How to Make a Barbie Cake

August 11, 2008 | By | Comments (7)

Barbiecake It started innocently enough.  A friend, for her birthday, requested a Barbie cake to go along with the pink-themed party I was throwing for her.  You can buy these inspired cakes (half a Barbie with only a toothpick for legs in a dome cake) at most chain supermarkets for about $50.  When I heard her request, I figured, “I work at a food website and love to bake.  I should be able to figure this out.”  Emphasis on should.

The cake (and yes, that’s the actual picture of my finished cake) took 3 days, 4 boxes of cake mix, 20 eggs (minus 8 yolks), 4.5 cups of water, 1 1/3 cups of oil, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 2 cups of sugar to complete.  Here’s how it went down.

Tuesday:  Grocery run.  Bought 2 boxes of strawberry cake mix, 1 box of chocolate cake mix, and 1 box of vanilla cake mix.  The strawberry would be the dome part of the cake, the vanilla the 9″ round to make it a little taller, and the chocolate for cupcakes because who on earth is going to want to carve into a Barbie cake?  Also purchased eggs and half a Barbie from the craft store.

Wednesday:  Cake baking begins.  In one hour, I knock out the vanilla and chocolate mixes, making 18 chocolate cupcakes and not one but two vanilla round cakes.  In the interest of getting all cake out of my apartment, I decide Barbie will be extra tall.  The dome cake takes a little more effort.  I greased (boy did I grease) a domed, glass baking bowl and added the two boxes of strawberry mix, then set the oven to 200 degrees and cooked for an hour and twenty minutes, as suggested by a crafty mom’s blog I read online.  I learned a few things, namely that A) cake expands more than you think, so double cake expands twice as much as you’d ever dream.  Added cookie sheet to catch the overflow of batter. B) My oven is not level, which made my batter spill out on one side, so I had to bail out the cookie sheet a few times to make extra room.  After 2.5 hours, it was still soupy in the middle, so I added a foil rim (and maybe shared a few choice words of encouragement with Barbie) and baked the cake at 300 for 30 minutes.  Perfect.  Came out of the bowl like a dream.

Thursday:  Operation Icing.  I made a Swiss Buttercream icing (she’s a really good friend), because I heard it doesn’t get crunchy when it sits out overnight.  I made a double batch, spread the white, vanilla-flavored icing between my three layers, then dyed the whole think Bubble Yum pink and began decorating the cake.  In hindsight, I would’ve sprung for the icing spatula and the piping bags, but at the time, it felt like a rubber spatula and zip-top bags with the corners snipped would suffice.  Take my advice: Spend the extra $3!

Overall, I had a great time and ended with a cake I think my friend will love.  Plus I saved about $35.  (Unless you factor in the cost of my time (and likely my electricity bill), which means I owe myself roughly $142.) Have you ever made a crazy cake for a friend or child’s birthday?  Let me know!


  1. Claire

    Oh My Gosh…that cake is incredible. You’ve got to be the best friend ever!!!!

    August 11, 2008 at 10:50 am
  2. Brenda

    I used to bake and decorate cakes and I made many Barbie cakes. I had a dress mold pan but you can also just use a bowl. I used a normal Barbie doll. Undress her and wrap her lower body and up over the breasts’ with plastic wrap. Cut a hole in the cake and insert doll. She will be a little too tall but you can just fill in with frosting. Decorate the bodice with frosting to cover up the plastic. Two gifts in one!!

    August 12, 2008 at 9:50 am
  3. Denise

    I am a 70’s child and I remember my BF’s mom made her a barbie cake and boy was I jealous! It came out great but we didn’t get to hack in to it. She made us cupcakes and doughnuts and let me tell you, it is one of the fondest memories that I have of our childhood. 🙂

    August 14, 2008 at 2:37 pm
  4. Susan

    Ok-Here is my “crazy cake” story-I love birthday celebrations, there is very, VERY little I wouldn’t do for anyone’s birthday! My son asked to have his 6th birthday party at a local wildlife refuge (he plans to become a zoologist as of last week, he’s SO grown up at 12 !) He asked me to make a “real snake cake” with green eyes and pink tongue – No problem, I said to myself, if it’s a snake cake my son wants, a snake cake he shall get !!!!
    I enthusiastically
    “rehearsed” my baking skills, different food-safe colors, decorating skills (all amateur) and anxiously awaited the “baking day” (which of, course, turned into 3 full days of TOTAL insanity and full kitchen involvement). I made 6 bundt cakes, purposely burning 2 to make the snake’s head so it would stand up. (tip:it work’s !). I cut each in half and turned them opposite to make a 4 foot long twisting body, then used 3 cake-halves to form the head – this required some dowels and “cake carving” but it REALLY looked like a snake’s head ! I then bought ALOT of icing, because my icing just wasn’t stiff enough, from a local bakery and tinted it to make the various colors (Have you ever seen a snake that didn’t have alot of colors ?). No longer did I give thought to budget, permanent kitchen counter stains or the whispers from neighbors about the insanity of the “animal cake thingy”. It had become my driving passion, waking me late at night to re-design the coveted diamond back or the spring-like neck form.
    I finished in just under 3 days, had to arrange for several cars worth of transportation but the final creation was delivered to it’s final destination where it took about 1 1/2 hours to assemble ! My son had his cake – all 4 FEET of twisting, black diamond-backed (tinted powdered sugar), jewel-toned (edible food glitter)underbelly, green-eyed (grapes), pink fork- tongued (fruit roll-ups), with a 1 FOOT tall head-standing-upright snake !!!!!!
    The cake took up an entire banquet table – but oh my son smiled, hugged me, and said “Wow!” while circling his most amazing creature request to date (on the other hand, so did my family but with they were less kind, mostly focusing on my mental stability – Whata bunch of creeps ! They’re just jealous, I decided, it made me feel better at the time !
    Well, the party was a rousing success, the cake is still being talked about 6 years later and just last night my son siad “Hey, Mom, I know what kind of birthday cake I want THIS year” – Oh boy !!!!! Here we go again !!!

    August 14, 2008 at 9:15 pm
  5. ACDM

    Brings back such good memories… I had a Barbie cake… I think I was 3 or 4.. Its one of my Mom’s favorite pictures as I sit behind it all smiles….

    August 18, 2008 at 6:09 am
  6. charlotte

    I baked a 4 layer cake for my son’s birthday and as I iced it the layers began to slide off. I tried inserting 4 wooden skewers into the layers to hold them steady but it caused the cake to split down the center. More icing added to the split center did not help hold it together. The cake became known as the San Andreas Fault Cake . Wen serving it my dad requested that his piece come from the epicenter! We still laugh about about it.

    August 22, 2008 at 10:21 am
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