Billy Porter at the Oscars “Ken” Cake

This post is all about how to create a fabulous black velvet cake inspired by the gown worn by Billy Porter on the Oscars 2019 red carpet.

Category is: Red Carpet Extravaganza, and I’m serving up some black velvet realness with this 5-layer cake inspired by Billy Porter’s Oscars gown. It radiates and luxuriates with chocolate cream cheese frosting eleganza, and I’m LIVING FOR IT!

Billy Porter @ The Oscars (AP/Richard Shotwel)

In case you missed the tuxedo dress that rocked the Oscars 2019 red carpet, here it is in all its amazingness, as worn by the Tony Award winning Billy Porter. It was custom designed by American fashion designer Christian Siriano (my favorite winning designer ever from Project Runway.)

This year was also the first time my little one watched the Oscars with me. She would not stay in bed, so I let her stay up as long as she wanted; which was until the announcement of Best Picture. Damn girl. Occasionally she would borrow my phone to scroll through Barbie cake pictures on Pinterest. Which sparked an idea. I asked if I could borrow her Ken doll. “I want to make a Barbie cake.” And her eyes widened.

This was my first time making a Barbie/Ken cake, a 5 layer cake, a black velvet cake, and black icing, and it turned out pretty good in my opinion! My kid was in love with it too, and that’s what matters.

So here’s how I did it, over the course of 24 hours, and how you can pull it off too for your next Pose viewing party.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 5 black velvet cake layers (recipe at the end for three 8” and two 9″ rounds)
  • A boatload of chocolate cream cheese frosting (recipe at the end)
  • a tablespoon of white cream cheese frosting (see note in Step 2)
  • A ken doll
  • saran wrap
  • piping bag with large piping tip
  • icing spatula

STEP 1: Bake the cakes

To make a gown like base for the cake, I made two 9 inch rounds and three 8 inch rounds. I made them in seperate batches just to test out the difference in color. As you can see in the picture, the 9 inch rounds have no additional black food coloring, and the 8 inch rounds have about 1/2 a teaspoon. Use more coloring if you want that regal black velvet look.

Once they are baked, let them rest in pan for 10 minutes, transfer to wire rack(s) and cool completely before frosting the layers.

STEP 2: Make the frosting

While the cakes are cooling, you can make the frosting.

NOTE: Before adding the cocoa powder to the cream cheese frosting, scoop out a tablespoon to save for decorating. You’ll need it to recreate a shirt and ruffle sleeves on Ken’s body.

If you prefer to not use a ton of food coloring to make the frosting dark, then time will help. A few drops of gel food coloring and letting it sit over night will help the color become darker.

I decided to use white cream cheese frosting for the layers to add more dimension to the cake when cut into.

STEP 3: Frost the layers

Once the cake is completely cool, place a 9 inch down on a serving plate, then pipe or plop on a 1/2 cup of frosting and spread out to the edge. Repeat with another 9 inch, and then the remaining 8 inch cake layers.

Fireman Ken, ready for his fitting!

Once the layers are frosted together, put the cake into the fridge to chill. I left them in overnight so the layers would be easy to work with in cutting and applying outer frosting.

STEP 4: Add Ken to the cake

When the cakes are chilled and your ready to take this cake to the next level, get your Ken doll prepped for the fitting! Take off all his clothes and saran wrap him completely around his legs and torso. I covered all the joints and body that would be touched with cake and frosting.

Next, hold him at the hips so his legs don’t bend while you push him down into the center of the cake. Push him down all the way until his feet feel like they’ve reached the bottom or his gown/the cake is at a good height on his waist.

Note in the picture I had some frosting on the top cake where I pushed Ken into because the cake was falling apart a little. The frosting helped glue it together and chilling it helped it remain intact.

