Tinkercake - Happy 6th Birthday Penny

Fairy garden themed Dolly Varden cake

Penny was having a fairy themed party, a perfect opportunity to make my very first Dolly Varden cake!

So why is it called a Dolly Varden cake? I pondered this question all weekend while I worked on this cake! Turns out the cake tin is names after the Dolly Varden style of dress popular in the 18oo's.


The fairy base:

To start this one off I made two simple vanilla sponge cakes, one in a special Dolly Varden cake tin (kindly gifted to me by a friend) and one in a normal round cake tin. I made one batch of the following simple recipe for each of the cakes.

  • 200g butter
  • 1 cups caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 ½ cups self-raising flour
Cream the butter and sugar well, then add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Fold through the milk and flour in alternating small batches. Bake in 180 degree (pre-heated) oven for 40-50 minutes until cooked through. I was worried about the cake sticking in the Dolly Varden ton, so I buttered it well and also coated it with a generous layer of flour.

The garden:

Next I made a double batch of chocolate cupcakes using my go to recipe. I decorated the cupcakes using butter cream frosting (go to recipe for this will be up soon) and some simple flowers made with vanilla fondant (fondant and frosting coloured using sugarflair spectral paste) as well as some store bought sprinkles and sugar work.

The fairy:

After cooling both cakes I started by frosting (in dark green coloured butter cream frosting) the base cake and putting it in the fridge to set a little. Next I added the Dolly Varden cake and frosted it using a light green coloured butter cream.

To add the doll I made a couple of incisions in the top of the cake. I wrapped the bottom half of the doll in glad wrap to protect her (she was Penny's birthday present!) and gently pushed her into the cake until just her torso was visible. Both cakes then went back into the fridge to set a little before the decorating started.

To finish I decorated using coloured vanilla fondant, cake glitter, store bought sugar work and some craft butterflies. Transport was tricky (definitely a two person job!) but all the cakes made it to the party safely!