When Ava told me that she wanted a Rapunzel cake for her 5th birthday, I immediately thought about those dress cakes that my mom used to make me as a kid. My mom made it look so easy! I went out and bought Wilton's Wonder Mold and was shocked to discover that they still used the same dolls from the 1970's. Fortunately I was able to find a Barbie Rapunzel doll and figured I could engineer it somehow into the cake and all would be well. That was my first mistake.
At the end of Wilton's suggested baking time for the cake it had the consistency of a Jello mold. Not good. I let it bake for another 30 minutes and finally it was cooked through. My second rookie mistake was that I didn't factor for the cake not being as tall as the pan itself. What did that mean? That meant that Rapunzel's dress was going to hit mid-thigh unless I removed her legs or chopped off her ankles. Not cute. And while I briefly entertained the idea, I was not about to dismember a $20 Barbie doll.
My first Rapunzel cake was such a disaster that I didn't even take a picture. Come to think of it, I should have just so I could submit it to Cake Wrecks. It would've been a great addition to this post. So what now? Only hours remained until Ava's birthday and I had nothing to show for it besides a disaster of a kitchen and a husband that was seriously questioning my sanity. Most people at this point would've just bought some cupcakes and called it a day. But not me.
Fortunately for me and sweet little niece Ava, my last mistake was still salvageable and I was able to cover all of my errors with fondant. I didn't take a ton of pictures because, well, I was literally giving Rapunzel eyebrows just minutes before we ran out the door.
The final product was a two-layer strawberry cake with my standard cream cheese frosting (1lb powdered sugar, 1 stick of softened butter, 1 stick of softened cream cheese, 1t vanilla). Here is the cake recipe I used which I've made twice and its actually quite good. While it was quite the undertaking, it was well worth seeing the smile on Ava's face, especially after she told me that I am "the best cake baker ever."