Intro: Mandrake Cake
My daughter wanted a Harry Potter birthday party for her big 14-year-old celebration. Now, I am sure most of you have seen the variety of lovely wizarding cakes speckled beautifully across the internet--golden snitch cakes with delicate white chocolate wings; recreations of Hagrid's large pink birthday offering; lightening bolts jollilu decorated with round spectacles.
All of those options are lovely and beautiful for normal, Hogwarts-loving children. However, my daughter is not normal. She is super strange. No perfectly beautiful cake would be fit for my little weirdo, so I decided a dirt cake with screaming mandrake heads emerging from the ground would be ideal for her Harry Potter Birthday Party.
The cake was a huge hit and filled the room with laughter and groans at its presentation. If you are looking for an intricately gilded snitch to march gloriously into position in front of the birthday child, this is not the cake for you. But if you want to make terrible baby-screeching noises every time someone goes near the cake, this simple project is juuuuust right for your celebrations.
Step 1: Procure Tools and Supplies
- Three thrift store plastic baby dolls. Try to find three dolls with a variety of head sizes so that you can stagger the mandrakes around the cake in a circle, creating a pleasant presentation from any angle.
- Fake foliage (I purchased four little bunches from the dollar store)
- Hot Glue Sticks
- Cake ingredients for any cake recipe you love
- Chocolate frosting
- Gummy worms
- Utility Knife
- Glue Gun
- Springform pan
- Black and brown sharpies
Step 2: Murder the Babies and Make Them Hideous
Pop the heads off of your baby dolls. Sometimes they pull right off the neck with enough force, but if you can't get the head off by force you can cut around the base of the head where it meets the neck with the utility knife.
Using the utility knife, carefully cut along the hairline of each doll, essentially scalping each baby doll.
After the hair is gone, the babies still look somewhat sweet. Take a brown sharpie and scribble on the doll's cheeks, then smudge the ink with your finger right away. Don't let the sharpie dry before smudging!
Take the black sharpie and give the doll some intensely angry eyebrows. I didn't take a picture of the baby's face after dirtying but before adding leaves, but hopefully the finished shot gives you an idea of what to aim for. Grrr! Now that baby is looking like a mandrake!
Step 3: Hot Glue, Bake a Cake, and Finish!
Cut the stems on your fake foliage down so that when the stems are glued to the back of the baby head, the leaves are just high enough to show the mandrake face. Hot glue the stems in place around the back of each mandrake's head until there is a nice bouquet of greenery spreading from the top.
Bake your cake however you would like and coat with chocolate frosting. Crush oreos in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin and cover the frosting with oreoes, giving the cake a distinctive dirt appearance.
Arrange the mandrake heads in a circle on the cake so that each baby is facing outward, creating a pleasant display in any direction. Toothpicks can be used through the inside of the mandrake heads (where they were once attached to a neck) to stabilize as needed. Delicately rearrange the leaves on top so that a dense canopy of foliage hides the inside/backs of the mandrake heads.
Cut several gummy worms in half and spread them out around the cake to further the "mandrakes in the garden" effect.
Display your creation proudly throughout the party, or make a grand cake entrance with your display. Screech loudly like a mandrake any time a guest comes near the cake. Plant your candles, set them on fire (don't let any plastic leaves catch!), and celebrate! Remove mandrake heads and serve like a normal cake.