Tutorial: Rapunzel’s Hair Cake

For a little girl who loves Tangled, there was really only one option for her birthday cake. Obviously, it would have to involve Rapunzel in some way. And although I’m not a big cake decorator, I do like to get my fingers in the fondant when it comes to family birthday parties.

So, the Tangled theme was an easy choice, and from there it was a small jump to  Rapunzel’s hair. I wanted something simple, but beautiful, and I definitely didn’t want to mess it up by trying something far beyond my skill level. 🙂

This moment from the movie was my inspiration (Rapunzel’s long hair is braided into a thick braid decorated with flowers):

Rapunzel’s hair braid

So I bought cake mix, fondant, and decorations and got to work! Here are the steps I followed in case anyone else is interested in making a Rapunzel’s Hair cake.

Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Cake Mix, $0.99 at Winco
Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Vanilla Frosting, $1.99 at Winco
Buttercup Yellow fondant coloring
Duff Goldman Buttercream Fondant (a ridiculous $20 at Michaels, but I had a 50% coupon)
Wilton Shimmer Dust
Wilton Pearlized Sprinkles
Silk flowers, purple and fushia

The first two items I just picked up at the grocery store and the other five came from Michaels. If I hadn’t had three children with me right before nap time I would have shopped around more for better prices. But sometimes this momma’s just gotta get it done in the time she has. 🙂

Bake the cake in two rounds and set aside to cool completely. Once they have cooled completely (I waited about 4 or 5 hours) cut the rounded tops off with a bread knife (or something serrated). Make it as flat as possible.

Set your larger round on a cake stand, piece of cardboard or whatever. The cake will be impossible to move from one surface to another after it’s decorated, so it’s helpful to put it on a round piece of cardboard so you can pick it up and move it. I just placed it right on the cake stand, since that’s where it was going to stay.

Pull out your vanilla frosting. You will entirely frost both rounds with this before starting with the fondant. Place your cake rounds with the bottom facing up. This is a much flatter surface for frosting.

Heat it up in the microwave for about 11 seconds before frosting. This makes it much easier to smooth over the cake.

Now frost the bottom round. I used a little spatula from Pampered Chef that has changed my life when it comes to frosting cakes and cupcakes. Sorry I can’t remember the name of it right now!

Place the smaller round on top, with the cut surface facing down.

Frost the top round.

Time for fondant!
This is the fondant I used this time around. I worked really nicely, but was ex-pen-sive so I suggest using something that costs less, if possible. Last year I picked up a different kind at Michaels, but this was all they had last week.  I’m sure Mr. Duff Goldman is amazing and all, but it might be time for me to learn how to make my own fondant. 🙂

This is how it looks coming out of the package.

I warmed it up in the microwave for about 20 seconds, per the instructions on the package. I checked it at 15 seconds to make sure it wasn’t overheating.

Then I put it in the bowl with one big drop of this stuff. Buttercup Yellow was my choice for Rapunzel’s hair color.

Coloring paste in two pounds of fondant:

Mush it together with your hands. This also loosens the fondant up and makes it easier to manipulate. You’ll get a good arm workout; it’s kind of like kneading bread.

I worked it together and added a bit more coloring until I achieved the desired color. I left some streaks in it, since real hair isn’t all the same color. I’m not sure it really mattered in the end, though.

Lay it out on a flat surface (I used Freezer paper here) dusted with powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar). I was out of powdered sugar so I broke the rules and used a little bit of flour instead! It still worked great.

Flatten your fondant into a rectangle.

Pull out your shimmer dust.

I chose gold since Rapunzel’s hair is golden.

I also sprinkled some of the white shimmer dust on the frosted cake, just to make it pretty in case some showed through. (This turned out to be a good thing because some of it did show through).

Now pull off pieces of fondant and begin rolling long strips for the hair. Sorry I don’t have a picture of the actual braiding process. Start with thicker strips and slowly  make them thinner as you move through the fondant. This mimics a real hair braid which is thicker at the top.

Sprinkle some shimmer dust on the freezer paper and roll your fondant strips through it to give them a nice golden shimmer.

The picture below is actually from my first FAILED attempt at this braid, but it’s the only picture I took to show you how I put the braid on the cake.
Start with the top. The braid pictured below was flat, but I ended up using the rolled strips from the picture above. They were much easier to lay on the cake. Keep adding the braid, wrapping it around the cake layers as you go. 
I used some of these Wilton pearlized sprinkles to decorate the hair, but my son informed me that this is inaccurate. “But Rapunzel doesn’t have those shining things in her hair in the movie, Mom!” 
Too bad, buddy. It looks pretty. 🙂

I also removed the silk flowers from their stocks and used them to hide problem spots on my cake. They were the perfect colors for a Tangled themed birthday party: fushia and purple.

You see the white showing through on the cake? That’s because I ran out of fondant (the braids were probably too thick at the top). I just decorated the white section with pearls and called it good!

I created a little bit of hair at the end of the braid and let it hang off the cake stand a little bit. I also sprinkled pink edible glitter over the top when I was finished. (Abby insisted!)

Then I stood back and admired my work. Abby kept calling out, “Ma cake! Ma burfday cake!” and giving excited squeals. I think that means she loved it. 🙂

And there you go! If you make your own Rapunzel’s Hair Cake I’d love to see pictures. You can add them to the CailaMade Flickr Group!
Thanks for reading!


  1. says

    I love it! Seriously, so creative! If you decide to learn how to make your own fondant, let me know. I heard you can make it out of marshmallows, which supposedly taste better than regular fondant. It’s something I’ve been wanting to learn.

  2. says

    Yes, Cassie, I totally want to learn how to make fondant! A friend in my growth group this time around said she will teach me. Maybe I can post it as a tutorial here, or you can join us? She makes, like, 5 pounds at one time (this cake only needed 2lbs, maybe a little more), so we could divide it and each take some. And yeah, she said it uses marshmallows.