Sugar Skull Cake

Feliz Dia De Los Muertos! Today is the final day of the three-day celebration to remember and honor loved ones who have died. If you want a little more info on the holiday check out my Dia De Los Muertos Cupcakes blog post. In celebration of the day I am sharing with you a Sugar Skull Cake. Sugar Skulls, or Calaveras, are often used to decorate the ofrendas (offerings) & gravestones during the three-day celebration. They got their name because they are traditionally made of clay molded sugar and then decorated with colorful adornments. The sugar skull I created definitely has sugar in it, but, not molded sugar. I opted to make a chocolate cake, frosted it with buttercream frosting and then decorated it with fondant and confetti sprinkles.

To begin, using the same skeleton pan I used to make my Mummy Cake, I baked a chocolate cake – I used a box cake mix. After letting the cake cool I covered it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

The next day, I made a batch of Brenda’s Bakery Buttercream – also the same frosting I used for the Mummy Cake. After removing the cake from the refrigerator, I used a large circle cookie cutter to cut out larger eyes for the skull. I used the cookie cutter to make an indentation in the cake and then used a butterknife to carve out the eyes.

Next, I crumb coated the cake and placed it back in the refrigerator so the frosting could set, about a half hour.

After 30 minutes I finished frosting the cake. I added a little extra frosting in the cheek area so the skull would have a more defined look. I then placed it back in the refrigerator so the frosting could firm up.

Once the frosting was firm, I removed the cake from the refrigerator and attempted to smooth the spatula swipe marks by laying a piece of paper towel on sections of the cake and then gently rubbed the sections with my fingers. This worked for the most part, except I then had the imprint of the paper towel on my cake.

Then, the fun part began. I brought my skull to life using fondant & sprinkles. Luckily, I had left-over fondant from the Trolls Cake I made last year. Don’t worry, the fondant was un-opened and still good. Using black fondant and the same round cookie cutter I used to widen the eyes I cut out eye sockets. For the mouth, I actually had a band aid cookie cutter from a Doc McStuffins themed cake I made last year that was the perfect size. You could easily cut out a rectangle using black fondant though. For the nose socket, I cut out a pink heat and then placed it on the cake upside down. And for the rest of the cake I used daisy cutters to cut out different sizes to decorate around the cake along with confetti sprinkles. This was probably one of the simplest cakes I decorated (I feel like I say that about a lot of cakes these days!)

For a more detailed instruction on creating your own Sugar Skull cake check out The Cake Girls

 

Día De Los Muertos Cupcakes

Happy Halloween! This year instead of a Halloween inspired treat I opted to go with a Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) one instead. So, what is Día De Los Muertos you may ask? Well, it’s a three-day Mexican holiday where one remembers and celebrates friends and family members who have died. And while pumpkins and ghosts are symbolic of Halloween, sugar skulls are the symbol associated with this holiday. These are skulls that are colorfully decorated. The biggest difference I would say between the two holidays is how one celebrates death and the other fears death. With Día De Los Muertos people set-up altars to celebrate the dead, bring food and/or beverages, among other gifts, to their loved one’s grave site. While with Halloween, children wear masks and costumes as protection and jack-o-lanterns are meant to ward off evil spirits. So, whichever you choose to celebrate, or if you are among those who did not celebrate at all, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with candy! One of the reasons I decided to go with this theme was because I was giving these cupcakes as part of a birthday gift to a friend who really likes the décor of the holiday and she’s probably a bigger pumpkin spice fan than me.

img_0066

I began these cupcakes by making the sugar skull toppers. I melted Wilton White Candy Melts and poured them into skull molds and then placed them in the refrigerator so they could set.

img_0019

The following day using an array of sparkle gel…

img_0023

I decorated the skulls to mimic sugar skulls and then placed them back in the refrigerator.

img_0026

A few days later I made the cupcakes. To make the batter I began by whisking together melted butter, oil and milk. Once that was well combined I added in brown sugar and continued whisking until it was smooth. And then finally I added in vanilla extract and eggs. In another bowl I combined the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt) and then added them to the wet ingredients. Next I folded in pumpkin puree and chocolate chips.

img_0048

I then filled Día De Los Muertos themed cupcake liners about 3/4 full and baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

img_0049

After letting them cool completely I made a cream cheese frosting to top them off.

img_0055

So the sugar skulls would pop a little I opted to stripe the inside of the decorator bag with green before adding the frosting to pipe. And there you have it… Día De Los Muertos Pumpkin Cupcakes.

img_0068

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup vegetable oil

5 tablespoons milk*, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

14 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree

3/4 cup chocolate chips

*I used 2%

Cupcake Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and lined a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the butter, oil and milk until smooth. Add in the brown sugar and continue mixing until smooth and finally add in the vanilla and eggs, continuing to whisk until smooth.

In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix it until smooth.

Fold in the pumpkin puree and then the chocolate chips until well combined.

Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full and bake for about 21-23 minutes, until a cake inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Ingredients for Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups Confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 cups vanilla extract

Frosting Directions:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and mix together until smooth.

Add half of the sugar and mix until smooth, then add the vanilla extract and continue mixing. Finally add the remaining sugar and continue mixing until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes.

Recipe from The Cake Blog