This is by no means a tutorial. I am not a professional, this is the first time I have ever made a princess cake. This post is more for my sake in case I ever have the crazy idea to do it again. And it's long, and has lots of photos. I hope you don't get bored.
It all started when Loo-loo requested a Cinderella princess party. I immediately thought- oh! I could make her a princess cake...
I found this tutorial online. It's great- it taught me an amazing smoothing technique that worked beautifully. And it shows you how to make the cake without the special pan. But I didn't want to make a 6 layer cake that didn't look perfect. You know?
So I went on Amazon and bought the special princess skirt cake pan. The tube in the middle works as a heating core to evenly bake the batter, and provides a small hole down the middle so that it's easier to cut out enough cake for the doll to fit in. Of course, if you use the legless doll that comes with the pan, you don't have to do anything else to the cake.
Loo-loo requested a raspberry cake. But all I had in the cupboard was cherry chip and chocolate. I used the cherry chip for the dome.
Since she wanted a Cinderella party, and the half doll that came with the pan was a brunette, I bought an actual Cinderella doll to use for the cake. Since she was a whole doll- the cake needed to be taller than the pan allows. So I made an 8-inch layer and a 9-inch layer just to make sure I had enough cake to work with.
That tricky heating core didn't work so well- the middle is very puffy. The cake needs to be flat on the bottom when you turn it out of the pan. So I had to improvise a way to level it off while it was still in the pan. I took a sharp knife and cut the cake into 8 slices, level with the lowest point. (the outer edges)
Then I used my short brownie spatula to scoop up the slices- it worked perfectly!! (sorry for the blurry photo.)
One of the most irritating things about making extravagant cakes is the crumbs from leveling. But with this pan, all the sides have an even, beautiful crust. Yea!
Leveling the chocolate cake layer with a long serrated knife, I do it while still warm, it's waaaay easier than trying to level a frozen cake. I promise.
I ended up using the 9-inch layer- it added the perfect amount of height. I popped all the cakes into the freezer for the night.
Still frozen, I used the edge of the dome to cut the excess chocolate cake off and make a smooth edge. A crummy edge, but a smooth one.
Then I slapped on another layer of frosting and used the fancy paper smoothing trick from this video and it worked like magic. Why didn't I know this trick years ago? Then back in the freezer.
The directions that came with the pans suggests using fondant for the skirt to get a smooth look. Fondant makes me tear my hair out and it's gross. Who wants to peel something off a slice of cake before eating it? I will not sacrifice taste for style. My frosting is delicious, heavenly, and addicting, why would I use anything else?
I planned on making the top of her dress with my arch nemesis- fondant. I thought, "how hard could it be? It's only a fraction of fondant. I can do it!" Haha. NOT. The damn fondant wouldn't stick to the doll. Then it wouldn't stick to itself. I gave up before punching the cake or a cat or my nice husband.
So I went on to decorate the skirt. With swirls of glittery white frosting. From a tube. It's gross. While I swirled away, I decided to put Cinderella's dress back on, cover the skirt up with plastic wrap and put her in the cake. Easier for me, looks better than fondant, and saves my sanity and my mood so I won't be grouchy during the party. Cause that has happened before.
And then I stopped taking progress photos because a) my hands were covered in blue frosting, and b) I still needed to take a shower.
I piped little balls of frosting around the base and the top of her dress. I made the white circle things on her hips out of fondant. All I had to do was cut out a circle with a biscuit cutter and slap it on. That's as good as I get with that dreaded stuff.
Since there was added bulk from the dress, we had to shove her body into the cake pretty hard. The cake was frozen at that point, so it was fine, but as the day went on her skirt began to crack a little. I was far from caring, nobody noticed it but me.
My dad said that I really outdid myself- and all I could think was "Crap! What am I going to do next year?!?!"
And then Loo-loo declared that from now on she wanted different princesses each year. It'll only get easier and less stressful with time, right?
Kidding. It really wasn't hard- just time consuming. Having that tutorial video really helped prepare me for all the steps involved. And of course having the right tools helps immensely in cake baking/decorating. That lesson I have learned the hard way.
So friends- I have the special pan if you ever need to make a princess cake. It would also make a nice volcano or beehive. Or as Mr. Architect pointed out- a gigantic boobie.