Category Archives: SugarCoated

The sweetest of all my elements

Under the Sea Birthday Party Invites + Mermaid Barbie Cakes

For my daughters 5th birthday the theme was Under the Sea.  I am only sharing the invitation and cakes from the party, but this was a fantastic pool party and a success with my daughter who is my biggest fan and littlest critic!

Under the Sea Invite Shaker

This party’s invtation is a very unique “shaker” card that we really sent through the mail.  As you can see from the profile shot above it is a thick card that required extra postage but arrived to our guests fine.  I believe I did write “hand cancel” on the envelopes to help them receive some TLC at the post office but who knows if that really helped!  These cards where on the complex side to create but they were worth it and were an impressive surprise for our guests to receive.  Heres how they came together:


  • 1/4 thin foam core board
  • colored scrapbook paper
  • transparency film
  • confetti
  • glue stick
  • xacto and cutting mat

To assemble:

The informational side of the card was designed and printed as a 5×5 square.  5″ squares were also cut out of the foam core, transparency film and unprinted scrapbook paper.  A center circle (a square would work too) was cut from the foam core and scrabookpaper.  And then it was like a sandwich, stacked up with the info face down glued to the foamcore, confetti sprinkled inside, transparency film to seal it and the scrapbook paper to cover and complete it.  Being our theme was Under the Sea, this was meant to look like a fish bowl but it could be reinterpreted for any theme.

Under the Sea Mermaid Kelly Doll cake

Under the Sea Cupcakes

I have mentioned before that my spoiled little mice get more than one cake for their birthdays because there are usually separate days of celebrating.  Macy had two parties her 5th year with this theme, one at school and one with family and friends. On her actual birthday she enjoyed Under the Sea character cupcakes at school and a Mermaid Kelly Doll cake at home with us.  This was my first Barbie type cake.  Little Kelly was easy to turn into a mermaid by simply covering her legs with individual scales made out of fondant, all her Sea friends were fondant also.  These characters were on the simple side of creation, by todays standards it takes much more complex cupcake toppers to impress.  (You can see some of my current cupcake work in my Yo Gabba Gabba cupcake masterpieces here)

Under the Sea Mermaid Barbie cake

There is an interesting story behind the real Under the Sea party that year.  It was one of a few times that we decided to return back home to Tennessee to celebrate with family and friends.  Flight delays and ultimately a flight cancellation nearly kept us from getting to TN.  When we did get there it was just a few hours before the party and without our luggage full of party supplies.  To save this party I picked up two pre-made cakes from a big box store, I think they were the Carebear cloud designs but they worked as ocean too.  I grabbed a new Barbie and some fondant and within an hour the cake was complete!   I hope that my emergency cake experience for this party can one day help someone else out if they are in a pinch to produce a custom cake.  Dont panic, just add to a ready made and no one will be able to  tell that it is a impromptu design!


Filed under Baby + Child, Celebrations, Paper + Fabric, SugarCoated

Hawaiian Barbie Cake

It’s about time for me to shelf my Wilton Doll cake mold.  My little girl is getting “too old” for Barbie cakes, but at least I did get some chances to make a few. My Hawaiian – Luau – Hula Girl Barbie cake was by far the easiest to decorate all thanks to one little grass piping tip, Wilton multi-opening tip #233.

Hula Girl Barbie was the center piece to my daughters 8th birthday party, Dont miss the rest of the Hawaiian Luau Party here.

Macy’s Hawaiian Barbie Cake

Hawaiian Barbie sits on a cake plate just a half an inch larger than the dress.  I sprinkled brown sugar around the edges before any icing to give the hem of the dress a resolved finishing point.  I gave the cake a crumb coat layer of green icing so any holes in the piped grass don’t stand out and then I went to town with the grass piping tip.  You couldn’t get it wrong, but I started with all the lines radiating out from her waist before i filled in with shorter strokes in between.  It’s easy to hide any flaws around the waist with layered ruffles of icing with tip #104  Her coconut shells are fondant and the flowered lei gives her a modest coverage without a need to give more detail to the bikini top.

Hawaiian Barbie Cake

Barbie Cake Tips

If you google around looking for Barbie cakes you can see some amazing cakes, you can also see some flops.  Most of the unsuccessful looking cakes definitely have something to do with the dress form and balance of doll parts to cake parts.  I do not suggest using a Bundt pan or Pyrex bowl or carving a stack of rounds.  Just get the Wilton Doll cake pan, it is the perfect ball gown shape.  There are a few problems with it, but I have figured out some ways to make it better.  The first problem is the cake size was obviously meant to deter you from sticking a real Mattel Barbie in it.  Second, the doll pick is hideous, the design of the doll pick is great, its a doll down to the torso with a long toothpick coming out of the bottom.  But what little girl wants a fake?   There’s only one real Barbie and she can’t be replaced!
So I have two different remedies for making a real Barbie work.  I either take the Wilton Doll head off and stick on a Barbie head or I bake an additional 10″ round cake to give the dress extra height..  Sometimes the Barbie head on the Wilton pick just doesnt look right together and I have no choice but to do the other way, so I core out about 2″diameter place for her to be inserted.  The hole has to be deep enough to for her to be submerged to the waist, after she is inserted I in fill all the gaps around her with a stiff icing.  She tends to slump and lean if you make the hole too wide.  As with any cake, there’s a level of sensitivity to movement that you just have to treat with the utmost care.   One of the nice things about using the Wilton doll pick is the tailored look you can achieve around the bodice waist.

