I’m no baker, or decorator, and I have only ever made about 5 birthday cakes in my life. But, over two days last week, I created an Elsa dress cupcake cake for my daughter’s 5th birthday party. Which happened to be a Frozen-themed party (as if it was ever going to be anything else). I chose to make a cupcake cake, because:
- I’m pretty well experienced in making cupcakes.
- A mistake on an individual cupcake level, or even batch level, seemed easier to rectify than an error with a whole large cake
- I had the idea to hand the pulled apart cupcakes out individually at the end of the party, in cake pods, and together with the party favours.
My daughter’s party was on a Sunday morning and I actually started making the cakes on Friday afternoon. The decorating bit happened on Saturday. I had, however, been planning the cake for quite some time and so I had gathered the materials and ingredients over a period of a couple of weeks.
My inspiration for the cake came mainly from these two Frozen-themed cupcake cakes.
Anna dress source: https://www.facebook.com/DashOfKreations
Elsa dress source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/442408363371332998/
The Anna dress cupcake cake was my particular favourite. I love the cape and the bodice particularly. The Elsa dress also gave me inspiration for the snowflakes, organza cape and colour scheme.
I took the best of both designs to create my own cake plan/design (as below). My sketch was not quite to the standard of illustrations you’d find on Bake Off and clearly my maths is crap. But, here, I was able to depict for the first time, the key differentiator of my Elsa dress cake: the addition of the glimmering frozen fractal bodice. I had not seen a true Elsa bodice on Pinterest or anywhere across the Internet over the past six months of working on Frozen Party Ideas. I knew that my daughter and all her friends truly believed that the best dressing up Elsa dress was the Disneystore one, with a panel of horizontal sequins, so why shouldn’t the best cake have those too.
With this plan to hand, I worked out my materials and ingredients list for an Elsa cupcake cake with shimmering bodice.
To make 48 cupcakes (you’ll only use 33, but you’ll want to choose the best ones).
- 9 eggs
- 611g butter
- 611g caster sugar
- 611g self raising flour
- 3 teaspoons vanilla essence
- Water icing (to act as glue) – icing sugar and water
- Buttercream icing (butter, icing sugar, milk)
- Blue and green food colouring (lots of blue)
- Renshaw white fondant icing
- Three shades of blue fondant icing
- Metallic food paint: pearlescent baby blue
Tools and materials
- Large cake board
- 3 x large mixing bowls
- Light blue cupcake cases
- Cupcake baking tray
- Hand mixer
- KitchenCraft plunger cutters
- Wilton 40-Piece Alphabet/ Number Cut-Outs Set
- Piping bag and star shaped nozzle
- Rolling pin
- Double sided tape
- Light blue silver snow flake patterned organza (Hobbycraft)
- Sparkly white gem necklace (bakers own)
- Sparkly Elsa tiara (Poundworld)
- Cake tins to store the cakes overnight
- Cake pods for handing out the cakes at the party
Step 1: Make the cupcakes
The first step is to make the massive batch of cupcake mix. I used nine eggs as this cupcake cake dress is large. You should always weigh your eggs to give you the required weights of the other cupcake ingredients. My eggs weighed 611g, which meant I needed 611g of butter, sugar and flour too. Tips here are to ensure your butter is at room temperature before you start, add the vanilla essence early on and introduce the flour to the mixture very gradually.
Step 2: bake the cupcakes
I needed to bake four batches of twelve cupcakes as I only have one baking tray. They went into the oven at 180 degrees centigrade and baked for around 20 minutes.
Step 3: Make your snowflake decorations
This bit was my favourite part of making this cake. I was able to use my new decorating toys for the first time. I loved using my snowflake plunger cutters, it was almost therapeutic. I chose the KitchenCraft plunger cutters from Amazon.
Plunging out snowflakes was very easy and fun. I put them to one side on a piece of kitchen towel.
May have gotten carried away with the mini fondant snowflakes! So cute!
Then, the fondant snowflakes went into hibernation until the next day, when they topped the Elsa cupcake cake. I placed them all carefully into a tupperware container.
Step 4: Make the fondant “Happy Birthday” text
The last activity for day 1 was cutting out the words Happy Birthday <Name> with my Wilton 40-Piece Alphabet/ Number Cut-Outs Set. This was not as easy as I had assumed it would be. It turned out that I needed to roll it out really thinly in order to be able to get the fondant out of the cutters more easily.
