Just a quick update, many thanks to Notes on the Road for the wonderful write-up. Much appreciated!
Making this blue mannequin cake was akin to playing with paper dolls as a kid. I found it quite enjoyable, to say the least. If only for the amusement I derived from making it, the effort was well worth it for me. It is a rather elaborate way of decorating three cupcakes and a couple of cake rounds, and the most it can serve is two, maybe three. It would well serve as a centerpiece. It’s the kind of cake I would make for a friend, as a fancy way of giving an individual cake portion or a couple of frosted cupcakes. My earlier mannequin cakes, the pink mannequin cake and the chocolate mannequin cake, required thicker cake layers.
I based the cake on a Betsey Johnson vintage-like dress. It’s too bad the Betsey Johnson stores have closed. I loved going to that store to shop for fun accessories and clothes. And the retro vintage party dresses with petticoats were just darling.
The actual dress has more drapes to it and is not as form fitting as it looks on the cake. Working on drapes, I imagine, would have taken more time and I just wasn’t in the mood to experiment with the technique on how to achieve it. One of these days, I must just do that, when I have more time.
The dress is made of a soft, silken-like fabric edged with lace on the neckline and below the waist and has three flouncy layers at the hemline. It reminds me of the gowns typical of the 1930s and 40s. It also has an empire waist which is higher up on the torso. The style is definitely romantic as opposed to being seductive.
I made a rough sketch to keep me focused on the design. Being as fickle-minded as I am, there have been many a time when I made a cake with it turning out entirely different from the idea that I had in mind, simply because somewhere along the way, I would change my mind and do something different.
Whenever I bake a cake, I take care not to overfill the cake pans, so I often end up with extra batter. The extra batter I always use to bake cupcakes which I then store in a Ziploc bag and freeze. I actually had the cake layers ready to make this mannequin cake from a chocolate and vanilla cake I made the other day. All I had to do was make the buttercream frosting, a small of amount of which I left white for the lace, and the rest tinted blue.
The bottom is really just three cupcakes, one jumbo-sized, one medium and one small, stacked upside down one of top of the other. For the torso, I cut cake rounds varying from one inch in diameter for the waistline to two inches for the hip area. Since I knew it would be kind of unstable, given the center is so narrow, I stabilized the cake by driving down a large milkshake straw right in the center.
A cake for the blue mannequin cake is called for, and here it is. Again, this little miniature cake is made just from extra batter from a cake I baked last week.
The mannequin is made of chocolate cake while the mini cake is made of yellow cake.
I wonder what became of the dolls I had when I was a kid. I still have a few dolls, not from childhood, but collected as a grown up. Funny, but they are all infant or little children dolls. I do have one grown-up Barbie doll that my husband gave me. He also got me a vintage toy stove from the 1950s that cost only about $5, and it thrilled me no end—I mean, the toy stove being adorable and the fact that it was such a good deal made it even better. I also collect vintage perfume bottles. I would love to see a blue perfume bottle in the shape of a mannequin just like this.
It’s time to slice the cakes. That is as far as I dared go with the mannequin. I was afraid if I went any higher, it would lose its stability.
This slice of yellow cake had my name written all over it. It was pretty yummy. The mannequin was made of a deep, dark, intensely flavored chocolate cake and was equally as good as the yellow cake, if not more so.
I love miniature versions of regular-size things, like this cake, and super-sized versions of small things, such as giant cupcakes, erasers, calculators, anything that’s out of scale.
I wonder if I’m the only one who’s entertained by the sight of cakes. I used to live near a cake shop that had a showroom of all kinds of mock cakes ranging from birthday cakes to huge wedding cakes. I would make a special trip to that store every so often, not so much to eat as to admire the display.
The cake kind of, sort of, looks like the dress, but in a different way. I’ll just say it was inspired by the dress and leave it at that.
Here’s a small recipe for chocolate cupcakes in case it’s useful, not necessarily to make a mannequin cake, but, if you’re as crazy as I am to make one, it should be just about enough. I would say, if you do decide to go for the mannequin using this recipe, play it safe and double it so you have extra to spare, just in case. A single recipe would yield around 12 cupcakes, I’ve also included the recipe for the buttercream frosting that I used.
Quick Chocolate Cupcakes
- 4 tablespoons (half stick) butter at room temperature
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- ½ cup sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Line muffin pans with paper liners.
- Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and well combined.
- Reduce speed to low and add the sour cream. Mix until well incorporated.
- Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes or until well risen and the center springs back to the touch.
- Remove cupcakes from muffin pan and cool on wire rack.
- 1 cup (2 sticks butter) at room temperature
- 7 teaspoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon powdered egg whites (optional)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- With a flat blade, cream the butter until light and fluffy.
- On low speed, add the milk a tablespoon at a time followed by the vanilla. Beat until fully incorporated.
- Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients gradually and mix well until smooth.
- If the frosting is too stiff, add a teaspoon of milk, if it is too soft, add some more powdered sugar.
Blue Mannequin Cake