For my youngest daughter’s 6th Birthday she requested a Luau pool party. I’m a very good baker but I’ve never been great at cake decorating. When brainstorming cake ideas I thought I could make, without it looking like it belonged on “Nailed It”, I remembered I had success making a doll cake in the past with a textured skirt. I decided I could make a hula girl doll cake and all I would have to do for the grass skirt was a bunch of lines of green frosting. I knew my daughter had a Barbie wearing a bikini and I could borrow the bikini top to keep the cake decorations extra simple.
For the skirt portion of the cake I used my Wilton Wonder Mold Doll Shaped Cake Pan Set. To make sure the cake releases from the pan in 1 clean piece it’s extra important to prep the pan. I rubbed shortening all over the inside of the pan (including the rod in the center) and then coated the shortening with a thin layer of flour. The wonder mold pan requires 6 cups of batter, this is approximately 1.5 times most cake recipes or box cake mixes. You can either make a double batch and use the extra batter for cupcakes or recalculate your favorite recipe to make 1.5 times what the recipe calls for. I used the following recipe (and had left over batter for cupcakes)
1 c veg. oil
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/3 cup water
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
2 pkgs of Duncan Hines Moist deluxe ( I use a combination of Devils and Dark Chocolate or 2 dark chocolates)
1 tbsp of instant expresso powder
I added all ingredients to my stand mixer and mixed at low speed until everything was combined. Once combined I mixed at medium speed for 2 mins. I filled the wonder mold pan 3/4 of the way full and baked at 325 for 75 mins (I added a piece of aluminum foil over the top at 60 mins to keep the top from over cooking). At 75 mins I checked to make sure the cake was cooked all the way through by inserting a wooden kabob skewer in the center and making sure it came out clean. I let the cake cool completely on the kitchen counter for an hour or so and then turned the pan upside down on an Wilton 8-Inch Cake Circle and tapped the outside of the pan to release. I wrapped my cake in Saran Wrap and let it chill in the fridge for a couple hours.
After looking at the finished cake I decided I wanted a little more height to my finished cake and decided to make a couple 9 inch cakes to place below to make the cake taller (and feed more people).
I could have used the same recipe above for the 2 9 inch rounds or any box mix but I decided to make my favorite chocolate devil’s food cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction (this cake isn’t quite firm enough for the wonder mold but is a super delicious cake that works well for the base). Sally’s recipe can be found here.
While all my cake layers were chilling in the fridge I mixed up a double batch of buttercream frosting. For my buttercream frosting I added 2 cups of softened salted butter to my stand mixer and mixed with 2 tablespoons of pure vanilla until completely smooth. I slowly added 2 pounds (8 cups) of sifted powder sugar. Once all the sugar was combined I slowly added a tablespoon of whole milk at a time until the icing was the consistency I wanted, I used about 3 tablespoons. The last step was to add green food coloring to make the icing the shade I wanted for the grass skirt. I prefer Gel food coloring because it only requires a little bit for vibrant results and the icing consistency isn’t changed from adding too much liquid.
Once the cakes had chilled in the fridge for a couple hours, I leveled each cake with my Wilton Cake Leveler and I stacked the 9 inch cake rounds on a 10 inch round cake board with a thick layer of buttercream frosting between each layer. I then added a crumb coat to the 9 inch cake rounds and the wonder mold cake by carefully spreading a thin layer of frosting all over the cakes to seal the crumbs in. I returned the cakes to the fridge to let the crumb coat set for a couple hours. Once the crumb coat set the cakes were ready to stack and decorate. In order to support the weight of the doll cake without collapsing the bottom cake layers I like to use Extra Wide Clear Plastic Milkshake straws I cut them to the exact height of the stacked 9 inch round cake layers. I cut 6 straw pieces and inserted them into the bottom cake tier making a circle just slightly smaller than the 8 inch cake board the wonder mold cake was on. I then placed the wonder mold cake (on the 8 inch cake board) on top of the bottom tier.
I filled a pastry bag with my green buttercream frosting and used a #14 tip to pipe overlapping lines of green frosting from the top of the wonder mold cake down to the cake board it was sitting on. After I was happy with the grass skirt lines, I added the extra icing in a thick layer to the bottom 9 inch round tier of the cake and smoothed it out (it didn’t have to look perfect because it would be covered). I decided to keep it simple and add Pirouline Wafer Cookies around the bottom tier to create a beachy feel. I just broke the cookies into various heights and pressed them into the buttercream frosting. I made some edible sand by putting half a box of Vanilla Wafers, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 Oreo cookies into my food processor and pulsing until it was a fine powder that looked like sand. I added the edible sand behind the Pirouline cookies and around the outside of the cake on my cake stand.
The final step was to add the “doll” to the top of the cake. I actually did this step after arriving to the party since it was easier to cover and transport without the doll attached. I put a Barbie bikini top onto a Wilton Doll Pick, Blonde and inserted it in the top of the cake. Once the doll pick was inserted I added a few Flower candies to the waist to complete the Hula girl look.
I thought the cake looked great even though I have no cake decorating skills and my daughter loved it! We stuck 6 pineapple candles in the skirt and sang Happy Birthday!
**I have included affiliate links to the products I used and can receive a small commission if a purchase is made after you click on a link in this tutorial.
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