Australian Women's Weekly Dolly Varden Cake

This iconic children's birthday cake was inspired by the character, Dolly, in one of Charles Dickens' novels. She's since gone on to influence fashion, fish (one is named after her), a cake pan (in the shape of her dress) and all manner of embroideries...what a girl she must have been!

  • 40 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking
  • Serves 12
  • Print


Dolly Varden Cake
  • 470 gram packet butter cake mix
Butter cream
  • 125 gram butter
  • 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 200 gram pink and white
  • 1 barbie doll, legs removed
  • 1 metre-long pink ribbon
  • 1 artificial flower


Australian Womens Weekly Dolly Varden Cake
  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease dolly varden pan well.
  • 2
    Make cake according to directions on packet; pour mixture into pan. Bake about 1 hour. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool completely.
  • 3
    Make butter cream: Place butter in a small bowl of electric mixer; beat until butter is as white as possible, gradually add about half the icing sugar, beating constantly. Add milk gradually, then gradually beat in the remaining icing sugar; mixture should be smooth and easy to spread with spatula.
  • 4
    Spread butter cream all over cake. Gently push doll down into cake to waist level.
  • 5
    Halve marshmallows; press marshmallows, cut-side down, alternating pink and white, all over 'skirt', starting from the bottom. Wind ribbon around doll's body to represent bodice, tie at the back in a large bow. Position flower at waist.


You will need to use a special Dolly Varden tin for this recipe. They are available from most cake decorating suppliers and some kitchenware stores. You could use one 175 gram packet butter cake mix, if you don't want to make it from scratch.