My daughter really wanted a Little Mermaid cake for her 4th birthday and it had to be an Ariel cake, not just any mermaid. I had already bought a Dolly Varden tin so I decided this would be used to create the platform for Ariel to sit on.
I used a large rectangular cake tin for the base. Both cake recipes I followed were from Jennifer Graham's wonderful The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook. As most children prefer chocolate cake, the base consisted of a double dose of the magnificent chocolate cake mix. I made a delicious vanilla cake which I marbled with just a little chocolate (from the base) in the Dolly Varden tin. As the chocolate base was a double dose, this took a little while longer to cook at a slightly lower temp. The vanilla marble cake mix also took a little while longer to cook.
Once both cakes had cooled completely I iced these with basic butter frosting (butter, milk and loads of icing sugar) blue for the sea, green for the seaweed and yellow for the sand. I had also created shells, starfish, fish and seahorses with some fondant icing in the weeks leading up to the birthday. These were made in latex molds I had purchased from a craft market but are also available in good cake shops. I would have to say creating these icing decorations was the most fiddly and time consuming aspect of the cake making.
Once decorated with the sea type decorations, I perched an Ariel doll on top and added Sebastian and Flounder to the sides. The cake took hours to come together and it was all worth the effort because once my daughter laid eyes on it you couldn't wipe the smile off her face.
When it came to time to light the candles and cut the cake, Ariel had to be facing my daughter. The look of sheer joy was just priceless. Our party guests were all amazed and I received lots of compliments.