All the world’s a stage. Having just made her entrance is this mannequin cake flavored with chocolate espresso and filled with marshmallow filling. The fashion I’m referring to in this cake isn’t exactly about clothing, but rather, I’m talking about chocolate enhanced with espresso to bring about a supremely delicious cake; so delicious eating a slice of it is best described as a wonderful experience for the taste buds. The chocolate espresso is the yin to the marshmallow filling’s yang, each flavor complementing the other in perfect harmony.
This mannequin cake also celebrates the first year anniversary of SugaryWinzy. It was a year ago in August when I published my first post so, happy anniversary SW!
Chocolate is to desserts as a stylish dress is to fashion. If you have to think of chocolate in terms of fashion, then this is one flavor that is timeless; it will never go out of style. The fact that chocolate in various forms has been enjoyed for centuries is a true testament to its popularity, one that we can expect to endure a thousand years hence.
The emphasis is on the chocolate espresso flavor that just happens to be in the shape of a mannequin.
Speaking of fashion, I sometimes wonder why fashion shows feature winter collections during the height of summer, or spring collections during the height of fall. I understand they have to be ahead in terms of production and so forth, but how about showing, say, a fall collection during fall and just present it as next year’s fall fashion, that way not only will they be two seasons ahead, but a full year ahead! And the audience can better relate to a fully lined warm fancy coat if it’s actually cold outside, than when in the midst of bright summery weather.
Who can do without mirrors? Vanity, thy name is cake.
I made a total of 9 layers for this cake counting the smallest one at the top. I should have secured the center with at least a jumbo milkshake straw, but I didn’t because I forgot. Luckily, the cake was stable so nothing happened. But there’s no point in tempting fate especially with a cake this tall. I’ll just have to remember next time.
The sign is printed out on an 8”x10” sheet of paper, so this gives an idea of how tall the cake was. Clearly, even with the sign slightly elevated on a stand, the cake layers alone, not counting the doll torso, still tower over the sign.
I baked the layers in several brioche pans ranging from 8” to 2” in diameter. The waistline is made from a small rolled out piece of fondant that I tinted black. One of these days, I will make life simpler for myself and just use one pan, a specialty doll cake pan, made expressly for this type of doll cake.
It’s a generous recipe that could also be used to bake just one tall regular cake using 8” or 9” pans or two short cakes. I made several layers using brioche pans because I wanted the mannequin cake to be able to serve about at least 8. My earlier mannequin cakes in pink, chocolate and blue that were equally fun to make had fewer layers. My earlier post on how to make a mannequin cake has more details on prep work.
This looks chaotic, but there is a method to this seeming madness. I had just unwrapped the frozen cake layers from plastic wrap, that’s why there’s plastic strewn all over. I also trimmed the narrow ends off of the cake layers. I’m always experimenting, so I was merely wondering what shape I would get if I sliced off the narrow ends.
One of my favorite dresses was the inspiration for the cake. Here it is.
In slicing the cake, I tried leaving the top where it was and started to slice the first three extremely tall pieces of 5 layers, but realized I was treading dangerous waters if I wanted to keep the top of the cake intact and prevent it from toppling over. I discovered that, really, the most efficient way in slicing a mannequin cake, especially one this tall, is just to slice horizontally the first 3 or 4 top layers together with the torso, so I at least still had a mini mannequin cake. And the rest of the cake can be sliced worry free. There were a couple of large slices that were already consumed before they could make it to this picture.
This time, I added a small amount of instant espresso to the chocolate frosting. The added espresso to the frosting is optional; the frosting will be delicious either way. I thought it added more dimension especially since it echoed the espresso that was already in the cake, and also worked very well with the marshmallow filling.
I include the recipes I used for easy reference, but any favorite cake and frosting recipe would work in making a mannequin cake, so long as the cake recipe produces sturdy layers.
A celebration mannequin cake to mark a first year anniversary… thank you, everyone!
