Princess Rapunzel, Princess Ariel,  but Princess Tiana? Oh. It’s hard to find Tiana in the Disney Store. NEARLY impossible. Many of the other princesses are abundant in Disney merchandise, but when you want a Tiana costume or Tiana water bottle- well, you’re out of luck.  This was no different with cakes.  My daughter gazed delightedly at Disney Princess Cakes and asked  “Why doesn’t Disney like it’s brown princesses, Mama?”   It was heartbreaking.  So I knew I had to do something about it.  I had to make my daughter her own Disney Princess Tiana Cake.

BUT- well, I just didn’t know how I was going to do it!  A month earlier, she had seen a ‘Barbie’ cake where the skirt of the dress was the sponge and a proper Barbie figure emerged from the torso up.  She was very enthusiastic about the cake. “Mama, you can make that Barbie cake can’t you… for my birthday?”  Not wanting her to realize at 6 that Mamas can’t do everything, I nodded enthusiastically.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t a CLUE how to do it, and I didn’t want to spend money on an expensive mold to create the cake.

Then I remembered, my daughter being a Halloween baby, I had made a 3 D pumpkin cake for her 1st birthday by using my two Pyrex bowls. If I could manipulate this method, I might be able to make a ball room skirt for a very special Barbie cake.  The second barrier became the Princess Tiana Barbie.  She got her’s the minute the film came out, but Disney didn’t seem particularly interested in re-stocking them at their UK stores (where I now live).  So the Princess Tiana Barbie wasn’t available unless I purchased the £60.00 box of 8 Disney Princess dolls.

This wasn’t about to happen, so I had to be clever about it.  In the night, I crept into her room, crawled under the bed to locate the LARGE plastic box full of her Barbie dolls. Alas.  Princess Tiana.  I pilfered the doll and hid her on the shelf in the kitchen.  Then, I got to work.  After relieving Tiana of her modesty, giving her a bath in the kitchen sink and hiding her signature green gown, I got out the royal icing and fashioned a green and white bodice around the Barbie.  I then stuck Tiana in a tall bud vase and hid her so the bodice could harden around her body.  Up she went to the top of the fridge, wrapped up in cellophane to  prevent the dust gods from showering her in abundance!

Now it was time to get on with making the skirt!  We don’t have Mrs Crocker or the snuggly Dough Boy over here in the UK, so the next challenge was figuring out how to make the FUN-Fetti cake without pouring out the mixture from a box.  Using a lovely vanilla cake recipe I had, I added 1/3 cup of sprinkles, poured the batter into Pyrex bowls, licked the spatula and waited with baited breath.  Alas, the cakes were done and I set about the task of determining the proper height using Tiana as a measuring stick.  I began shaving at the cake to shape it correctly. Using my daughter’s Princess Tiana cookbook, which her uncle had bought for her, I  meticulously began mixing vanilla butter cream with lovely tints of Hunter and Leaf green and lemon yellow.  I grabbed a bread knife, cut a hole in the center of my cake and plunged Tiana into the sponge.

I was pleased to see that the middle, once scooped out, looked JUST like Pillsbury Confetti Cake!  Onward with the task.  I piped her dress as best as I could using the Wilton Star nozzle and embellished the cake with cream and yellow edible sparkles.  She looked beautiful.  The next challenge…a box…and fridge space!  My husband kindly contributed to the process by constructing the monstrous cake box.  Then I removed two shelves from the refrigerator to house the masterpiece.  In the meantime, a dejected little girl was searching about the house because she had clearly mislaid her favorite Barbie doll, and now Nuveen was having to marry Puppy Play Barbie instead of Tiana.  (Whoops).

When the cake arrived at the restaurant for the party  and was unveiled before 10 eager little people impatiently awaiting CAKE, the oohs and ahhs from waitresses, patrons and even the store manager gave me a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.  My daughter’s smile, however, was the icing on the cake!  She jumped up from the bench, wrapped her arms around me and said, ” OH Mama…it’s a Tiana Barbie cake.  It’s TIANA.  THANK you.”  Then she looked at me admonishingly saying, “Mama, is that MY Tiana Barbie that I couldn’t find?”  I winked, kissed her, and hoped she’d forgive and forget.