Mrs. Doubtfire Face Mask Cake

Here’s one for the Mrs. Doubtfire fans. This cracker of a film deserves to be celebrated, and my Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake is just the ticket to do so. It makes for a perfect birthday cake for that loved one who quotes this movie on the regular. Warm up those vocal chords and prep that skin, friends. Let’s do some self (cake) care. 

About the film:

Mrs. Doubtfire is one of those films from the 90s that I keep going back to. It’s a pure comfort film for many reasons, but the top reason is Robin Williams’ performance.

Robin Williams was a once-in-a-generation kind of performer. The talent was endless and boundless. Not only as an actor, but also as a stand-up comedian. He was a natural in front of the camera – and in front of other people. It is still a joy to watch his films.

Mrs. Doubtfire, in my opinion, is the one film that really shows off so many of Robin Williams’ skills and talents as an actor. It’s what makes the film so brilliant to watch.

In 1993, director Chris Columbus brought us a British housekeeper to remember.

But before the British housekeeper, there was the American devoted father who was willing to do anything to be with his kids. Including pretending to be an older lady looking for a cleaning job – one who is hired as the housekeeper of his previous home.

Anne Fine, Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon were the creative writing team behind Mrs Doubtfire

The cast is quite something, too. Alongside Robin Williams were Sally Field; Pierce Brosnan, Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson, Anne Haney, Harvey Fierstein, Scott Capurro, Robert Prosky, Polly Holliday and more.

I love this film. It’s “smashing good fun”, as Mrs. Doubtfire herself would say. 

It’s quick-witted; humorous, fun despite the storyline being a family navigating a divorce, and incredibly heartwarming.

Mrs. Doubtfire is a firm favourite, that’s for sure.

About the bake:

Now, Mrs. Doubtfire fans near and far will know of the very scene this recipe is inspired by. 

When court liaison Mrs. Sellner arrives at Daniel’s (Williams) apartment for an appointment and meets him as Mrs. Doubtfire on the doorstep, Daniel has to improvise. What follows is a funny sequence of events including the *misplacement* of Daniel’s prosthetic face.

As a result, Daniel has to find a way to cover his face to keep his two personas apart and make a good impression on the court liaison.

What better place to look for a face covering than in the fridge?

Enter the Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake.

In the crux of the moment, Daniel finds a delicious looking white cake in the fridge. You know what happens next. 

That’s the exact moment that inspired me to create my own Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake. It’s a simple white cake with a white frosting decorated like the one in the film. 

A recipe inspired by a bake directly in the film, just like my version of Winry’s Apple Pie from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood and my Home Alone pizza.

In addition to the type of cake that I chose, my way of connecting this cake to the film was to make an impression into the frosting on the top of the cake, as if Robin Williams’ had just pushed his face into it. After all, this moment is what the scene is all about.

You can do this with a palette knife… or, you could wait for the birthday person to faceplant it instead. Your call.

My Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake is a simple two-layer vanilla sponge cake with Swiss meringue buttercream. 

Swiss meringue buttercream is delicious and light. It’s not nearly as sweet as American buttercream. These are the reasons why I used it in my Lilo & Stitch dessert cake!

You can easily make the buttercream a standard American frosting, if preferred, though. I chose a Swiss meringue buttercream for this specific recipe for its colour, but also because it’s a direct reference to Mrs. Doubtfire’s skincare explanation.

She says to Mrs. Sellner that her mask includes ingredients like egg whites and creme fraiche. Seeing as Swiss meringue buttercream is made mainly from egg whites and sugar, it felt like a strong choice.

My Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake also has the option to add lime zest in the sponges.

This is purely optional, but entirely delicious. A nice little zesty kick in there. The reasoning behind this optional choice is because I wanted to pay homage to the excellent aim of Robin Williams. 

Mrs. Doubtfire lobs a lime at Stu (Brosnan) during the pool scene and hits him squarely in the back of the head. It’s a fantastic shot. Not a “run by fruity” as she claims, but brilliantly executed by her own arm. Reminding us that Daniel is still very much underneath the persona of Mrs. Doubtfire.

My recipe for a Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake is entirely customisable. 

As already mentioned, you can swap out the Swiss meringue buttercream for a standard American frosting. See the Top Tips section below for measurements.

