Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stanze Cake


It's a rare occasion that I'll watch a movie from beginning to end without having to prop my eyelids open, but recently I did just that! I watched Amadeus again. It's been years since I first watched it, and I've loved it since. There's Salieri, shaking his fist at God and cursing his own mediocrity. Young, impetuous Mozart overflowing with musical genius and that maniacal laugh.  And Stanze. Sweet Constanze Mozart, a devoted wife and voice of reason, though she was inclined to ignore her own advise and follow her beloved into dark places.

She was my muse for this cake.


The Hollywood version of Stanze looks too young for enormous powdered wigs and the other garb from that time period. She reminds me of a doll, or a little girl all dressed up in adult clothing. And even though some of her dresses are rather revealing, she has an innocence that is undeniable. That's what made me want to capture her sweetness in cake form.


I'd just made some macarons the day before I planned to make this cake, and I decided they'd look pretty on her dress. Stanze was German, but she was fluent in French so I don't think she'd take issue with wearing them as an accessory.



I've put together a tutorial with plenty of step-by-steps if you'd like to try your hand at a Stanze cake, though I suppose she could be any early 18th century classical lady you'd like to imagine. You'll need a few special pieces of equipment, like this doll mold. I bought it for a project I'd planned for my book, but ran out of time and never realized the idea.

Important note! If you decide to use this idea with other molds, make sure they are labeled as non-toxic. I used Sculpey brand molds, they are non-toxic but the manufacturer states they have not been tested with food, so they are not labeled as food safe. Use your own judgment before starting this project. Or, use the doll portion as decoration and do not consume it. There are other clearly labeled food safe doll molds to be had like this one, if you're not keen on using the one I did.

Another special piece of equipment I used was half of this this ball pan made by Wilton. A 6-inch heat-proof bowl (aluminum or pyrex) could also be used if you haven't the storage or expense to spare.

This next part - the piecing together of Stanze - was kind of weird and wonderful. There were moments when my dining table felt like Geppetto's workshop!


Stanze Cake Assembly
[click for printable version]
Plan ahead for drying time. The head, arms and torso need to dry 24 hours before assembly begins.

Materials
1/4 lb. white vanilla fondant
Doll mold for head, torso and arms
Toothpicks
Paring knife
Baked 6-inch half dome cake (recipe follows)
1/4 cup seedless jam or lemon curd
Pastry brush
3" and 1" fondant cutters (or bottle caps or decorator piping tips)
Corn syrup
Small artists' brush
Tweezers
Pearl nonpareils
20-24 macaron shells (my recipe and batter technique can be found here)

1. Begin by lightly dusting the inside of the doll mold with powdered sugar. Tap out any excess.  Press a small piece of fondant firmly into the head cavity and immediately pull it back out. If you are pleased with the impression, place the head on a toothpick and allow to dry. If not, try again with another piece of fondant. Repeat process with body and arms. Trim away excess fondant and tidy around fingers and arms with the paring knife. Repeat process with torso. Press toothpick on the head piece down into the body at the neck. Press a toothpick through the arm holes and press arms onto either end of that toothpick.  Remove the arms and let all the pieces dry overnight.
2. The next day fondant will have firmed up considerably. Gently press a toothpick into the top of the head and use a piece of fondant to make the powdered wig.
3. Press the wig piece onto the toothpick and down around the doll's face.
4. Using a toothpick, make striations around the "hairline" to create the impression of up-swept hair. Make a few swirls with the toothpick all over the fondant wig.
5. Roll out a small piece of fondant to about 3x5 inches and fold in half.  Wrap the doll's torso with the fondant with the top of the "garment" just under the arm toothpick. Set aside.
6. Place half dome cake on a cake stand or serving platter. Melt seedless jam or curd and brush over the cake with the pastry brush.
7. On a lightly confectioners' sugar dusted surface, roll out a piece of fondant large enough to cover the cake (I usually roll out twice the amount I think I'll need to be sure). Roll the fondant onto the rolling pin and lift onto the cake.
8. Smooth down sides and trim excess.  Reserve fondant scraps for later use.
9. Using a knife, cut an "X" into the top of the cake
10. Try to center it as much as possible. (Try to do better than I did-ha!)
11. Press the doll's torso into the "X".  You may choose to wrap the bottom of the torso in plastic wrap (just like you would when making a Barbie cake!) if you're concerned about the safety issues mentioned earlier.
12. Attach the arms using corn syrup to adhere. Create a frill using 3-inch and 1 inch fondant cutters, or improvise and use bottle caps or the large opening of decorator piping tips. Knead scrap fondant and roll out flat. Cut out a 3-inch piece of fondant and then use the smaller cutter to cut a circle from the middle. Use a toothpick or paintbrush handle to create ridges on the piece.  Cut the piece in half.
13. Drape the piece around the doll's neck; cut away excess.  Repeat this process once more for the frill around Stanze's waist. If pieces don't naturally adhere, use a dab of corn syrup to stick them together.
14. Apply pearl nonpariels, each with one side dipped in corn syrup to the neck area with tweezers.
15. Use jam or lemon curd to adhere macarons around the bottom of the cake.

