I was never a fan of “doll” cakes, but a few years ago when I got asked to do the Tiana cake I fell in LOVE with doing the Disney princess cakes! I Followed up with the Rapunzel cake tutorial, and so when my niece decided to have a Brave party I begged to do a Merida Cake! I’m thinking about doing all the princesses, what would you like to see next?
My sister alwasy throws a GREAT party, so head over to her blog to see all the full Merida Party amazing treats, details and pictures of the party! I love the invitations and my little girl loved the bow and arrow favors, and teddy grahams.
I always start my cake designs with sketching out the full cake, then I start by writing out every step and planning it all before I even get started. That way nothing get’s forgotten, and I don’t waste a lot of time doing something in the wrong order.
Sometimes the details get covered up by the next layer, like the neckline details, but it’s worth doing underneath right for that little peek here and there! I also have to think about HOW I’m going to do some parts of the dress.
The cape was a challenge, how to have it “flow” and not just be stuck to the dress all down the back. I love how it turned out! Merida wears a pretty simple dress, but sometimes the most simple can be more challenging because there isn’t a lot of detail to cover up problem areas.
So I started with the cape to give it time to dry. I rolled out modeling chocolate, and shaped it how I wanted it to lay in the back, creating ruffles, and holding it all in place with rolled up paper towels. Then while I worked on the rest of the doll it was drying!
You can get the Merida doll here. I got her naked and wrapped her legs in saran wrap for two reasons, 1. food safety, and 2. keep her legs together (easier to go into the cake that way). Also I rubber band her hair up and out of the way!
The next challenge is that Merida’s dress is actually A-line and very thin, but to carve it down that much there wouldn’t be much cake… So I started with the standard wilton wonder mold pan but its always a bit short for the dolls with legs so I added an 8 inch cake layer below (stuck together with my Ganache)
Then I started carving away, I started with a few deep, large, cuts, then filled in between with a few smaller, shallower cuts. Then smoothed out each of the cuts when I was happy with them and then frosted it with my ganache, filling up the gap near her thighs.
Next up? the Fondant. Since I put Merida in first I couldn’t just cover it top down, so I wrapped it with a seam in the back, knowing the cape would cover the seam in the end. To make the bodice I cut out a rectangle, made some arm holes and wrapped it around her bodice, cutting the neckline, waist and creating a seam in the back.
Make SURE you adjust her arms where you want them now so as you position the bodice the straps lay right where you want them. If you try to move the arms later you’ll cause cracking in the fondant because it starts to dry.
I decided rather than try to create the “underdress” then layer the sleeves over the top to create the sleeves first and add the “poofs” later. Roll out a VERY thin layer of the same color fondant and cut out a small rectangle for each arm. I use vodka, but clear vanilla works too, to stick the fondant to the doll.
Wrap it arond the arm, pressing it into place and cut the excess off leaving the seam underneath to hid it. I use a VERY sharp knife, I prefer cutco, just don’t cut your fingers (like I did). (check out my niece carefully watching how it was going)
Do the other arm, cutting and pressing the shoulder seams together while the fondant is still soft and pliable. If it starts to not stick together add a bit of the vodka/clear vanilla.
Now for the RUFFLES! Roll out some ivory fondant VERY thin…
Cut some VERY thin strips, and using a ball tool thin one edge, because it’s so small it didn’t ruffle as much as I’d wanted, so I also too the other end of the ball tool and pulled some ruffles out.
Add some Vodka/clear vanilla around the collar of the dress, and carefully wrap the collar around. Create a seam in the back, and then lift up the ruffles away from the doll until your happy with the look.
Do the same thing around the wrists, remembering to seam underneath the arm, and pulling open the ruffles.
Now for the poofs!!! Roll out the fondant semi thick and cut circles (using my large round tip) and cut them in half (some even, some small/large portions)
Now it’s time to start adding poofs! Think about your placement. Where the elbow is bent the outside poofs should be larger, while the inside poofs should be smaller. Again attaching with the vodka/clear vanilla
same thing with the shoulder, the outside of the shoulder will be longer, while the closer you get to the armpit it will be shorter and smaller. While the straight elbow will be about the same size all the way around!
I have a clay extruder I use to extra small details like these itty bitty “strands”. I cut them with the tip of a toothpick, that way they kind of “stick” to it and I bring it up to the V-neck, placing the strands where I want them.
Creating the criss cross closing! This ends up getting covered so if you don’t want to bother with it it will not be a big deal, but I’m a perfectionist and all about the details… so I did it!
I decided just to use the arrow case (seriously, it has an official name, what is it called?) the doll came with, along with the bow and arrow simple because they are so thin I didn’t want to risk making something that would just crumble. BUT the doll is super thin, so it didn’t fit around the waist!!! GAH. I placed it where I wanted it, on her hip, and wrapped what I could around, then STUCK it to the back of the dress with some extra fondant (again, getting covered with the cape)
To add some detail I took some gold edible paint and painted the ruffles and poofs for some extra depth, and more of a homespun cloth look. I loved the way it turned out.
And now time for the part I was most nervous about, how would the cape hold up… I turned it over (it was nice and dry by this point) and painted the back with vodka/clear vanilla) then holding it where I wanted it placed it in the back of Merida! I put it over to the side, as hers doesn’t seem to be very even, more over the bow holding arm, less over the arrow pulling back arm (does that make sense?)
It worked GREAT!!! I touched enough of the doll (shoulder blades and skirt) that it didn’t matter that it didn’t touch along the back and waist!
for the top, the cake I cut a moon shape out of the modeling chocolate and wrapped it around the top of the cape and over the shoulders!
I didn’t want the clasp to cover my criss cross so I turned it over to the side a bit ad added an ivory fondant medallion. Then painted over it with the gold paint!
Let her hair down, add the bow and arrow and she’s DONE!!! What do you think? I am SO happy with how she turned out!
So if I do more Disney princesses which would you like to see next? Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Merida party at my sisters blog!