You can also change the flavour of the sponge to suit your or your loved ones’ preferences. Especially if you’re making this as a birthday cake or celebration cake for someone else. It’s a simple cake to adapt!

Here’s a fun little side note for you: my sister cooked a jambalaya for dinner the same day I made this cake – completely unplanned. If you’re here, you’ll likely know why this is funny.

Top Tips:

  • Be mindful not to overmix the cake batter in order to achieve a light and fluffy texture.
  • For the ultimate sponge texture, weigh your eggs out in their shells first and match the weight of the rest of the ingredients to the exact weight of your eggs.
  • If changing the cake flavour to chocolate, simply swap out 50g – 75g of self-raising flour for cocoa powder.
  • If making American frosting instead of Swiss meringue buttercream, beat together 250g unsalted butter (room temperature or slightly softened) and 500g icing [confectioners] sugar. This should be plenty for your Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake.
  • When making Swiss meringue buttercream, be sure to crack the egg white into a small bowl first and then add it to your large mixing bowl. Do this with each egg so that you don’t ruin the entire batch of egg whites if any yolk finds its way in.
  • Be confident when making your Swiss meringue buttercream! It’s not as complicated as you may think. Just follow the steps, friends.
  • None of the cake decorations should look super neat! The point of this recipe is to make a Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake that looks like Robin Williams has just pushed his face into it.
  • Feel free to add 2 tsp of your favourite extract in place of the vanilla if desired.
  • The lime zest is entirely optional, so you can replace it with a different zest or extract or omit it altogether.

Troubleshooting notes:

  • If your Swiss meringue buttercream is thin after adding the butter, place it uncovered in the fridge for 20 or so minutes to firm up then beat again until light and smooth.
  • If it is overly thick, lumpy or curdled, place it back over your bain marie for no longer than two minutes. Allow the sides of the meringue to liquidise a little, then remove from the heat and beat again until smooth. If you happen to melt your buttercream too much, place it in the fridge uncovered for 20 minutes then beat until smooth.

My Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake really is a cracker. It’s light, delicious and sweet. It’s a treat inspired by the cake from the film, making it the perfect birthday cake or celebration cake for that Mrs. Doubtfire fan you know and love. Just remember to call out “help is on the way, dear!” as you present this cake. Enjoy!

Happy baking, happy eating!

Ingredients:

Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake:

  • 350g [12.25 oz] unsalted butter   room temperature or slightly softened
  • 350g [1¾ cups] caster sugar
  • 350g eggs (about 6 large)
  • 350g [2 cups + 3 tbsp] self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 – 3 limes  optional

Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake decoration:

  • Lemon juice or white wine vinegar to clean equipment
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 390g [1¾ cup + 1 tbsp] granulated sugar
  • 345g [12.25 oz] unsalted butter   cool and cubed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

Serves: 10 +

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 25 – 30 minutes

Decorating time: 30 minutes

Method:

Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C [350°F] or 160°C fan. Grease and line two deep 8 inch cake tins. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in until fully incorporated. 
  4. Spoon in the vanilla and beat in.
  5. If adding the lime zest, do so now. Beat in until fully incorporated.
  6. Sieve in the flour and mix in until no flour is visible. Avoid over mixing here.
  7. Split the cake mix evenly between your two tins and bake on the middle shelf for 35 – 40 minutes. This timing will depend on how hot your oven runs. Check after 35 minutes as they are pretty thick sponges!
  8. Your cake sponges will be ready when the surfaces bounce back when gently pressed on; a skewer comes out clean when tested, and you hear little to no bubbling/crackling when you listen to them.
  9. Once baked, allow to cool in the tins for around 10 minutes before transferring upside down to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cleaning:

  1. While your sponges are cooling, make your Swiss meringue buttercream.
  2. Clean the bowls, whisk attachment and beaters and any spoons you may use with the lemon juice or white wine vinegar. This makes sure that there is no grease that can prevent the egg whites reaching stiff peaks.