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa
- 3 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 ¾ ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 ½ cup skim milk at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso dissolved in 1 ¾ cups boiling water
- 1 ½ cups regular mayonnaise (not non-fat)
- 3 ¾ cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1 ½ tablespoons instant espresso (optional)
- ¾ cup skim milk
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks butter)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 16 ounces marshmallow cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons skim milk
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F. If making one regular tall cake, spray five 8” or 9” round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. If making two regular short cakes, spray six 8” or 9” round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. If making a mannequin cake, spray fluted pans of graduating sizes with non-stick cooking spray. Or spray a specialty doll cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and bake cupcakes with any extra batter.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- Chop unsweetened chocolate and place in bowl. Add instant espresso to 1¾ cup boiling water, stir to dissolve and pour over the chopped chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Add the skim milk and whisk to completely blend.
- With a flat beater of a stand mixer, beat mayonnaise. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy.
- Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
- Adjust mixer speed to low and add ⅓ of the mixed dry ingredients. Alternate with ½ of the coffee mixture. Add ½ of remaining dry ingredients, and then add remaining coffee mixture. Beat until just combined after each addition. End with last ⅓ of the dry ingredients and beat until blended.
- Add vanilla extract and beat just until well incorporated and batter is smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared pans. Baking time will vary depending on pan size and depth. Fill baking pans only to about ⅔ full to allow room for the cake layers to rise. Estimated baking times if using fluted molds: 8” – 55 mins (use a heating core w/ an 8” fluted pan), 7” – 45 mins, 6.5” – 42 mins, 5.5” – 40 mins, 3.5” – 25 mins, 3” – 22 mins, 2” – 20 mins. If using a specialty doll cake pan, bake as per pan instructions and use any extra batter to make cupcakes. If using regular round 8” or 9” pans bake for about 30 - 35 minutes. Start watching for doneness after about 25 minutes. To test for doneness, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean and the cake will spring back when lightly touched in the center.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool before turning out of pans. Wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap, store in a freezer safe container and freeze until ready to assemble.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- In a large pot, on medium heat, bring to the milk to boiling while whisking continuously to avoid scorching the pot. Optional: If using instant coffee add it now and whisk to dissolve.
- Remove pot from heat and add the powdered sugar all at once. Whisk thoroughly until smooth and free of lumps. Set aside to cool.
- With the flat beater of a stand mixer, on medium speed, beat the butter until smooth. Add salt and mix to combine.
- Switch mixer speed to low and gradually pour the sugar mixture. Beat until well combined.
- Add the melted chocolate, then the vanilla extract. Beat the frosting until smooth and shiny.
- Store in an air tight lid at room temperature for up to 3 days and in refrigerator for up to one week.
- With the flat beater of a stand mixer, on medium speed, beat butter until smooth. Add marshmallow cream and beat well to combine.
- Switch speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar. Beat well to combine.
- Add vanilla extract, almond extract and milk. Beat well until smooth and creamy.
- If a thinner consistency is desired, adjust consistency by adding more milk one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- If brioche pans were used to bake the cake layers, trim the narrow ends off of each layer, if desired.
- Place the largest layer on a cake plate and spread marshmallow filling on top. Fill with chocolate frosting an icing bag with a small petal tip. Apply the frosting onto the sides of the cake moving the wrist slightly for a ruffled effect.
- Place the next largest layer and repeat the procedure, ending with the smallest cake layer at the top. For stability, drive a dowel or jumbo milkshake straw down the center. Place a doll torso at the top and pipe frosting to finish the dress.
- If regular 8” or 9” pans were used to bake the cake layers, start by placing one cake layer on a plate or stand.
- Spread an even layer of marshmallow filling on top. Add the next cake layer and repeat spreading the marshmallow filling.
- When all the cake layers have been stacked, spread chocolate frosting using an offset spatula all over the top and sides of the cake.
Chocolate Espresso Fashion Mannequin Cake with Marshmallow Filling