The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Birthday Cake Experience


This week started out to be very promising.  Despite not having a car at the moment, I was able to get E. a Princess and the Frog doll to put in her birthday cake.  I made the cake earlier this week and found that it was too short – the top of the skirt was about mid-thigh on an average barbie doll.  I made more layers – chocolate ones this time.  It was the perfect height.

Everything else was going well, until Friday night – the night before the party.   I made the fondant pieces for the skirt portion of the cake and decorated it.  I opened the box with the doll inside and as I tried to remove the dress, I realized that it wouldn’t come off!  I had inadvertently bought the Tiana doll whose dress turns into a plush frog.   Then came the discovery that the doll had no legs…it is basically just a torso sewn onto a stuffed animal…yeah, I don’t really get it either.

I squeezed the frog/dress part of the doll and wrapped it tightly with saran wrap. No good, it still wouldn’t fit into the doll-sized hole I had made in the cake!  I considered wrecking the toy and just cutting off the plush part, but then I realized that E. would get a doll without legs and a ripped up, stuffing-less plush animal to play with…which wouldn’t be much fun for a 5 year old.

With all the hope I could muster, I tried to see if any 24 hour stores had the doll in stock – the nearest one was 80 miles away.   I thought about whipping up a plain old layer cake, but remembered that E. had specifically asked for a doll cake.  I decided that the only thing I could do was to use a different doll, but since E was asleep in her room, finding one was no easy task.  You see, when E. puts her dolls away, she just tosses them into her doll bin, one on top of another like so much cordwood.  If I were to move the wrong doll, the whole pile could potentially topple like massive, tangled Barbie Jenga tower.  I held my breath and plucked a slightly disheveled Barbie doll from the very top of the stack.

I was relieved that the doll I happened to pick up was newer, and NOT one of the old ones that look like Courtney Love after a three week bender.  I washed the doll and put some plastic wrap around her to keep her nice and clean and made a fondant bodice.  I put the doll into the cake and made a sash around her waist to cover the seam.  I also used a little bit of the white fondant to cover the tiara the doll was wearing and make it look a little bit more like the one Tiana wears.

I was very tired, so I decided to save the decorating of the cake board for the morning.  The cake was too tall (with the doll inserted) for both the refrigerator and the freezer…so I put the doll into the oven for safe keeping.  I was a little worried that the oven would get turned on with the doll inside, so I left the oven light on and went to bed.

E., being very excited about her birthday woke me up at 7:30 am.  I opened the oven to take the cake out and saw THIS:

Yes!  Fondant CAN melt!

Yes! Fondant CAN melt!

Slip sliding away.

Slip sliding away.

Melted.  Icing.  Bad!

Melted. Icing. Bad!

Yeeeeeah.  The icing was in puddles at the base of the cake, and it tore the fondant skirt pieces as it slid down.  Apparently, with the oven door shut, the light can generate heat up to 100 degrees!  (**head desk**)

Feeling only slightly less deflated than the cake, I briefly envisioned chucking the whole thing outside in the snow.  After I managed to calm down a bit, I decided that it was still early enough that I could make a new batch of frosting and redecorate the skirt.  I was out of the white fondant and thanks to a snowstorm couldn’t even leave to get the ready made variety.  I had barely enough of the green fondant left to make the outer skirt “leaves”, but I think over all it turned out ok.  I did happen to have a tiny bit of left over gumpaste, which I tinted purple and used to remake the sash and bow in the back.

I decorated the cake board and used the final bit of green fondant to shape a lily pad for my gumpaste Prince Naveen to sit on.  Despite my initial bout of hysteria, the cake turned out okay.  Remember all the fussing I had done over not having the right doll?  E. quickly decided that the doll was Charlotte (Tiana’s friend from the movie), trying on Tiana’s dress.  Now, why didn’t I think of that?!

Anyway, here is how it turned out:

Purple Bow

Purple Bow



She loves it!

Not too bad for a quick save...

4 Comments to

“The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Birthday Cake Experience”

  1. Avatar May 11th, 2010 at 9:21 am Becky Says:

    The cake turned out beautiful!!! You are so cool for making all these awesome cakes for your family. Your kids will always remember them. You’re a good momma.

  2. Avatar May 11th, 2010 at 11:47 am Kylie Says:

    Thank you, Becky!

  3. Avatar June 16th, 2011 at 2:02 am Melissa Says:

    If you hadn’t said anything about the melted cake, I’d have thought that the finished product was what you were shooting for! Thank you for the comedy! I’ve just started the planning/practicing part for making a Tiana doll cake for my 3 year old. I’m glad I now know NOT to put it in the oven!!!

  4. Avatar July 5th, 2011 at 1:58 am Kylie Says:

    Hi, Melissa! I hope your cake turned out well, and I’m glad my mistake may have helped you to avoid potential disaster!

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