Until I realised that, this step did not go well.
This is what my text looked like in the end. I used the turquoise fondant icing for this text, as it stood out best on the silver cake board. The white power is icing sugar, which disappeared before I place the letters on the cake board. These letters also went into hibernation until the next day.
Step 5: Test your cupcakes in position on the board
I did this only for my own satisfaction to ensure that the cake was on the right track. After this I stopped for day 1. Once completely cooled, the cakes went into tins to ensure they did not go stale.
Step 6: Stick the cape onto the board
The cape laid underneath the bodice and skirt of the Elsa dress cupcake cake, but the risk with this is that it could slip about on the board. So the first step is to secure it, invisibly, to the board. For this I used both double-sided sticky tape and quite a few blobs of thick water icing as glue. I had to make sure I placed these in positions that would be hidden by the cupcakes when I place those on top of the cape.
I then pushed and rubbed the cape onto the tape and icing glue, until it was firmly in place.
Step 7: Ensure that all the cupcakes a flat and level
I cut the peaks off all the cakes. I used a very sharp knife, and ensured that none of the cakes was higher than the edge of it’s case.
Step 8: Glue the dress part of the cake onto the board
Using more icing glue, I then stuck the dress cupcakes onto the board. It was important to leave the arms until after I’d frosted the dress otherwise the cape would have hung over them and get covered in icing.
Step 9: Make ice-blue buttercream icing
At this point, I got my daugher’s Elsa dress down to ensure my buttercream frosting turned out roughly the right colour. This was important because there would be tens of little Elsas in the room at the party and I didn’t want the cake to look anaemic or fluorescent in comparison to their party dresses.
Unfortunately, I totally under-estimated the volume of food colouring I would need to achieve the blue of the Elsa dress. This is the result of buttercream after a whole bottle of blue food colouring. Not Elsa blue.
So I had to go out and clear the shelf of blue colouring in Morrisons!!! In the end I used 3 bottles of blue and three teaspoons of green for the dress (two thirds of the cake), and half a bottle of blue and 1 teaspoon of green for the arms (one third of the cake).
Step 9: Pipe frosting onto the dress part of the cake
I used a piping bag and star shaped nozzle and swirled starting in the middle and working out.
Unfortunately it turned out that I made way too much buttercream. But I was able to use some of this to frost the leftover cupcakes (which we enjoyed very much that day and for days after the party). Here’s what was left over!
Step 10: Create the Frozen fractal bodice
Using three different colours of blue Renshaw fondant icing, I created the fondant Frozen fractals for Elsa dress bodice. After rolling out the icing, I cut 1 cm wide strips of fondant, of roughly equal length, which I then also cut into thirds.
I then placed the fondant fractals in slightly overlapping layers, starting at the bottom of the bodice and working my way to the top. The colours were laid somewhat randomly, but I made sure that there was no large clusters of the same colour. It was a pretty exciting part of the cake decoration process, as once complete, I could really see that my cake was going to be very different from the rest. It was now unique.
The finishing, magical, touch to this step was creating the shimmer effect on the bodice. I achieved this by painting the strips of fondant with pearlescent baby blue metallic food paint. I painted the duck egg strips entirely, and painted the edge only of the turquoise and baby blue fondant strips, to give the effect of light reflecting off the ice shards.
Step 11: Place fondant snowflakes on the dress
The fondant snowflakes where taken out of hibernation and placed on the fondant swirls of the Elsa dress.
Step 12: Add the cupcake arms, and decorate
I then added the remaining cupcakes across the top of the cake, to create the arms. These were frosted with the light blue 1/3 of the buttercream icing, and then I placed the mini snowflakes on the arms.
Step 14: Dress the cake and add the message and candles
The final step was to close the cape, which I did with a single staple. I hid this by placing a sparkly gem necklace across the top edge of the cape, which I glued on with water icing.
I then placed the Elsa tiara onto the top few cupcakes.
Finally I glued the “Happy birthday” message across the bottom of my board.
Just before presenting the cake I inserted five birthday cakes into the top five cakes.
In total the cake took me about 5 hours.
After the candles were blown out, I took the cake away, pulled it apart and placed the individual cakes into cake pods. These were then handed out to the party guests, together with their party favours, as they left the party. No mess, no fuss!
Hope you like it. I was quite pleased!