Little Mermaid Birthday Cake

Last weekend was my beautiful baby girl’s 5th birthday party.  She requested an Ariel cake, so this is what I came up with.  Thank you to everyone who has posted Little Mermaid Cakes online and thank you to Google Image search.  I borrowed from all these places mercilessly.

CAKE

The cake comes from the Buttercup Cookbook.  That is probably my most consistent yellow cake recipe.  I make my own “self-rising” flour by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt for every cup of regular all-purpose flour.

This cake is easy to make, but two words of warning:

1.  Do not overbake.  Take the cake out of the oven as soon as its done and before it becomes a very rich brown.

2.  Don’t refrigerate the cake.  If refrigeration is unavoidable, leave at least 6 hours for the cake to come back to room temperature.  Because of all the butter, cold cake is dry cake.  The buttercream frosting will keep it fresh and moist on the inside for up to 24 hours without refrigeration.

FROSTING

I threw together a basic American vanilla buttercream a lot like this one from Gale Gand.  Truthfully, I put room temperature unsalted butter in a mixer and start adding powdered sugar, cream, salt and vanilla until it looks and tastes right.  But the ratios probably end up much like the Gale Gand recipe.  I tend to make it on the sweet side, but when it comes to decoration, you want to also look for the right consistency.

TOPPER

The topper was ordered online.

Decoration is not my strong suit, but I was pretty happy with how this turned out.

 

18 Comments

  1. I think your decorating abilities are excellent. It is a beautiful cake. I think I’d like to
    try it for my great granddaughter’s birthday.

    Reply
  2. what a lucky 5 year old!! Great job, Could have fooled me that decorating isn’t your strong suit. I bet the party was a big hit and the other mom’s are hating you now :)

    Reply
  3. This is completely gorgeous… I am thoroughly impressed!

    Reply
  4. Wow, it’s perfect!
    And the colors are amazingly vivid :)

    Reply
  5. wowwwwwwwwww!!!! 8 year old tina just pooped her pants with excitement over this awesome cake! (27 year old tina may or may not have also : ) Great job!

    Reply
  6. My niece would go crazy for this cake! Is the entire cake decorated with buttercream? You didn’t use any fondant? I’ve never used fondant and I would much rather use buttercream.

    Reply
    • Hi Jenn, I’m not a big fan of fondant. It looks beautiful, but it tastes horrible. So, yes, I only used buttercream on this cake because buttercream is yummy! :) — H

      Reply
  7. Oh my god,this is AWESOME!!!!
    I wish my mum would have meda such a cake for my 18th birthday… I love Disney and Ariel will always be my favorite character. :)

    Reply
  8. This is just what I was looking for. We are having a pool party – so it will be 95ish degrees here in Texas – I had planned to do this cake with three tiers using a poured fondant – do you think that type of icing will hold up better than buttercream in the heat? Also – after it is decorated should I refrigerate it?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Jenny,
      I’ve had nothing but heartache from poured fondant. It has always required lots and lots of layers and created an ungodly mess. However, if you are comfortable with that method, it may hold up better in the heat because it has a much lower fat content. Having said that, I don’t think that poured fondant tastes as good and no decorated cake does really well in 95 degree heat, not even rolled fondant. So, if I were you, I would use this buttercream, but I would try to store the cake somewhere at room temperature for the pool party. Will there be a home or clubhouse nearby? Then, you can bring the cake out for the big “ta da!” You can refrigerate it overnight, if necessary, but leave many hours (at least 6) for it to sit at room temperature before serving. The cake is made with butter and cake with butter is quite dry when cold. Just think about the difference in texture between a cold stick of butter and one that is at room temperature.

      If there is no choice but to submit the cake to the heat, perhaps you should try the poured fondant after all. Good luck and send pictures! I’d love to see how your creation turns out.
      Best,
      Heather

      Reply
    • I made this cake last week for my daughter 5th birthday party. we changed it a little. 1 tier and 12 inches wide. we used sugarpasted for the covering and also made a full chocolate cake on the inside. my dauigters face was lite up, thanks so much for posting this on line otherwise I would never have tried. Pressure on now for next year and also the other mums feel it a little!!!!

      Reply
  9. Hi wonderful cake, I’m new to decorating, could you please tell me whats the name of the piping nozzle you used to make the green ‘reeds’? thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Fiona,

      I used the Wilton “leaf tip”, like a 65. — Heather

      Reply
  10. Hi,
    I absolutely love your cake. I’m currently doing a school project on a child’s party and my theme is The Little Mermaid. Of course, we have to pick a cake and include the recipes. I was wondering you could tell me how you decorated it, whether you did it using the icing and a piping bag, etc.

    Would be muchly appreciated.

    Elizabeth,

    Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth,

      The decoration was done by frosting the cake with an offset spatula then piping on the other decorations with a piping bag and a variety of tips. I also used pearlized sugar and a storebought cake topper to complete the look. It is difficult for me to be a lot more specific than that. It was kind of a “wing it” situation.

      Best,
      Heather

      Reply
  11. What size pans did you use for the layers? Did you use 2 layers for the bottom and then one for the top layer? I have toppers, but they are very small – maybe 1.5″ high. Is this what you used? Yours looks larger than that. Where did you get it?

    Reply
    • Hi Joy,
      As I recall, I used two 8-inch pans for the bottom layers and a 6-inch pan for a single top layer. One batch of cake was enough for all three pans, I think. I purchased the topper on Amazon, but I see it is no longer in stock at that link. It is just like this one at Etsy, however. It was about 3-inches tall. Good luck with your cake.
      Best,
      Heather

      Reply

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