A Barbie Birthday Cake

My daughter, Ellen, had been thinking about her 5th birthday for, literally, months before the day. I listened to the ideas she had for a party and decided I better jump into action quickly. The idea of a tea party was born and Ellen was soon dreaming of tea cups and party dresses.

As with any party I have the slightest influence over, the food was the highest priority. Besides a few groceries, most of the party gear was easily found around the house, so it was just a matter of putting it all together. The morning of the party, I was feeling less confident than I should have been. Sure, Oprah says that love is in the details, but those little details really eat up a lot of time. It was suggested that I cut back on the number of menu items, but that would have been a last resort, in my mind. I would just have to work smarter and quicker.

The work began just after 8am. Tablecloths needed ironing. The china tea cups were dusty and needed to be hand-washed. The cake I had made the day before had not turned out and I had to bake another one. Two batches of sugar cookies needed to be rolled, cut-out, and baked off. The tea sandwiches needed to be made. And here’s a tip – do not make egg salad just before having guests over. It's an unpleasant smell that will greet your guests at the door before you do. Luckily for us, the fresh-baked scones masked the smell of the boiled eggs, but it was a close call.
Then there were bubble baths and beautifying for both Ellen & I. The ironing of dresses, the picking out of jewelry, the application of lipstick (for both of us)… this was not going to be just any party! And let’s not forget the general tidying up that needed to happen before 3 o’clock when our guests were due to arrive. When you have two furry dogs, there is never a day without vacuuming (well, there shouldn’t be…).

The guests arrived after school, wearing their pretty dresses and Sunday best. It was quite a sight. Faced with an event of this caliber, the kids were also on their best behavior. It isn't every day that they have a chance to drink tea from real china tea cups!

The Barbie-on-a-stick that we bought for the cake was a real hit. Between the tea sandwiches, the mini scones with clotted cream and homemade jam, strawberry tea and hot chocolate, they probably didn’t have much of an appetite left for the cake, but it was enjoyed by every one. And then it was time for their one and only activity – decorating sugar cookies. With ten different types of pretty candies and coloured sugars and lots of little bowls of royal icing dyed with the most vibrant of colours, the temptation to snack would have been too much for some of them to stand with an empty stomach. There were letters, dinosaurs, Christmas items, farm animals, fruit, and lots of hearts. It was a decorating extravaganza. Each child was able to design several cookies to take home with them.

What a day. I hope Ellen enjoyed her first real birthday party. I know I will remember each and every minute.

A Barbie Birthday Cake

Barbie dolls for cakes are available in most good cake decorating stores or craft stores (try Micheal's). There are many different ways to make and decorate a Barbie cake. Ellen's cake was simply three 8-inch layers of white cake (see The Good Egg Blog, March '08). I recommend spreading thin layers of strawberry jam between the cake layers (a safer bet for kids). Using a serrated knife, trim the top edges of the cake until they are rounded and are in the shape of a ball gown.
Before you make the icing (recipe follows), decide on what Barbie will be wearing. She only needs a shirt or coat, as her bottom half is the pick that sticks into the cake. Ellen chose a pink and blue hounds-tooth jacket that looked great with a pink "skirt". We decorated the cake with silver dragees and star-shaped candles.

Butter Icing

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Food colouring

Whip the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the icing sugar, a cup at a time, until it is fully incorporated. Add the whipping cream and vanilla and continue beating for 1 minute. When the icing is completely smooth, add a little bit of food colouring and beat it into the icing. Continue adding more, a little bit at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Use the icing immediately or cover with plastic wrap until needed.

When icing a cake, it helps to do a crumb coat first. A crumb coat is a thin layer of the icing that seals the cake in and keeps the crumbs off of the outer layer of icing. I remove a cup or two of icing from the large bowl and use this as the crumb coat. If crumbs become mixed in with this small amount of icing, no problem. After you have applied the crumb coat, it helps to chill the cake for 15-20 minutes to set the first layer. Then apply the main layer of icing and you won't have any problems with pesky crumbs on Barbie's dress.


  1. Congratulations on your new blog, Moira! Katelyn and I love the Barbie cake - it looks beautiful.
    Glad to hear that we can still access all the great Good Egg recipes and we are looking forward to more delicious recipes here!

  2. Thanks Brenda! We would love to have a tea party with Katie & Cole sometime, too!