Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Prepare to Be Terrified by Cuteness!

My only problem with Halloween is that there simply isn't enough time, enough space in my fridge, or stretchy enough pants for me to make all the spooktacular desserts that I want to stuff my face and the face of others with. I want to be able to make desserts so gross that people may or may not be afraid, very afraid. After all the fun I had with the bloody brain cupcakes last week, I considered myself on a Halloween high hover...I suppose you could say I hopped on my broomstick to conjure up a few new spells. You really can't be too surprised at this point that I'm going to be making multiple blog posts about multiple Halloween desserts...this is coming from the woman that gave you a bajillion dessert ideas for Saint Patrick's Day after all. When I love a holiday, there is no half-assing it. I am only a whole-asser. Alternatively, remove the -er and flip those around to find another accurate description of me. I decided back in August (seriously, I'm only a little crazy) that I wanted to make a graveyard cake for Derek and I to have at the house. From that idea spawned a dessert so terrifyingly cute that you won't even care if it haunts you for the rest of your days:
Aww, how morbid and adorable.
I know, not nearly as gross and ghastly as bloody brain cupcakes, but I had a darn good time coming up with silly tombstone ideas after marathoning The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, and Hocus Pocus the day prior. See, Halloween even has the best movies...I'm not sure why I still have to sell this so hard to you. Cheesy chick flicks for Valentine's Day? Sappy feel-good films for Christmas? Who needs them when you've got the all-time love story of Gomez and Morticia and the family solidarity of the Sanderson Sisters (added bonus: everything Bette Midler does). Sure there's a lot of darkness and brooding, but cake has been scientifically proven to cheer people up. I'm basing this science off of how happy I feel when I'm eating cake, but that's still proof somehow.
Again with the cheating! What am I? A coach for the New England Patriots?
I have actual other-people-proof that my method of cake jacking a box cake mix will trick everyone you know into believing you made your cake completely from scratch. When I cheated with the braincakes last week, people at the party did not believe I made them from a box and simply jazzed them up a bit following the formula you see above (and I have told you about numerous times). So seriously, it works! If you're feeling lazy, things don't have to taste lazy, and that's a win in my book. I followed cooking instructions on the box and made my languid marble cake (completely the opposite of my from-scratch-for-paying-customers marble cake). It felt right to go lazy with a graveyard cake...there's not much activity happening amongst tombstones after all, and I didn't want to kill myself by working to hard and end up in an actual graveyard. Death by caking...such a shame.
My favorite part of making a marble cake is the plopping,
followed by the swirling. From ew to ah.
It's like a cake Rorschach Test. I'm seeing waves. Of cake.
Once done baking, I allowed my cake to cool in the fridge while I proceeded to get marker all over my left hand. Not only do I get to die seven years prematurely to right-handed people, but I also get to smear marker on my hand until the day that happens.
I measured out my cake and then drew out how I wanted my fences to look based on those measurements.
I used a non-toxic marker since I knew I wanted to pipe chocolate on top of my stenciling without killing myself. I'm sure I could've attempted to draw out my cemetery sign backwards and flipped the paper over, but simply remembering how to spell cemetery correctly in the first place was hard enough. While the marker dried, I gathered my remaining fun ingredients:
This included white and chocolate melts, tiny ghost cupcake toppers, tombstones, the best Halloween candy in the world (suck it, candy corn- candy pumpkins for the win), and grape stems. You read that correctly. Not pictured: crushed up Oreo's to use as dirt. Bonus: you get to eat the filling before crushing!
 While my cake continued to cool, I decided to get a little silly and come up with some tombstones. My husband gets to take credit for the great tombstone tribute to Young Frankenstein (if you can't pick it out, we can't be friends).
I almost wrote out a Jon Snow tombstone and then thought, 'Too soon.'

You may have been wondering about the grape stems. Well, my brilliant little head decided a grape stem coated in chocolate would make an excellent dead tree.
And my brilliant little head was right. I melted chocolate according to package directions and simply dipped the stem and set out to dry on a paper towel.
I then poured the rest of the melted chocolate into a piping bag fitted with a #3 tip. I piped over my fence drawing very carefully and let it rest for a bit. While it was resting, I melted a little bit of white chocolate in a piping bag. I snipped the tip off and piped out little hands on my Parchment sheet. Once I could CAREFULLY move the sheet of Parchment paper with a cookie tray underneath, I placed it in to the fridge to harden. Things will be hard enough to handle when you can slide a small spatula underneath to lift the chocolate off the Parchment. Now that all the little touches were complete, it was time to make my chocolate buttercream frosting.
I do order Crisco in Costco size! Thanks for noticing.
You need:
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 1 cup of Crisco
  • 2 tsp of vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of cocoa*
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream 
*You could use 1/4 cup of Hershey's Special Dark cocoa and 1/2 cup of regular for a dark chocolate frosting.

Blend the butter and Crisco for three minutes until fluffy. Add in the extract and cocoa and blend slowly. Then add in two cups of sugar and two tablespoons of milk. Blend, scrape down the bowl, and repeat this part two more times. Crumb coat the cake and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Place the final frosting coat on and freeze again for 15-30 minutes. This frosting WILL work with the paper towel trick. But I was going for a graveyard and not a chocolate masterpiece, so I skipped the paper towel smoothing for an uneven terrain look.
To decorate, I started by firmly, yet somehow also gently, placing my tombstones and tree into the thick frosting layers.
I placed three pumpkin candies in front of the tree to give it some support. Then I hid my restless spirits and sprinkled Oreo dirt on a few graves. Barry D. Alive seemed like a glaringly obvious choice for fresh dirt...and my set of skeleton hands! I sprinkled a few bones on the fresh dirt piles for Al B. Back and Ima Goner.
I'm into Halloween, but I'm not a heathen, so my cake needed a nice border or I wouldn't be able to rest. I filled a piping bag with my leftover frosting fitted with a #21 tip to make small stars.

Then I SO FREAKING CAREFULLY IT HURT ME INSIDE placed each little section of fence into the frosting. I've never even held a baby as gently as I held these pieces of chocolate fence. Mostly because chocolate is more important to me than babies, but whatever.
Not gonna lie, a couple of my fence pieces still broke even with my tender loving care. But in an accidentally on purpose moment that I'm still going to take credit for, the broken fence pieces just added to the overall decor of a rundown graveyard. It works.
Excuse me while I marvel at my creativity.
I'm in love with this cake. I haven't even cut in to it TWO DAYS later because I just enjoy looking at it in the fridge so much. It fills my tiny little black heart with glee. I'm going to have to get my husband to cut into it, or we'll still be looking at it in it's whole glory until Christmas. I'm sure it will taste as delightfully sinful as it looks, thus making this another crowning achievement in my book (my book is small, okay?). I don't have children (much like Mary Sanderson, I can SMELL them, but I don't want them), but this would be a really fun cake to make with children, should you both smell them and yet still have them. Make it a family affair so your spouse can come up with creatively awful and hilarious tombstone ideas. See? Halloween is so about love and family...in it's own twisted way, of course. Al B. Back on November 1 with my final Halloween masterpiece. Have a Halloween so magnificently macabre that it haunts your dreams! 'Til next time my fellow eaters!
Every time I see the Justin Pieces tombstone, my brain reads it as Justin Bieber. Wishful thinking, I suppose.

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