"Hey, I can do that!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Cauldron: Completed

Spooky Cauldron
A Halloween Cake
+5 skill points -> 160/400

The Wingler family had a great Halloween.  We celebrated our mom & dad's birthdays together and threw a fun Halloweeny party.  I made a black cauldron cake ...

  • 8" x 6" round (4 layers)
  • golden butter cake box mix (Duncan Hines)
  • chocolate buttercream (Wilton recipe, butter-flavored Crisco, melted chocolate)
  • colored with Wilton's Color Mist (black)
  • piping gel "stew"
  • fondant accents (MMF)
A few things wrong, a few things right ... what was once incredibly frustrating turned out to be pretty fun in the end.  Here's how it all went down.

I baked the cakes on Thursday to save me some time.  Everyone was coming over on Saturday at 3 pm, so I wouldn't have any time that day.  This is the first time for me to use the golden butter cake from Duncan Hines.  I've used the chocolate one and it was yummy and firm.  This batter was thick!  I had to push it around in the pan to try and level it out before going into the oven.

I'm not sure what goes wrong, but my center "fell".  This happened with the chocolate cake too.

I figured it was ok because I'll be carving this cake out anyway.  The cakes cooled and wrapped in plastic to await its destiny in the fridge.  I also made a batch of dark chocolate fondant for the cauldron.  I used a normal half-batch recipe and added 1/3 cup of dark cocoa powder.  That also was wrapped in plastic and waited for a much different destiny.

On Friday I finished most of the cake.  Here's a picture of the chocolate buttercream sitting next to the dark chocolate fondant.  It was the Wilton buttercream recipe using butter-flavored Crisco and 3 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate.

I carved a depression into the top layer so the "stew" could be properly contained.  This was cut with a steak knife.

Up we go!

The steak knife was used again to carve a lip at the top of the cauldron.  The bottom was trimmed so it tapered inward.  I was disappointed that I couldn't achieve a bulge, but this ended up being ok.  Here's the buttercream crumb coat.

Now for the series of fails.  I rolled out the chocolate fondant on to some 20 gauge clear vinyl that I purchased at a fabric store.  My Wilton Cake Dividing Wheel was under it to help me measure what I had rolled.  The fondant was waaaayyy too dry.  I nuked it; still no help.  I added water; not good enough.  Finally I melted more marshmallows and that made it perfect.  Rolling it out to 18" was difficult (the cake was actually 5.5" high and 7" wide).  It kept tearing or sticking.  I kept swearing.  I draped it over the cake, but one side was too short.  I cursed and took it off to re-roll it.  It kept tearing or sticking.  I finally decided to make more fondant so I could have something thicker to work with.  After a lot of foot stamping, I got a good circle of fondant on to my cake.  More swearing to come.  There was no way I was going to get rid of the wrinkles.  This was a tall circular cake.  The fondant made huge folds on the sides.  AND it was going from wide to narrow (remember the tapered bottom).  I gave up and cried.  I asked my husband why I couldn't have failed hours ago and given up then?  He asked if there was anything he could do.  He gave me a hug and helped me make spooky things to go into the "stew".  That was fun.  It was even strangely satisfying when my husband got frustrated when trying to roll out fondant for his bat wing.

We made:
  • bones
  • leaf
  • eyeball
  • tree frog
  • bat wing
  • mushroom
  • teeth
  • claw
  • tentacle
  • paw
  • and a tongue!


I dug out a big cardboard box and stuck the cake in it.  After using the entire can of Wilton Color Mist, the cake only looked slightly darker.  The little coloring there was appeared to be dripping down the sides.  More crying.  I concluded the cake was going to look too awful to serve to family.  We were celebrating my in-laws birthdays and this was an unacceptable birthday cake.  It was 2:30 in the morning.  I went to bed knowing I'd have to make a whole new cake when I woke up.

The next day, it wasn't bad at all.  The coloring dried up and the cauldron looked more like dark brown clay or cast iron.

The cake must go on!  The "stew" was teal colored piping gel.

Into the pot, they go!



 That's that!  When the family came over, many didn't even realize it was a cake!  My father-in-law took a bite out of the eye and then stuck it to his forehead.  He answered the door to trick-or-treaters and said "I've got my eye on you!"

  • didn't make enough fondant
  • fondant wasn't moist enough
  • couldn't cover cake in fondant!!! (I really should have done a practice run)
  • couldn't color the cake black (see previous post on Color Mist)
  • husband and I had lots of fun making creepy stuff out of fondant
  • piping gel look really good
  • people thought it was just decoration!  (that's good, right?  I'll take it as good...)
The taste of the butter cake and the buttercream didn't thrill me.  I ended up making another cake anyway.

Happy Halloween!!!

1 comment:

  1. Cool cake! I love the tentacle and froggie!

    - letsgetcaking from CC


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