Each Halloween I make yummy treats for family and friends. Cakes, cookies, cake pops… whatever tickles my fancy. When I ran across a casket pan by Wilton last year, I was in spooky heaven. Turns out it was the easiest cake I’d ever made. I use Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” cake recipe. This has been my go-to recipe for years, and the result is a moist, not-too-sweet, treat. But you could use any recipe or box mix, so long as it’s designed for baking in a standard pan. If you plan to buy this pan, I recommend spraying the pan with a cooking spray like Pam original, and dusting it with sifted, all-purpose flour. They also make cooking sprays with the flour included, but I’ve not tried those. You’ll want to bake the cake until it’s just slightly underdone. They heavy pan will hold enough heat to complete the process after it’s removed from the oven. This will also prevent sticking in case you missed some preparation spots in the pan. So far I’ve made three of these cakes. One was completely frosted, one (shown here) I piped accents with royal icing (see recipe below), and the third I over-floured the bottom and left naked. The result was faint accents of the skeleton – perfect for sprinkling chocolate crumbs on for “dirt”.
Wilton provides a “zombified” decorating example. It’s cool, but requires working with fondant, as well as more artistic skills than I possess. To display the cake, I left it on a cooling rack and placed cake balls all around. (See how I made the eyeball cake balls.) Of course, those with more patience and know-how could build a cemetery scene using edible grass and tombstones made from painted Styrofoam. For dirt, I’ve found that crushed graham crackers or chocolate graham crackers work well. Oreos are too black for daylight, but if you plan to display your cake in a dimmer setting, they’ll work, too! A few more tips:
- Don’t use glaze icing, or icing that dries to a shimmering look.
- If you’ve prepared the pan properly and it won’t release easily, use a rubber spatula to gently draw around the inside of the pan.
- Want to make it ahead of time? Freeze the naked cake. It will keep well for a month or more and will not lose its shape. Allow it to defrost at room temperature or in the fridge. Don’t microwave it!
- If you make a decorating mistake, cover it up with “dirt”. That’s the beauty of an unearthed cake – it doesn’t have to look perfect.
- Do not scrub the pan. Use a faucet sprayer to gently blast out any crumbs from the crevices.
Making Royal Icing One of the easiest icings to make, royal icing requires all utensils and bowl be free of any grease or oils. Here’s my tried-and-true method. You’ll need:
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 4-6 tablespoons warm water
- In a large metal bowl, mix the meringue powder and confectioner’s sugar on low speed for 30 seconds.
- Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix on low speed for several minutes until peaks start to form. If the mixture appears too dry, slowly add more water, a teaspoon at a time.
- Continue mixing until peaks are stiff. When you can turn a spoon upside down and the icing does not fall, it’s done.
Store icing in a clean plastic container with a tight lid.
You can freeze any unused icing for a few months. Just let it thaw at room temperature, and if necessary add a teaspoon of water.
Plan on making this creepy cake? I want to see pictures of the finished product. Post them below!