STEP 5: Shave the cake

Using a serrated knife, begin to shave/cut off the edges of the top cake and work your way down to carve out a dress shape. It doesn’t have to be too elaborate. If you like the way your cakes look as is, this step is optional. I wanted to attempt the sleek lines of Billy Porter’s gown somewhat without losing too much cake, so I cut around the edges of the top 2 layers, and eyeballed it until I was ready to frost.

Just a few adjustments to the hem.

You could use these spare cake shavings to make some cake pops with any leftover frosting!

STEP 6: Pipe the frosting onto the outer cake

Using a piping bag fit with a large tip, start from the bottom and pipe all the way around and up the cake until you get to Ken’s waist. You may need to go through a few refills of the bag, and be sure to save a little to decorate the torso. (If you have a cake decorating turntable, this will ease the process.)

Use an icing spatula, or preferred utensil, to smooth out the frosting all over the cake. That will be a great base to work with to make it look more like a dress. Since the gown that inspired this dress didn’t have additional embellishments, I just made some downward swoops with the spatula to make it look like a flowing velvety gown.

STEP 7: Add the tux top on Ken

Here’s where you need that tablespoon of white cream cheese frosting. Spread it over the torso and chest of the Ken doll. Then, pipe the chocolate cream cheese frosting on the arms, back, create a lapel and cummerbund, and top it off with a bow tie. Don’t forget the white ruffles peeking out the jacket sleeves!

Now clean up the crumbs, and present it to the world honey.

Slice it. Serve it. Work it.

This can easily feed 16-20 people. And it’s easier to cut neatly when it’s refrigerated. So for your consideration, I nominate this to dominate your next Oscars party dessert table.

Have you ever made a Barbie cake? Let me know in the comments.

5 LAYER BLACK VELVET CAKE

AuthorDawnReedCategory

Yields1 Serving

 5 cups flour
 3 cups sugar
 4 tbsp dark baking cocoa
 2 tsp baking soda
 2 tsp salt
 3 cups vegetable oil
 2 cups buttermilk
 4 eggs
 1 oz black food coloring (up to 1 oz)
 2 tsp white vinegar
 2 tsp vanilla

1

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease and flour 5 round cake pans (8 and/or 9 inch pans)

2

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients; flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt.

3

In a standing mixer, add all the wet ingredients: oil, buttermilk, eggs, food color, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix on low until blended.

Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

4

Pour evenly into pans, and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until center is baked.
Cool 10 minutes in pan, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients

 5 cups flour
 3 cups sugar
 4 tbsp dark baking cocoa
 2 tsp baking soda
 2 tsp salt
 3 cups vegetable oil
 2 cups buttermilk
 4 eggs
 1 oz black food coloring (up to 1 oz)
 2 tsp white vinegar
 2 tsp vanilla

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease and flour 5 round cake pans (8 and/or 9 inch pans)

2

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients; flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt.

3

In a standing mixer, add all the wet ingredients: oil, buttermilk, eggs, food color, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix on low until blended.

Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

4

Pour evenly into pans, and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until center is baked.
Cool 10 minutes in pan, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

5 Layer Black Velvet Cake

CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

AuthorDawnReedCategory

Yields1 Serving

 5 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
 2 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
 10 cups powdered sugar
 5 tsp vanilla extract
  cup dark cocoa powder
 1 oz black food color (use up to 1 oz.) (optional)

1

In a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment and beat the cream cheese until smooth.

2

Add the butter and mix for 1 minute until combined.

3

Add in the vanilla, and gradually the powdered sugar, and mix until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

4

Add the cocoa powder, and desired amount of optional food coloring, and mix until combined.

Ingredients

 5 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
 2 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
 10 cups powdered sugar
 5 tsp vanilla extract
  cup dark cocoa powder
 1 oz black food color (use up to 1 oz.) (optional)

Directions

1

In a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment and beat the cream cheese until smooth.

2

Add the butter and mix for 1 minute until combined.

3

Add in the vanilla, and gradually the powdered sugar, and mix until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

4

Add the cocoa powder, and desired amount of optional food coloring, and mix until combined.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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