How to Cheap Out on a Barbie Cake

Rose is obsessed with the Barbie dress cake at our local Meijer. Every single Saturday, she stares at the cake, points at it and says “Mommy, I want that Barbie cake for my birthday.” She said this even before she had any business knowing what a birthday was. It started shortly after her second birthday. So for the past year, I knew we’d have to get that Barbie cake for Rose.

(Image from allrecipes.com)
We had a joint birthday party for our big girls on Saturday. Their birthdays are a month apart and I am not cleaning my house and inviting the same people over twice in 34ish days, so we just lumped them together. This past Monday, I called Meijer to see how much the famed Barbie dress birthday cake cost.

$36.99.

Um, no.

I am not paying $36.99(!) for a 3 year old’s birthday cake. I know there’s a Barbie inside the cake, but still. That’s almost as much money as we paid for her actual birthday present.

Making a regular Barbie cake dress at home wasn’t really an option either. The dress pan cost at least $20 and by the time I bought the doll, cake mix and cake decorating stuff we’d probably be back up at $36 or higher. Sure, I could use the pan again, but I know I suck at cake baking and decorating and probably shouldn’t even try. I just saw that there’s a way to make the cake without the special pan, but that would be an absolute disaster with me involved. Cake and I just don’t get along. I’ve been trying to decorate a decent cake for the past 4 years and 80% of the time I take a cake out of the pan it falls apart. There will be no pretty cakes for dairy-allergy Lily until she gets over her allergy.

^What happens when I try to make a pretty cake on my own.

I was sad, but then I had a thought. Last year my mother made me a Rice Krispie cake that ended up looking like a hill. Or a boob. I had a feeling that if I sculpted some warm Rice Krispie treats, I could make them into a Barbie dress.

Our ingredients, including decorating candies and sprinkles.


The unresearched plan was simple: triple the regular Rice Krispie treat recipe, mold a mountain around a Barbie doll and decorate it with candy and frosting. We used two bags of big marshmallows, two boxes of Rice Krispies, margarine, a can of blue frosting, blue food coloring, Twizzlers, multi-colored mini-marshmallows, candy corn, two types of sprinkles and gummy bears.

Since Rose will only wear blue dresses, it was very important that this doll cake have a blue dress and we tried our darnedest to make this happen. Even though my marshmallows were a little browned, everything was fine in the pan. It seemed like we were going to have a blue dress even after we poured it into the cereal (and I burned my arm something awful on the pot).

Alas, Rice Krispies are apparently yellow enough to turn blue marshmallow goo green, but behold! It worked!

A Barbie dress cake for $15ish instead of $36.99! I saved at least $20! Genius! Rose didn’t even care that the dress ended up turning green. She insists it is still blue because the marshmallows were blue.

If you attempt this at home, my insider tip is to put the Barbie in AFTER you make a giant Rice Krispie hill instead of trying to build a dress around the Barbie. Barbie kept leaning into the still gooey/warm marshmallow mix and nearly knocking her dress over when I tried to build the dress around her. Once I made a mountain without her in it, she slid into the goo fairly easily and didn’t have much more trouble with tilting, though some of the Rice Krispie chunks did try to jump off her waist before things solidified.

The dress had the potential to be really beautiful even with ME decorating it, but my kids really wanted at it and they decorated it themselves. Who am I to say no to their enthusiasm? I mean, it was their birthday cake. So, it ended up looking like this.

Definitely decorated by a 5 year old and an almost 3 year old! They did it while I nursed the baby so I wasn’t even really there to monitor it. Less work for me and they had fun– I’ll take it!

So, if you want a Barbie cake and have zero cake making/assembly/decorating skills and don’t want to spend $36.99, this is your solution. If a cake idiot like me can do it, so can you!

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4 Responses to How to Cheap Out on a Barbie Cake

  1. If you try again, you could frost the rice crispy treat dress with blue frosting, and then sprinkle with edible glitter (from Michael’s). You could also frost the top of the dress. I love the rice crispy idea tho, way cheaper than buying the pan, and easier to work with than cake!

  2. Alice Dale

    I really love this idea. I’m actually only 14 years old (will be tomorrow) and I’m trying to figure out a Barbie cake I can make, cause I’m moving soon , and this will be the last b-day I have with my friends for a while. So I want it to be one they’ll always remember lol even if its a little strange! thx so much cause I know there’s no way my mom will buy a cake pan for 1 birthday cake. Thx this really helped!

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