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Dolly Varden: Sweet inspiration

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This article discusses the history and evolution of the Dolly Varden cake. It traces the transformation of Dolly Varden from a Charles Dickens' character to the inspiration behind a range of popular culture tributes and dedications, and the iconic children's cake that she is associated with today. It also explores the changes in processes, ingredients and baking of the cake in Australia, and concludes with referencing a modern interpretation of the Dolly Varden image. Using the Dolly Varden cake, it draws other inferences about contemporary ideas of the feminine, as well as cake decorating as a new form of art through which cultural issues may be investigated.

Keywords: Amy Winehouse; Charles Dickens; Dolly Varden; Hotham Street Ladies; cake decoration; food history

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Independent scholar

Publication date: June 7, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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