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 3×5 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 3×5 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

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Leslie
Leslie
8 years ago

STUNNING I say…Simple STUNNING!

Jenn @ Once Upon a Tier
Jenn @ Once Upon a Tier
8 years ago

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

Kristin
Kristin
8 years ago

You are amazing! Just Wow!

Grace @ Perpetual Nomming
Grace @ Perpetual Nomming
8 years ago

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

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com
8 years ago

Simply stunning!! I'm speechless 🙂

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

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

The cake is beautiful.

Brigette Olmos-Arreola
Brigette Olmos-Arreola
8 years ago

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
Tieghan
8 years ago

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

MrsCake
MrsCake
8 years ago

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

amy@southern sweets and eats
amy@southern sweets and eats
8 years ago

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).

Coco Cake Land
Coco Cake Land
8 years ago

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
weirdscience
8 years ago

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
lovelife
8 years ago

Oh wow! This is absolutely amazing…well done!

LG Catrin

Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
8 years ago

Splendid! I love it. A real masterpice indeed.

Cheers,

Rosa

Bellenza Bistro
Bellenza Bistro
8 years ago

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

Johnny
Johnny
8 years ago

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
good times tora
8 years ago

your cakes are MAGNIFICENT!

Julija
Julija
8 years ago

I'm speechless. You are amazing!

Best greetings from Lithuania 😉

Ale
Ale
8 years ago

your cake is amazing…come & visit me!
http://www.dolcementeinventando.com

Linda
Linda
8 years ago

WOW! The cake is amazing!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

this is gorgeous!!!!

DessertForTwo
DessertForTwo
8 years ago

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!

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

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

Rachel Cooks
Rachel Cooks
8 years ago

This is insane! So gorgeous!

La Table De Nana
La Table De Nana
8 years ago

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
Tasha @ Thatssoyummy
8 years ago

Can I just say Beautiful!

cookies and cups
cookies and cups
8 years ago

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

Heather
Heather
8 years ago

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

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

Unbelievable cake! Such a detailed work. Thank you!

Cookbook Queen
Cookbook Queen
8 years ago

This is absolutely STUNNING!!!!

Bethany
Bethany
8 years ago

This cake is amazingly beautiful and so original!

Marjorie (Sugar for the Brain)
Marjorie (Sugar for the Brain)
8 years ago

WOW!!!

Debbie
Debbie
8 years ago

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

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

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

Sugar Swings
Sugar Swings
8 years ago

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

Wenderly
Wenderly
8 years ago

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

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

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

take care. xoxo,Meg

Patricia @ ButterYum
Patricia @ ButterYum
8 years ago

A stunning work of art – Bravo!!

Erica
Erica
8 years ago

Weird and wonderful!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

Your stuff is always sooo interesting..;)

love it!

Annie @ Annie's Noms
Annie @ Annie's Noms
8 years ago

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
Monika @ What's on the Plate
8 years ago

You're just amazing 🙂 And the cake is beautiful 🙂

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

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
Sue
8 years ago

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

Monica
Monica
8 years ago

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

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

A-MA-ZING!!

Maggie
Maggie
8 years ago

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

The Kosher Spoon
The Kosher Spoon
8 years ago

you are an artist! thats amazing

Sweet'n'Savoury
Sweet'n'Savoury
8 years ago

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

Monica
Monica
8 years ago

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