Not pictured:
  • Use a toothpick inserted into the "wig" to attach a macaron, then use the jam or curd to adhere another macaron on top.  Lift one of the arms and place a macaron underneath, if desired.
  • I made Stanze a small ponytail over her right shoulder from a scrap piece of fondant.
  • At the last minute, I made a cape from a 3x5 piece of fondant. I just pressed it around the neck area to create a standing collar. This will hide a multitude of sins on the back of the figure (unfinished areas).


I realize Stanze Mozart as a doll as a cake is pretty specific, but she could just as easily be Marie Antoinette or a pretty nameless centerpiece. Her dress can display any variety of sweets, like meringues, little candies and cookies.

I certainly enjoyed creating this cake - and eating it! The cake recipe is my favorite moist yellow cake. It usually makes a single 9-inch layer, but here I've used it in a 6-inch dome pan. I added a little almond oil to the batter to compliment the flavor of the macarons, and that made everything taste just right!

Moist Yellow Cake
[click for printable version]
Source: adapted from King Arthur Flour
Prep: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 9" round layer, about 8 servings

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup full fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. (If making the Stanze dome cake, I suggest spraying the 6-inch dome pan or heat proof bowl with a flour based cooking spray such as Baker's Joy or Bake Easy.)
  2. Beat together sugar and butter until lightened. Add the eggs one at a time, then increase mixer speed to high for two minutes or until batter is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, almond extract, salt, baking powder and soda; beat for another minute and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Stir together yogurt and sour cream in a small bowl. Beginning and ending with flour, alternately add the flour and yogurt mixture. Beat well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again briefly.
  4. Spoon batter into the pan. (If using the dome pan, it will hold about 2 1/2 cups of batter. You'll have a little left over and I suggest making a few cupcakes to snack on.) Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed in the center. Let cake cook in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost if desired.


Products for Stanze Cake
Satin Ice Rolled Fondant - White - Vanilla - 2 lb
Flexible Push Mold-Woman Doll
Wilton Sugar Pearls, White, 5 Oz
Wilton Ball Pan Set
OXO Good Grips Silicone Pastry Brush
Ateco 5357 11 Piece Plain Round Cutter Set





69 comments:

Leslie said...

STUNNING I say...Simple STUNNING!

Jenn @ Once Upon a Tier said...

You are amazing. I have been on a roll lately using the Wilton ball pan, I adore it! This cake is beautiful.

Kristin said...

You are amazing! Just Wow!

Grace @ Perpetual Nomming said...

I have so much respect for you right now! This takes skill :)

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com said...

Simply stunning!! I'm speechless :)

Shianne Madar said...

Amadeus is one of my all time favorite movies...ever. Now I need to watch it again.

The cake is beautiful.

Brigette Olmos-Arreola said...

I am obsessed with this cake! Love Amadeus and her, what fun inspiration and a beautiful cake. The simple colors make it just perfect!

Tieghan said...

Whoa girl! This is a work of art! Beautiful!

MrsCake said...

Heather! It's an absolute gem! A masterpiece! What incredible talent you have! You're like Michelangelo of cakes!!

amy@southern sweets and eats said...

OMG!!!!! This cake is amazing!! I am totally sharing this. By the way -- Amadeus is one of the greatest movies of all time and Stanze is my favorite (followed very closely by Wolfie's laugh).

lyndsay said...

wow! super cool and wonderfully weird tutorial! ^__^ actually i saw this movie when i was a kid in the theatre..and it traumatized me for my entire life! it really stuck with me... there are some scenes in it that are not for a child's eyes. what were my parents thinking??

maybe i should watch it as an adult...

regardless, this cake is beautiful and i love the photographs! super super cool! ^__^

weirdscience said...

Gorgeous Heather!! Love the creativity that goes into your work. It would be great to see a kitchen tour or something, to see how you keep all of your tools organized!

lovelife said...

Oh wow! This is absolutely amazing...well done!

LG Catrin

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Splendid! I love it. A real masterpice indeed.

Cheers,

Rosa

Bellenza Bistro said...

Oh my, you just made me vow to watch 'Amadeus' again! And this is such a creative and unique cake!

Monica Williams said...

I have to say when I first saw the screengrab I thought it was Marie Antoinette. I love the detail though, so amazing. As a cake its very editorial!
And now you make me want to see the movie...

good times tora said...

your cakes are MAGNIFICENT!

Julija said...

I'm speechless. You are amazing!

Best greetings from Lithuania ;)

Ale said...

your cake is amazing...come & visit me!
www.dolcementeinventando.com

Linda said...

WOW! The cake is amazing!!!

bakingintotheether said...

this is gorgeous!!!!

DessertForTwo said...

How adorable! Amadeus is one of my absolutle favorite movies! I love that Mozart's talent could not be denied, and happiness exuded from him. So great. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous cake!

Megan Turner said...

