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Greetings from under the sea!
Well, not really… Anyway, I got the chance to make this super fun Mermaid Cake this year and I thought that you would like to know how to make one too! At least, it’s a good cake to have in your arsenal of cake decorating knowledge. Even if you aren’t going to make a Mermaid Cake you might be able to apply one or more of the technics used to another cake, so read on. This cake is similar to the Barbe Cake I did awhile back that used a real Barbie in it. Like that cake, this Mermaid Cake also has a real doll used in it. This one adds a bit more challenge because it wasn’t made with a plastic top right on it. Thanks to the person I made the cake for who had the excellent suggestion of using nail polish to create a top! I’ll show you how to do that later. So let’s get started!
Let’s start with your doll. I used one that was actually supposed to be Ariel or something, but you can use whatever Barbie-like-doll that you think would be a good mermaid.
Next, you’ll need to bake some cakes! I used about 6 layers: 3 white and 3 chocolate. I used 9-inch cakes.
Now you are going to want to get your doll ready. Just undress her and wrap her in plastic wrap, this will keep her from getting covered in frosting. You’ll also what to wrap her hair in an up-doo to keep that clean and out of your way… this also keeps her hair out of the frosting!
Now, just layer up you first three layers of cake. You will want to cut a hole big enough for your doll to fit through into each cake layer. Be sure to line the holes up so that you will have one nice even cylinder for the doll to fit in later. Layer the cakes up filling each layer with frosting. Next, you’ll add the next three layers, but for this, you will cut away part of the front of each layer of cake. This will give you a little shelf on which to put candles if you want to. It will also give a bit more of a distinction between the water part of the cake and the sandy area that your mermaid will be sitting on. You’ll want to freeze the cake for a bit now so that it gets hard. Before you do that though place your doll in the cake to make sure you have enough layers and also not too many layers.
It’s time to sculpt this Mermaid Cake! With your frozen cake carefully cut off bits of cake. It will be easier to carve the cake when it is frozen, otherwise, it is too easy to cut off too much at a time. Remember you can always trim off a bit more, but you can’t put the cake back after you cut it off. You just want to shape the top three layers into a nice, rounded mound. This mound is where your mermaid will sit. Be sure to put your doll in every now-and-then to see if you like what you have going on. Once you are satisfied with your sculpting results place the cake in the freezer while you work on your frosting.
Now for Mermaid Cake, you are going to need lots of different colors of frosting! So get out some containers, spatulas, spoons, and your paste food coloring you will need: one or two blues, tan/sand, pink, green, purple, orange, yellow, and teal. Or really any color combo you want. The blue is for the water, the tan is for the sand (though you could do gray and make it a rock I suppose), and I used teal for the mermaid tail, but whatever colors suit your fancy you can use.
Now just make your frosting and color it up! You will need lots of blue, lots of tan, and make sure you have plenty for the tail. Then you just need a bit of pink, green, purple, orange, yellow, and white. Now we can frost the cake!
Start by spreading your tan frosting on the mound that you carved earlier, that way it if some blue gets on it, it just looks like the water is splashing up on the mound. It doesn’t have to be smooth either, just rough ice it.
Next, add dots of you two blues and some white to the bottom layers of the cake.
Again just rough ice it, that way it will look like waves. The three colors really help enhance the water like effect. You can just use one color if you want too, but I like it with three.
Put the cake back in the freezer for a bit so that it can harden up before you finish the decorations. Meanwhile, let’s get a top on your doll if she didn’t come with one. I used painters tape to outline the design of the top so it would make a cleaner edge.
Now, just paint on a few layers of nail polish. The tape roll proved to be a valuable stand to keep the nail polish from getting everywhere while it dried. If you would prefer an edible top for your doll check out this Kelly Cupcake post for some ideas.
While the nail polish dries you can get all your piping bags ready with tips and frosting! I used a star tip for the blue, pink and orange were round tips though I did some star tips with them too, the green was a leaf tip, purple was a petal tip, teal was a small basket weave tip I also used a star tip too, and yellow was a small drop flower tip. Seriously though just use whatever combination that you want too. Use a few different kinds to give your cake more texture and interest. Use what you have, or use this as an excuse to buy more tips ; )
Once your doll’s top has dried, it’s time to put her in the cake!
Pipe a bit of the tail color around her so that she is steady and well stuck in the cake.
Next, we want to make sure we have room for is the tail! It’s not a mermaid without the tail. I just used a toothpick to draw an outline of the tail so I would have a general guide while I was piping. You want the tail to be on the front side where the little cake shelf is so that the doll will be facing the candles if you use them.
Now just pipe in the tail, I used the small basket weave tip to make “scales” on the upper part of the tail than a star tip to do the “fin” part of the tail. I also added a tiny shell border around the doll’s waist to make it look more finished.
Next, we just need to add all the extra little decorations! Little sea weeds and coral all around the bottom of the mound.
Then you can pipe stars or “barnacles” all over the mound.
I also added a sort of shell/wave border around to bottom of the cake. I did a reverse shell border using several different star tips and drop flower tips. You don’t see it much but it adds a little something.
Once you’re ready to serve the cake just remove the plastic wrap from the dolls hair and it’s ready to go! A fabulous, breath taking, eye catching, “how in the world did you make that” Mermaid Cake.
Oh, one other thing… this Mermaid Cake is not going to fit in a normal cake box. You’ll need to find a different, tall, clean box to put it in. A bit of shelf liner in the bottom of the box will help keep it from moving around so much if you have to transport it.
Now you are ready to have an awesome under-the-sea party! With a wonderful Mermaid Cake that will dazzle the guests. If you want to you could also add some gummy octopus or gummy fish or anything else that comes to mind. A bit of edible glitter wouldn’t be out of place either. Have fun and let me know how your Mermaid Cake turns out in the comments!
Original How-To By: Rilla Banks (A.K.A. Epic Sweet)