Life and Death Skull Cake - Day of the Dead Cake
A skull cake makes a perfect dessert in fall during Halloween and Day of the Dead celebration. Spooky and fun but you can make it as elegant or as bloody as you want. You can use a mold to make the skull but its' also possible to carve it from scratch. Probably the most fun cake to be around Halloween.
Sugar Skull Bakers Collaboration 2014
'Dia de Muertos' or the “Day of the Dead” is a Mexican religious holiday to celebrate the memory of our dearly departed, it has grown in popularity over the years.
One of its icons is the sugar skull, the claverita, made with sugar and decorated with flowers, it's where we get our name, so this is how we became Sugar Skull Bakers, a combination of the passion of 120+ bakers and cake designers from around the world.
So, Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a day to celebrate, remember and prepare special foods in honor of those who have departed. It is believed that the spirits of the dead visit their families on October 31 and leave on November 2.
During the days of the dead, the family often takes the opportunity to visit the gravesite of their departed. They clean and decorate the graves with flowers and candles as well as their favorite foods.
For me ‘Day of the Dead’ meant the boundaries between life and death begin to blur. So I tried to portray life and Death on the two-faced SKULL and the Cake below with the tree of life and death.
Here is where I got my inspiration from. These were the two images I found online and used as inspiration for my collaboration cake.
Here are some more pictures of the collaboration.
I was much honored to be part of a collaboration and learn more about this tradition and work beside such an amazing cake artist.
You can find the cakes made by the other members of the collaboration on our Facebook Page Sugar Skull Bakers and you can find my Sugar Skull on my Facebook Page Veena's Art of Cakes (now named Veena Azmanov) too.
Details of the Skull Cake
- The bottom 8-inch cake is a dummy cake (since it's for a collaboration)
- The skull is hand molded with the leftover cake scraps I had from cake orders taken in the week.
- To form the face shape I made a large cake pop first.
How to make a skull shape without a skull pan?
My kids had a plastic mask they play with. I placed a cling/plastic wrap inside it. Then placed the giant cake pop in there and pressed it. Made a large head kinda shape with the eyes and mouth. Just like you would for a beautiful face.
I chilled the mold well overnight so it was hard. Then I unmolded and use a sharp knife to make the rest of the shape. For example, I used a melon baller for the eyes.
If you not comfortable baking the back of the head you can use an oval cake pan. Press the cake into the pan, more domed on one side for the top of the head. I hope that makes sense.
Filling and Frosting
I've used my velvet Velvet American buttercream frosting in the cake pop mixture and the rest is done using my cake decorators chocolate ganache recipe. I ganache the whole cake, I chilled it really well then used homemade Marshmallow fondant to cover the face.
I've used a bit of ivory dust for the whole face. A light dusting of black and greenas well. For the flowers, I chose to use red and bright green one side symbolizing life and the other I created the same leaves and twigs but painted them grey and brown symbolizing death.
The second cake has a tree trunk with the same concept of blue and green on one side. Dark ducky shades on the other side symbolizing life and death.
I hope you take the time to see some really amazing cakes made by the other cake artist in this collaboration and I hope you liked my little contribution and inspiration.
Are you new to cake decorating? Do you love cake decorating?
Click here to see some of my Index of all cake tutorials from basic to advance.