Oh my goodness, so incredibly beautiful! I don't think I'd have the patience to make a cake like this.

Rachel Cooks said...

This is insane! So gorgeous!

La Table De Nana said...

Oh you have outdone yourself!!

I can't imagine but you have..love also how the macarons are the same color as your top:)

Tasha @ Thatssoyummy said...

Can I just say Beautiful!

cookies and cups said...

Seriously Heather? Seriously?!?!
There are NO WORDS for this except genius.

Heather said...

That is amazing! It's just beautiful. I would have cried when I cut it. All that work!

Yelena Strokin said...

Unbelievable cake! Such a detailed work. Thank you!

Cookbook Queen said...

This is absolutely STUNNING!!!!

Bethany said...

This cake is amazingly beautiful and so original!

Marjorie (Sugar for the Brain) said...

WOW!!!

Debbie said...

I love the movie too, and I knew exactly who this was from just seeing a thumbnail photo. What a beautiful cake!

Anonymous said...

So beautiful and unique! I'm always in awe of your skills and creativity, Heather. Your designs are so original and fresh. You really keep pushing that bar higher and higher.
I have no idea where you'll go next but one thing is for sure, you never fail to impress.
Btw, I love your pug!
Judy

sugarswings said...

agree with everyone else, beautiful! i love the amadeus movie too, so I think i need to re watch too :)

Wenderly said...

Exquisite. Simply exquisite. She also reminds me of my beloved Madame Alexander dolls. Only better. ♥

Meg De Gala said...

oh my this looks so yummy!!! and very beautiful!!!! my favourite macaron!!!
you're really very creative!!!!!

take care. xoxo,Meg

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

A stunning work of art - Bravo!!

Erica said...

Weird and wonderful!

peanutbutterandonion said...

Your stuff is always sooo interesting..;)

love it!

Annie @ Annie's Noms said...

Oh my word! This is breathtaking! I've never seen such a beautiful cake, I so wish I could make things this amazing! :)

Monika @ What's on the Plate said...

You're just amazing :) And the cake is beautiful :)

Becca Looney said...

As always, your creations are stunning! And I loved the movie Amadeus. My dad said it was really good and that I would probably enjoy it, so I watched it with him and it was really really good! Now I kind of want to see it again :)

Sue said...

No words...well, maybe one~PHENOMENAL!!!

Monica said...

I can always count on this site for something totally unique! Your work is amazing and I love looking at it. : )

Janine Eshelbrenner said...

A-MA-ZING!!

Maggie said...

This is BY FAR one of my favorite sprinklebakes projects to date! SO CUTE!!!!

The Kosher Spoon said...

you are an artist! thats amazing

Amrita Vishal said...

This is definitely a piece of art!! Who would want to demolish it and eat!! Big fan of your incredible bakes

Monica said...

Talented! Amazing! Gifted! you have it all! Thank you for sharing.

Deanna said...

Holy crap, you are talented!

Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers said...

I can't get over how amazing this is (you are!)!

Darla | Bakingdom said...

Heather! This is gorgeously stunningly beautifully the most lovely cake in all the land! When I grow up, I want to be this cake. The end.

Lora said...

So fabulous! I love the gorgeous macaron accents.

maonk said...

beautiful!

maonk said...

beautiful!

El Cajón de las Especias said...

That most incredible cake! It's awesome! And the macarons have a perfect pint. Congrats! Greetings 'spicy'

colleen said...

Beautiful!! You could totally make a Bride of Frankenstein cake for Halloween...picture 3 & 4 gave me that idea :)

June2 said...

So perfect to leave her porcelain white. Lovely!

Genia Rodnyansky said...

I almost died when I saw this cake :P you are amazing! :)

Chic & Gorgeous Treats said...

WOW! This is super duper cool and needless to say, it's AMAZING! Your creative ideas and coming up with beautiful treats amaze me every single time. Truly inspirational ♥_♥ Cheers, Jo

Laurel y Menta said...

una entrada maravillosa con unas fotografías preciosas!!

besos

ashley - baker by nature said...

I feel like I ALWAYS say the same thing when I comment, but here it is: Holy MOLY girl, you are SO talented!

Ella said...

Oh sweet god! I found your blog yesterday and I am so overwhelmed by what amazing stuff you create. It is all high quality sweet art! And so is that cake in the post. Absolutely wonderful! Keep up the good work. I look forward to your next post already.
Hugs from Sweden,
Ella

cupcake with filling said...

Even I don't know anything about the movie or who stanze is that can not stop me for saying what an amazing cake you have there. you are so creative.

Lynna said...

I`m always reminded of how talented you are whenever I read a new post! This is beautiful!

Wendy said...

This is art work. Jaw dropping, amazing talent! After so much work, how could you cut and eat the cake?! The color in the macarons is stunning as well. How did you get such intense colors without making the cookies bitter?

Catalina Pía said...

Hi, I'm sorry but I can't seem to find the butter anount anywhere???

Heather Baird said...

Oops! Thanks for the heads up! I've added it!

xo
h

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H

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