How to Make a Dolly Varden Cake

How to Make a Dolly Varden Cake

You may remember seeing this beautiful Blythe doll siren a few months ago. A couple of people have  asked me how I made it so I thought I’d post a  – How to make a dolly varden cake – here on the blog.

dolly varden cake tin

I found a dolly varden shaped cake tin on ebay and baked a chocolate mud cake in that which saved a lot of time shaping a round or square cake. Trim the crusty top off your cooked and cooled cake which will give you a nice flat base to work with.

chocolate ganache

I use dark chocolate ganache to layer and finish my cakes before the rolled fondant is put on top. Divide your cake into three or more even layers and sandwich these layers together using your ganache. Your cake will not only taste better but it will look fabulous when it is cut as well.

The first time I made a Blythe doll dolly varden cake I cut the cake in half vertically and then with a long sharp knife cut a small triangle out of the top of each side of the cake which was big enough to hold the dolls legs. Then I stuck the two sides of the cake back together using ganache. This time I left the cake complete and cut a diamond out of the top where I wanted to insert the Blythe Doll’s legs.

Blythe Doll dolly varden cake how to

There is no need to use the daggy dolls on a spike that you can get from a cake shop. Truly they are never going to look pretty. The best kind of doll for a dolly varden cake is a Blythe Doll with their luscious long locks and lifelike eyes. Barbies can work well too but the trick with any doll you are going to use in a cake as the centrepiece she should be looking her best. Before you use her and wrap her up brush her hair, style it and change her eyes to the colour you would like as this will be much harder once she is part of the finished cake. Wrap your dolls body in glad wrap using quite a few layers (yes mine did still smell like she was wearing chocolate perfume for a few weeks but it did wear off). For the head and hair I like to use aluminium foil as it can be wrapped easily around her styled hair and even bent up up of the way to help you cover the cake easily (like the picture below).

making a dolly varden cake

If you are doing a traditional dress dolly varden cake then you will need to insert the doll all the way up to her waist but because this one was a mermaid and I wanted to make it look like she was sitting on a rock I inserted her into the cake up to the top of her thighs and more towards the front centre of the top of the cake.

Once your doll is inserted into the cake then cover the outside in ganache and smooth it with a hot knife when it’s set/dry. I use a simple tv turntable to decorate my cake on instead of an expensive cake stand. It gives me a large, easily rotating surface and didn’t cost a fortune.

blythe doll dolly varden birthday cake

I marbled some fondant to make it look like a rock by mixing a smaller darker ball of brown rolled fondant to my existing brown coloured fondant. Just make sure you don’t mix it together too much so that you have a nice marbled effect. If you are doing a dolls dress like my other Blythe Doll dolly varden cake then just layer your coloured fondant over your ganached cake to make it look like a dress (you can see pictures of the one I made here).

Dolly Varden Cake Instructions

Finally take the foil off her head and hair once you’ve finished decorating the cake and all the sticky chocolate is covered in nice rolled fondant and tada you have yourself a dolly varden cake!

If you have any questions I’d be more than happy to answer them. I hope this “how to” is helpful to some of you in planning your own dolly varden cake.

  • zana

    Hi there,

    I am attempting a dolly Varden cake this week and am struggling to find any conclusive recipes on a good mud cake recipe and the cooking time for it as everyone seems to just say that they are finding it is not enough to fill the pan or it is to dry etc. If you could please help me as I am getting rather worried then that would be fantastic.

    Thank you

    • craftsmumship

      Hi Zana,
      The chocolate mud cake I used above (and use most of the time) was from the Planet Cake recipe book. If you are concerned about your oven or baking times etc it would be best to test a few out beforehand. You can always freeze the cake for a later date if it works out or even crumble and use for cake pops. Hope this helps. Best of luck.

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