So now that my doll pan is retired from my daughters birthdays I have to figure out if there are any ways to reuse it as something boyish for my son?  Any creative suggestions?

Looking for more Barbie cake ideas?  Then you’ll love to see my other Barbie cakes!

Mermaid Barbie and Mermaid Kelly in the Under the Sea Birthday Party

Rose Petal Barbie

Perfectly Pink Barbie and the Perfectly Pink Pool Party (coming soon)


Filed under Baby + Child, SugarCoated

Happy 4th of July!

4th of July cake and icecream

Tonight we are going to see “Macy’s fireworks over the Hudson”!  My 8 year old daughter is ecstatic!  In case you didnt know my children’s names are Macy and Hudson!  Have a safe and happy holiday evening!


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Filed under Celebrations, SugarCoated

Hudson’s Elmo Cake

Elmo First Birthday Cake

I have such spoiled little mice!  They often get two fabulous birthday cakes each year.  Its because their birthday parties and their actually birthday don’t always fall on the same day.  If this happens, we still celebrate on their birthday even if it’s just for us.

Elmo First Birthday Cake


The day Hudson turned one we celebrated his birthday at home, just us, his big birthday party  with friends and family happened a few weeks later ( and 900 miles away ) and it was an entirely different theme, “Arctic ONEderland”.    Hudson loves Elmo and I wanted to make him happy for his first cake.  Elmo’s fur was easy to create by piping out a thinned squiggly line of icing in a furry pattern.  But before I got going with that I had to make a few pieces of his face in fondant.  It was super important to me to get the shape of his eyes and nose perfect or he would look like a knock-off.  I often shy away from doing well known characters if I don’t think I can make them exact.  What made this Elmo more special was the 3D feeling of his eyes and nose coming forward and his mouth beneath the fur piping.  As I’ve said before when I do cakes that are just for us at home I usually do some experimenting. Sometimes I like to color my cakes as a surprise when they are cut & served. (you can see my white snow flake cake in red velvet in a future post)  I used a white cake mix and mixed a few of my blue gels to see if I could get an exact shade of blue that I use in his room.  It worked perfectly, but Hudson wasnt worried about it either way.  He was very excited to dig his hands in that yummy Elmo, no matter the color inside.

Inside the Elmo Cake

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Filed under Baby + Child, SugarCoated

A cake for ME!


Cake by Nikki Berry

My 29th birthday cake



Cake by Nikki Berry

Butterfly Cake



Cake by Nikki Berry

Swirling rainbow of butterflies

I love the month of May!  And it’s not just for the fantastic weather it usually brings, it’s a month of celebrations for me. Besides Mother’s Day I also have my wedding anniversary and birthday.  A couple of years ago I was itching to create a cake with butterflies, I found my birthday a perfect excuse to indulge in this.   My three-tiered cake of  buttercream cream frosting was the backdrop for a rainbow of swirling fondant butterflies and fondant letters that were inspired by paper quilling.  I had to allow time for the butterflies and letters to harden overnight, but other than that it was a piece of cake to create.  I even did a shortcut (that I would never do for someone else) and iced the layers all stacked together instead of individually before assembly.  I am often less of a perfectionist when I make cakes for myself or my husband.  I use these opportunities to experiment on flavors or techniques.  

So I have no problem making my own birthday cake, but Macy does have a problem with it.  She says that “you shouldnt make your own birthday cake” and has given me a hard time about it ever since I made that butterfly cake.  Last year I got lucky and attended a wedding on my birthday,  I had my fill of cake that day and didn’t need another.  This year I wanted to try a cake combo that I’d never made before, I found it a perfect time to create a cake anyway. Devils food cake with cream cheese icing, yummy! Cream cheese is my favorite icing, I love it with many different cake flavors besides carrot and red velvet.  Its delicious with a strawberry or a chocolate cake and it sets up firm in the fridge, so when it’s served it makes the perfect cut piece of cake. I made a point not to overdo the decoration on, I didnt want to make Macy angry with me. It work, she didn’t have a problem with the plain little pink cake, (that took me no time to make) that sparkled so prettily with just a coarse sugar topping.    


Cake by Nikki Berry

My 31st birthday cake

Cake by Nikki Berry

Devils food cake with cream cheese icing and coarse sugar topping

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Filed under SugarCoated

Chocolate & Strawberry Tallcake


For Jake’s birthday I thought up a delish cake that rivals the classic strawberry shortcake.  3 layers of devils food chocolate cake, homemade chocolate mousse whipped icing and fresh strawberry filing all covered in smooth dark chocolate ganache.  Its was so grand that it didn’t even need decorated, just fresh strawberries on top.  And it was so good that I had to make it twice within a week.

Jacob's 31st birthday cake

Assembling the cake

3 layered tallcake



Filed under SugarCoated

It’s Yo Gabba Gabba Cupcake Time!

50 cupcake masterpieces take a long time to make!  But they were a labor of love and passion that I put into all of my cake creations. Each character was individually crafted with fondant and icing faces.  This set also included a simple boom box cake that was a snap to make. For the display, I duplicated a set up I used for Emma’s cupcake party a few years ago.  Bakery boxes that are used to transport the cupcakes are given some interior support by books and some exterior style with paper.  I wasnt very familiar with Yo Gabba Gabba before this order, they debuted after Macy’s preschool years.  But I’m a fan now and so is Hudson!

50 cupcake masterpieces and one little boombox cake


Filed under Baby + Child, Celebrations, SugarCoated