two cake mixes and two cans of frosting. Additional decorator icing and sprinkles, as desired. Prepare the pans by greasing and dusting with flour so the cakes come out of the pan easily. Get out the cooling racks, too, as the cakes need to sit on those after baking.  Prepare the mix according to the package, or use the version I made up, which most everyone can enjoy. If you want to use my gluten-free, dairy-free cake mix (below), you’ll probably need to make two batches.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1 cup milk (dairy, coconut, or almond)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Mix all the above ingredients together. Blend in the dry ingredients listed below, until batter is smooth.

  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum

When the batter is completely smooth, spoon into the prepared pans, filling each 2/3 full. Bake at 350-degrees for various times. The bowls may take an hour to bake because they are filled so deeply; the muffins or cupcakes may take about 20 minutes. Check often and test with a knife for doneness: insert a clean knife blade into the center of the cake, pull it out. If batter sticks to the blade, more baking time is needed. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.

Turn the cakes out of their pan and let cool on a rack.

Use a long-bladed bread knife to cut a small circle out of the center of each cake. It should be no wider than the doll’s hips. Stack the cakes, lining up the centers, on a serving plate. As you stack them, put a layer of frosting on the top of each layer before placing the next cake.

Brush off the crumbs and begin spreading frosting over the skirt. Use a knife tip to draw pleats or designs. Add sprinkles and designs with a decorating tube.

Slip the doll into the cake and cover her waist and chest with frosting: flowers, squiggles, whatever. Pipe icing straps over the shoulders.

When all is done, sit back and enjoy the accolades. Or take photos. Cheers!