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When I was a kid, we had these big plastic dolls. If you're more than 35 years old, you probably know the ones I'm talking about, the ones from the 60's with hard plastic limbs and faces, sometimes with a cloth body and sometimes with a plastic body. I thought I would use my old doll as inspiration for a cake some day.


In years past, we've had for our Easter dessert a chocolate cake shaped like a lamb. My son soon learned to dread those lamb cakes and nearly begged me not to make them anymore. So, this year, I thought I'd go a little different direction and make an Easter doll cake. Turns out it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.


Since I'm redirecting some viewers from Cake Central to this page to see how this cake was made, my Cake Central username is TooMuchCake. I'm telling you this so that someone stumbling upon this page and my page on Cake Central won't think that I stole these photos from myself.

 

The stand is wood that's been covered in protective material so that it can be used again if I wanted to. The generic structure makes it possible for me to use it for all sorts of bipedal sculptures later on. Cake foil covers the base, and clear contact paper covers the skirt platform. After this photo was taken, I covered the leg and torso dowels with contact paper as well. A piece of waxed paper will go on top of the skirt platform to further protect it from any moisture coming from the cake and buttercream.

The legs, socks and shoes are now on. The skin is made of modeling chocolate because I can easily model it and hide seams in it. And, I don't get the crepe-y surface that I can get with fondant when I've worked it too much. An added plus is that the modeling chocolate's slight sheen gives the limbs and face a vintage plastic look. The socks and shoes are fondant, and a coat of confectioner's glaze gives the shoes a patent leather-like shine.

I'm really happy with the legs and hands, but the head turned out to be a struggle. Modeling faces is not my strong point to say the very least. The head is not edible; only the skin and hair (which was added later) are sugar products, while the inside of the head is a compacted styro ball. The eyes are plastic teddy bear eyes from the fabric store. Since this cake was just for my family, I would be right there to serve it and make sure no one accidently ate one. If I learned one thing from making this cake, it's that I need more help learning to model faces!

Layers of Chai Tea Cake are stacked to form the dress. An apple corer helps keep the process neat while stacking the layers on the torso dowel.  Just use the corer to "core" the middle of the layers and thread them on the dowel. Internally, the layers are doweled and boarded JUST AS YOU WOULD A REGULAR STACKED CAKE! Sometimes beginners are concentrating so hard on the fact that they're sculpting, that they forget that physics still applies and their cake will still sink or fall (or both) without proper internal support. Once the stacking is finished, it's wrapped in plastic wrap to settle overnight. Believe me, you do not want to finish a tall sculpted cake that has not had a chance to settle before the final covering goes on. Cracks and blowouts are bad enough in a tiered cake; in a sculpture, they're truly awful.

People who have my DVD know that I prefer to cover my sculptures in buttercream rather than fondant. This time, though, I wanted the doll to have a fondant dress. I used a lace mold to make fondant lace for the petticoat, but I tore the dress fondant a couple times while trying to get it onto the doll, so I gave up that idea and went back to what I know and gave her a buttercream dress. I wanted her to have a fancy smocked dress, but by this point in my decorating, it was suppertime and I was starting to get tired. So, plain dress it is.

Once the dress was finished, the hands were toothpicked into place and the head was test-fitted. I miscalculated the length of the neck and it was way too long. Waaaay too long. I cut down the dowel but I still managed to make the poor kid look like she's part giraffe. The head was fitted onto the dowel, the modeling chocolate neck held it in place, and the collar and sleeves were added. Lastly, I applied the hair and kerchief.


I ran out of icing and patience and skipped the green grass I'd intended to pipe at her feet. My family won't miss the grass, and this makes it easier for me to sneak by and snag one of those malt ball eggs every now and then. By this time it was 9:30 at night and I just wanted it to be over. So, it's over. The whole thing is startlingly heavy at 13 pounds and nearly two feet tall.


Am I sorry I made it? No. Did I learn from my mistakes? Yes. Will I make this cake again?


Not in a million years.   :^)


The Nightmare Before Easter

If you found this article helpful, please support me and the website by buying my cake sculpture DVD.

–Deanna