Charlotte Dolls, with dark painted hair and red lips, are made of white bisque (a type of porcelain). During the Victorian era these little dolls were baked into cakes and were collected by young girls.
The Frozen Charlotte doll can be traced to a writer from Maine (Seba Smith) who found a newspaper story that recounted how a young woman froze to death in her carriage on the way to a ball. Inspired by the story he wrote a poem that was published in 1843, A Corpse Going to a Ball, describing how on a cold night, a young lady named Charlotte refused to wear a blanket over her clothes (she was concerned about wrinkles). When she arrived at the ball, her beau found her frozen to death in the sleigh. The poem became a popular ballad. In the US, the dolls were associated with the story and were baked into cakes becoming known as “frozen charlottes” (frozen because their parts did not move).
The doll’s small shape is ideal for hiding coins in cakes—a tradition with ancient roots. A doll in a Mardi Gras king cake, for example, is meant to bring prosperity to the finder. Dolls are still available on-line.