When Miss T decided on a Hula theme for her 4th Birthday Party (all on her own & goodness knows where from cometh her inspiration!) I wondered what on earth I was going to do for a cake. She had been insistent on a Dolly Vardon styled cake since attending a little friends birthday all the way back in June last year. I was not so keen. But then I thought – maybe we could do a Hula Girl cake in the same vein and just style her slightly differently from the conventional big haired Barbie. What flavour of cake though? It had to fit the theme!
I flicked through my trusty old recipe folder full of magazine tear outs and passed down recipes from my Nan, one of my Aunts and friends. And lo and behold, I found a recipe for Pineapple Coconut Cake which I believe was from a Women’s Weekly or some such magazine (though I can’t be certain). I hadn’t made it before, but figured it was worth a crack.
Because the special tin to cook the Dolly Vardon cake was around $80, I figured I would wing it with my selection of tins and actually ended up cooking it in two different sized metal Wiltshire bowls with rounded bottoms. Fortunately the cake was the perfect density to withstand being stacked, and also cut to shape.
I layered them together using Vanilla Buttercream and then did a crumb coating to set them in place. I had an absolute nightmare with the icing. I had a vision in my head of what I wanted her to look like and the technique I was trying just didn’t really work. So, after 3 attempts (yes, I completely iced and removed the icing twice before running out of time, and plain coloured buttercream to do another do-over) we ended up with this as the finished result. I made her little coconuts out of fondant and put a little hibiscus in her hair.
Because this mixture used more than I required for the cake, I used the remainder as cupcakes and frosted them with Coconut Icing which resulted in the most delicious Pina Colada Cupcakes, perfect for a Hula Party!
- 2 C self raising flour
- 1 C caster sugar
- 1 C desiccated coconut (you could use shredded too)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 450 g can of crushed pineapple in syrup
- 150 g melted butter
- Grease & line your desired tin/bowl with baking paper. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
- Combine the flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl. Add eggs, undrained pineapple and butter. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into the prepared pan/s.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake (the cooking time will vary considerably depending on your selected tin/bowl).
- Stand in the tin for 15 minutes until turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Use a little buttercream to secure the bottom layer of cake to the cake stand or cake board.
- Then build your 'skirt' (do not trim any of the shape away until you have it completely put together).
- Once you have achieved your desired height, using a sharp serrated knife, shape the skirt to your desired gradient and using a crumb coating of buttercream, completely cover the exterior of the 'skirt'.
- Leave to set for about half an hour.
- If you are pressed for time, you can place the cake in the fridge briefly to help set the icing.
- Then proceed with piping your 'dress detail'.
- Colour your icing as desired and place into a pastry bag with a tip of your choice. Place the doll in the top of the cake and starting at the top, begin decorating the cake, working your way around the 'skirt' in layers. I used a star tip and did individual stars all the way around.
- I used a colouring technique I hadn't tried before which was to put in a line of gel colouring to the pastry bag (a different colour on each side - although you could use just one) and then fill with buttercream. As you squirt the icing through the bag, it picks up the colour and results in an effect as seen on the top half of Hula Girl's skirt.