Ever since I was a child, I have been lucky to have a fairly large family who met very often. My dad the eldest in his generation, has atleast a dozen cousins who are all very close to each other and loved to bunk up at our house every possible time. For six years I was the only child before my brother was born and everyone doted on me. I remember, even later, countless instances when all of us would go for picnics, movies, dinners and all. And then there were weddings, which were a big deal considering the number of members from our immediate family was never less than 150. Of course, I recollect times when only adults would be going for a hike or to watch a movie , and I used to cry so much when I had to stay back home, but overall, I remember having a great time with all of them.
Now, all of them are married, a lot of them have kids of varying ages. Me being the eldest, the onus is on me to keep all the cousins together and provide a platform for everyone to meet, which my parents have been providing for years.
Families have a way of making you feel warm inside, make you feel connected. There are always some common threads, common behavioral patterns which you can trace to at least one uncle or aunt or even a grand-uncle/aunt. It is funny, because sometimes those two people haven’t even spent considerable time with each other, but they exhibit exactly the same eating habits, the same way of folding legs when seated or a peculiar facial expression. And all of us can be traced back to one couple, three generations earlier. Each one of us is a part of them, and they are in parts of us. This knowledge makes me feel rooted. Stable.
When I was in Paris last November-December, a lot of my friends in Cordon Bleu had to go meet their extended families for Christmas and they dreaded it. I was surprised, but it is understandable. All of them live multi-cultural, multi-national lives. Spending different years of life in different parts of the world, perhaps they never got to bond with their families. On the other hand, most of us are born in Mumbai and will die in Mumbai. Sure we travel faraway on holidays, for education etc., but in the end, we come back to our roots. Most of us. And we prefer it that way.
When I got married, my husband and I were thinking of going to the US for further studies with a possibility of settling there. I was in love, just married and ready to do anything, so hadn’t thought too much about migrating to another country.But plans changed and we decided to stay in India. When I look back I realise how insanely home-sick I would have been. I need people around me, a lot of them and often. I need the familiarity your family offers and not once every Christmas, but at least once every two months. Luckily, the entire extended family on my husband’s side is equally awesome, and I am glad that my kids will grow up with the same fun and euphoria with their cousins and doting uncles, aunts and grandparents.
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And I had my eyes on this Barbie Doll cake for a long time now. I researched all the various methods – with mold, without mold, with fondant, buttercream, and whipping cream, Barbie with legs, without legs and a dozen other related things. Prima-facie it looked like a lot of work, but when I got down to it, it took not more than 4 hours from start to finish.
It was my nine-year old cousin sister’s birthday and all of us had our regular bi-monthly get-together. What better day than this to make this Strawberry pink Barbie cake!
My cousin loved it and all of them stayed glued near the cake, waiting for a go-ahead to cut it and devour.
I made this one without a mold and used whipping cream for the gown. This underlying cake is really easy to make and this recipe is a keeper.
Barbie Doll Cake
What you will need :
- 1 cup softened room temperature butter
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup hot milk
- 2 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Strawberry essence
- 2 drops red food color
- a pinch of salt is using unsalted butter
For icing :
- 500 ml whipping cream (I use Tropolite)
- 4 teaspoon icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon strawberry essence
- 2-3 drops of red food color
What to do :
- Pre-heat oven to 170C.
- Cream butter with an electric beater or a whisk till pale and light. Add sugar and beat till creamy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, till fully incorporated.
- Add the milk, strawberry essence and red food color and beat well.
- Combine the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and baking soda in another bowl, sift it once and keep it ready.
- Then with a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, half a cup at a time, till there are no more streaks of flour.
- Now you can either use three 18-20 cm diameter round cake pans and then cut the excess of two cakes to make it a dome, or use three pans of decreasing diameter. I had floral aluminum pans 20, 18 and 15 cm each and I used them.
- Line the bottom of the pans with a parchment paper and butter the sides.
- Carefully fill the pans with the batter till 1/2 or 1/3 full, smoothen the top with a spatula and put it to bake at 170C for 20-25 minutes, till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Once baked, let the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then unmold them and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the icing, whip the cold cream till soft peaks, then add the sugar and beat till it forms hard peaks. Add the strawberry essence and red food color and whisk till fully incorporated.
- Once cakes have fully cooled, cut the dome if any with a serrated knife, so that you have three layers of flat cakes.
- Take a cardboard cake board, spread some icing in the centre and place the biggest cake on it, so that it does not leave the board while icing. Take a few strips of parchment paper and place it securely between the cake and the cake board, so that any icing which gets dropped does not soil the cake board.
- Give a crumb coat to the cake, which is basically a thin layer of icing to seal the crumbs in, so that they do not interfere with the rest of the icing on the layers.
- Repeat the same procedure with the other two layers.
- Keep the cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes for the crumb coat to settle.
- Meanwhile check the height of the three layers of cakes and accordingly you can put the entire legs of the barbie in the centre of the cake, or remove the legs. I had only 10 cms of cake layers, hence I removed the legs and made a hole in the top-most cake layer with an apple corer (or a simple knife) and place the top half of the barbie in the cake, covered till waist. (Remember to remove the clothes of the barbie and to tie up the hair with a saran wrap on top).
- Then give a generous layering of icing to the entire cake and smoothen the icing for it to resemble an upturned bowl. Add/reduce icing wherever necessary.
- With a piping bag and a nozzle of choice, pipe the decoration of the barbie gown on the cake. Be careful to cover it entirely.
- Then place the barbie on top of the cake in the already prepared slot and with the smallest star nozzle, pipe a dress on the body of the barbie.
- Remove the parchment paper in the bottom, give finishing touches to the barbie and you doll cake is ready!
In a few simple steps, your Barbie Doll cake is ready! 🙂
- You can double the cake recipe and make taller cakes, to fit in the entire Barbie with the legs.
- The color and flavoring of the cake and cream can be changed to whatever you like.