Swiss meringue buttercream:

  1. Separate each egg, putting the yolks in one bowl and the whites in a small bowl, then into a large bowl. Good advice would be to pour the egg white into the large bowl every time you separate an egg, so that you don’t risk ruining the whole batch of egg whites if any yolk gets in.
  2. Whisk the sugar into the egg whites briefly by hand. Save the yolks for another meal.
  1. Set the bowl over a bain marie (saucepan of hot simmering water). Make sure the bowl does not touch the water.
  2. Whisk the sugar and whites by hand over the heat until the mixture is thinner and the sugar has completely dissolved. It’ll be tacky to begin with but will become lovely and frothy when it’s ready. 
  3. To test that the mixture is heated through and the sugar has dissolved, quickly dip your finger lightly into the mixture and rub it between your finger and thumb. If you can still feel sugar granules, it needs longer. If the sugar granules are non-existent, it’s ready. Be careful doing this as the mixture will be hot!
  4. If wanting to use a food grade thermometer, leave it in during this process until the mixture has reached 71°C [160°F].
  5. Take the bowl from the heat and prepare a standing or electric hand mixer with a whisk attachment. You don’t need to wait for the mixture to cool as it’s better for the mixture to be warm for this stage.
  6. On a medium-high speed, whisk the mixture to stiff peaks. They should be glossy, too! Depending on the weather and the temperature of your kitchen, this can take 10+ minutes. You want the mixture to be cool by the end.
  7. If it’s not reaching stiff peaks, place in the fridge uncovered for around 10 minutes before trying again.
  8. Make sure that the meringue is fully cool before moving onto the next step.
  9. Change the whisk attachment out for a paddle or set of beaters.
  10. Add the butter, one block at a time, and beat in until each cube is fully incorporated. 
  11. Once all the butter has been added, add the vanilla and the salt and beat in briefly. See the Top Tips section in the blog post for troubleshooting tips.

Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake decoration:

  1. Once your cakes are cool and your Swiss meringue buttercream is ready to use, begin building your cake.
  2. Smear a little buttercream onto a rotating cake stand/plate/cake board. Place the first sponge on top of this.
  3. Smother it in a generous layer of your Swiss meringue buttercream.
  4. Place the second sponge on the top. Cover the rest of your cake with Swiss meringue buttercream – just be sure to save some for the piped decoration.
  5. Using a ridged cake smoother or a standard culinary fork, gently push the ridges into the sides of your cake and turn it, holding your smoother or fork steady and moving up after each layer is done. This creates a striped pattern similar to that on the cake in the film
  6. None of your cake decoration needs to look perfect or overly neat. We are aiming for the cake to look like it would after Robin Williams has pushed his face into it, so it shouldn’t be as neat as a pin!

Finishing touches:

  1. Using a palette knife, mess up the buttercream on the top of the cake to make it look like a face. Keep it simple but make it look as messy as you want! Alternatively, you can wait to actually push someone’s face into it. Your call.
  2. Spoon the remaining Swiss meringue buttercream into a piping bag or sandwich bag with an open star piping tip attached. Pipe a swirling or folding pattern around the top of the cake. This part is up to interpretation as we never actually see the top of the cake in the film.

This Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake is light, sweet and a brilliant homage to the film. It will last for 3 + days if kept in an airtight container/cake stand/cake box. The sponges can be made ahead and frozen (wrapped) for up to 3 months. Enjoy!

Recipe card:

Mrs. Doubtfire Face Mask Cake

Laura – Flavour of the Film
Light, sweet and delicious vanilla sponge cake with Swiss meringue buttercream and a face imprint on the top, celebrating Mrs. Doubtfire.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Decorating time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, British, Swiss
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake:

  • 350 g [12.25 oz] unsalted butter room temperature or slightly softened
  • 350 g [1¾ cups] caster sugar
  • 350 g eggs about 6 large
  • 350 g [2 cups + 3 tbsp] self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 – 3 limes optional

Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake decoration:

  • Lemon juice or white wine vinegar to clean equipment
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 390 g [1¾ cup + 1 tbsp] granulated sugar
  • 345 g [12.25 oz] unsalted butter cool and cubed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions
 

Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C [350°F] or 160°C fan. Grease and line two deep 8 inch cake tins. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in until fully incorporated.
  • Spoon in the vanilla and beat in.
  • If adding the lime zest, do so now. Beat in until fully incorporated.
  • Sieve in the flour and mix in until no flour is visible. Avoid over mixing here.
  • Split the cake mix evenly between your two tins and bake on the middle shelf for 35 – 40 minutes. This timing will depend on how hot your oven runs. Check after 35 minutes as they are pretty thick sponges!
  • Your cake sponges will be ready when the surfaces bounce back when gently pressed on; a skewer comes out clean when tested, and you hear little to no bubbling/crackling when you listen to them.
  • Once baked, allow to cool in the tins for around 10 minutes before transferring upside down to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cleaning:

  • While your sponges are cooling, make your Swiss meringue buttercream.
  • Clean the bowls, whisk attachment and beaters and any spoons you may use with the lemon juice or white wine vinegar. This makes sure that there is no grease that can prevent the egg whites reaching stiff peaks.

Swiss meringue buttercream:

  • Separate each egg, putting the yolks in one bowl and the whites in a small bowl, then into a large bowl. Good advice would be to pour the egg white into the large bowl every time you separate an egg, so that you don’t risk ruining the whole batch of egg whites if any yolk gets in.
  • Whisk the sugar into the egg whites briefly by hand. Save the yolks for another meal.
  • Set the bowl over a bain marie (saucepan of hot simmering water). Make sure the bowl does not touch the water.
  • Whisk the sugar and whites by hand over the heat until the mixture is thinner and the sugar has completely dissolved. It’ll be tacky to begin with but will become lovely and frothy when it’s ready.
  • To test that the mixture is heated through and the sugar has dissolved, quickly dip your finger lightly into the mixture and rub it between your finger and thumb. If you can still feel sugar granules, it needs longer. If the sugar granules are non-existent, it’s ready. Be careful doing this as the mixture will be hot!
  • If wanting to use a food grade thermometer, leave it in during this process until the mixture has reached 71°C [160°F].
  • Take the bowl from the heat and prepare a standing or electric hand mixer with a whisk attachment. You don’t need to wait for the mixture to cool as it’s better for the mixture to be warm for this stage.
  • On a medium-high speed, whisk the mixture to stiff peaks. They should be glossy, too! Depending on the weather and the temperature of your kitchen, this can take 10+ minutes. You want the mixture to be cool by the end.
  • If it’s not reaching stiff peaks, place in the fridge uncovered for around 10 minutes before trying again.
  • Make sure that the meringue is fully cool before moving onto the next step.
  • Change the whisk attachment out for a paddle or set of beaters.
  • Add the butter, one block at a time, and beat in until each cube is fully incorporated.
  • Once all the butter has been added, add the vanilla and the salt and beat in briefly. See the Top Tips section in the blog post for troubleshooting tips.

Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake decoration:

  • Once your cakes are cool and your Swiss meringue buttercream is ready to use, begin building your cake.
  • Smear a little buttercream onto a rotating cake stand/plate/cake board. Place the first sponge on top of this.
  • Smother it in a generous layer of your Swiss meringue buttercream.
  • Place the second sponge on the top. Cover the rest of your cake with Swiss meringue buttercream – just be sure to save some for the piped decoration.
  • Using a ridged cake smoother or a standard culinary fork, gently push the ridges into the sides of your cake and turn it, holding your smoother or fork steady and moving up after each layer is done. This creates a striped pattern similar to that on the cake in the film
  • None of your cake decoration needs to look perfect or overly neat. We are aiming for the cake to look like it would after Robin Williams has pushed his face into it, so it shouldn’t be as neat as a pin!
  • Using a palette knife, mess up the buttercream on the top of the cake to make it look like a face. Keep it simple but make it look as messy as you want! Alternatively, you can wait to actually push someone’s face into it. Your call.
  • Spoon the remaining Swiss meringue buttercream into a piping bag or sandwich bag with an open star piping tip attached. Pipe a swirling or folding pattern around the top of the cake. This part is up to interpretation as we never actually see the top of the cake in the film.

Notes

This Mrs. Doubtfire face mask cake is light, sweet and a brilliant homage to the film. It will last for 3 + days if kept in an airtight container/cake stand/cake box. The sponges can be made ahead and frozen (wrapped) for up to 3 months. Enjoy!
Keyword face mask cake, mrs. doubtfire, mrs. doubtfire face mask cake, robin williams, swiss meringue buttercream

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