I had just been considering delaying this post until next Halloween and breaking my golden rule of posting things in the order that they are baked, just because it seemed so ridiculously out of season. But then I saw that the Alphabakes February letter was Z and I thought YES!!!! (and therefore on the same lines, if anyone wants to do a Christmas themed baking challenge in springtime that would be really helpful thanks...)
So this is my Zombie Graveyard cake, which I made for the Runcorn and Widnes Clandestine Cake Club way back on Halloween.
I'd seen this cake on Butter Hearts Sugar back in 2012 but had already got all my Halloween baking planned out that year, so it sprung straight to mind this time around. I'd also wanted to try my hand at some more fondant decorations, because it is something I am notoriously rubbish with.
It takes a bit of planning, you definitely need a full day or two evenings for this. You need to make a white cake in advance to cut zombie bones out of to then bake inside the chocolate sponge. You also need to make all your decorations in advance to give them chance to dry out.
Which brings me to where I went wrong! Although I loved making the decorations and was happy with how they looked - especially the zombie arms! - I'm not sure where I went wrong with the fondant. I was expecting it to dry really quickly, but it never actually dried at all. Especially the pumpkins and gravestones - they were really shiny and soft and actually started to smell a bit weird. Not sure where I went wrong with that - I greased the surface I was working on because I seemed to remember that was what you were meant to do but clearly something went awry. I wasn't sure whether to use icing sugar since I thought it might ruin the colours. Any tips or ideas anybody??
Another place I went wrong was the bones - for some reason I made cupcakes and cut the bones out of the bottoms of them - but they were just way too small! You could hardly see them in the cake when it was cut, and they were really dry and hard. So I would say do a tray bake or at least a larger round cake.
I used a Rachel Allen chocolate cake and frosting recipe (which you can find here, as it's the same one I used for the hedgehog cake - and I only realised as I introduced my cake that it meant I had baked the exact same cake for two cake clubs in a row - oooops!). The dirt is crushed Oreos and the fenceposts are Cadbury's Fingers. I was a bit irritated by the gravestones at the time as I wanted them to be cleaner looking, but now I look back at the pictures I think the fact that they are bashed and misshapen and covered in random nail marks actually makes them look a bit more authentic!
All things considered I was pretty pleased with how this cake turned out, I may make a cupcake version this year as the zombie arms were so much fun. See the original recipe here on Butter Hearts Sugar for a really good step by step guide on how to do it.
See here for the Cake Club write up and the other fab Halloween cakes and decorations that were on display there - I'm sure nobody has Halloween on their minds right now but you never know, I'm so late posting this that maybe some of you have already started thinking about it...!
I'm entering this into February's Alphabakes challenge, by The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes - the host this month is Caroline Bakes and the letter is Z - for ZOMBIES! Aaaargh!