Halloween is one of my favorites, if not my favorite, holiday of all time. There’s the candy, the costumes, the decorations, the change of weather, that something in the air, the pumpkin carving, the hot cocoa, the themed food, it’s all amazing. I loved Halloween as a kid because my sisters and I would always dress up every year, and my mamma would take us around the neighborhood trick-or-treating and we’d all fight for the best candy, after she’d sort through it all to make sure there were no razor blades or opened candy. Then she’d hide our safe candy and only let us eat one piece a day, no more than that, like some kind of monster. My middle sister would always find the hiding spot, though, and then she’d coerce me into sneaking a few extra pieces with her (sorry mamma). Can we talk about how middle children are always the most sneaky and rebellious? Almost all of my mischievous memories as a kid involved my middle sister talking me into something. Now as an adult I love Halloween just as much, especially now, for very different reasons. Last year I actually got engaged on Halloween, so of course that makes it even more special for me.
I think we always need some kind of show-stopping dessert on a holiday. Pumpkin Pie Cake, Death By Chocolate Doughnuts, and Dark Chocolate Pot De Creme are all options for you to choose from. This year I’m adding this Halloween Frankenstein Cake to the mix. It might look difficult and you might think you can’t do it, but believe me, if I can do it, you most definitely can pull it off. It’s actually not that complicated at all. You just need a big batch of classic buttercream, a batch of chocolate buttercream, a few disposable pastry bags with a few tips (although you can do this with plastic food storage bags) and a bit of melted chocolate. You can totally make this with boxed cake mix and store-bought frosting if you’d like. I’m not judging. I follow a Magnolia Bakery cake decorator on instagram, and I saw in her stories that she made a cake like this at the bakery for an order, and I didn’t grab a screenshot of it in time before it disappeared so when I realized I wanted to make it, I had to do it from memory. All in all, I think I did pretty well, and I’m happy with this cute little cake that could. Bookmark this now and make it this weekend so that you can impress your family and friends or coworkers on Halloween.
Feel free to use whatever cake recipe you love for the layers, or whatever flavor! I used a pumpkin cake that I really love, and you can find it on my site. I used the same recipe for the Pumpkin Pie Cake last year! It’s a simple buttercream for the frosting, whipped butter, powdered sugar, salt, and heavy whipping cream. Save a bit of the plain buttercream before coloring it green. That’ll be for the eyes.
**Note: I used gel food coloring because it requires less coloring and I find it to be more even in color than the liquid. I used a combination of Kelly Green and Moss Green to get that perfect Frankenstein color.**
Place a cake layer on a cake stand or platter and then frost with a bit of the green buttercream, spreading it out to the edges of the cake. Repeat with the second layer, another layer of frosting and then the third and final layer.
**Note: Make sure each of the layers are flat and even. If they are domed on top, cut off the top with a serrated knife to even the layers out. This will ensure an even and stable cake!**
Cover the sides of the cake with green buttercream, making sure to fully coat the sides as this will be his face and most important to be frosted right. Don’t worry about frosting the top perfectly as the chocolate buttercream will go on top to create his hair. So you don’t even need to frost the top at this point if you don’t want to, or if you’re running out of frosting.
Smooth out the sides with an offset spatula or a plastic bowl scraper to make sure it’s even and smooth as possible. Save a bit of the green buttercream because you’ll need some for Frankenstein’s nose!
Pipe out two big white eyes (using that reserved white buttercream from earlier) on the best side of the cake, for his face. Then pipe out a green nose in between the two eyes.
**Note: For this piping, I used disposable pastry bags fitted with a small round plain tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, then use a food storage bag with an end snipped off.**
To make the features on his face, melt dark chocolate chips in the microwave or double boiled until smooth and melted through. Then transfer the melted chocolate to a small piping bag, fitted with a very small round plain tip. Pipe out a stitch on the side of his face, a mouth on an angle or straight on, depending on what you want his face to look like. Then pipe out two dots on his eyes. Using a small toothpick, dollop two white rounds on the melted chocolate eyes to finish off those eyes.
For his hair, we’re using chocolate buttercream. Just like earlier, it’s a classic buttercream, but with unsweetened cocoa powder to give it that extra chocolate taste. Once thick and fluffy, transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag, fitted with a small basket weave tip.
**Note: The basket weave tip is a flat tip with ridges that gives the impression of a basket’s weave. You can find it online or an art store that has a baking section.**
Pipe out long strands of “hair” on top of Frankenstein, making sure that some of the strands come over the edge and down the sides. Just keep piping until the top is completely covered with a full set of hair.
If you don’t have or can’t find that basket weave tip for his hair, try using a thin small round tip and pipe out thing strands of hair, almost like spaghetti. It doesn’t have to look perfect or just exactly like this, so use whatever you have on hand. Once you start putting together the finishing touches, the cake will really start to look like a cute Frankenstein.
You can cut and serve the cake at this point, right away, or store it in the fridge until ready to eat. If you plan on keeping it in there for a few days, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to eat, about 2 to 4 minutes. Just make sure you let the cake (or slice) come down to room temperature before cutting and serving.
This Halloween Frankenstein Cake is just waiting to be made and eaten by you. Make it for Halloween this year, and watch as it puts a big smile on everyone’s hair. It’ll be the best conversation starter and the perfect dessert for the holiday, right before you go trick or treating and then devour all that candy you plan on getting. Whatever you make or do this holiday, just make sure to be safe and alert. Happy Halloween Friend.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- green food coloring, gel or liquid
- 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cooked 8-inch round cakes, flavor and recipe of your choice
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
- To make the green buttercream, whip the butter on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed and slowly add in the powdered sugar, mixing until all has been added and the mixture is thick and well combined. Stir in the salt, vanilla, and heavy cream, and beat on high for about 8 minutes until thick and fluffy. Save about 1/2 cup of white buttercream, and set aside. Add a few drops of food coloring (as much as needed for a dark Frankenstein green and stir until the buttercream is evenly colored.
- To make the chocolate buttercream, whip the butter on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed and slowly add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, mixing until all have been added and the mixture is thick and well combined. Stir in the salt, vanilla, and heavy cream, and beat on high for about 8 minutes until thick and fluffy.
- To assemble the cake, even out each layer by cutting off the tops if needed. Lay one layer cut side down, on a cake stand or platter. Add a scoop of green buttercream, and spread out evenly. Place another layer of cake on top, and repeat with another dollop of buttercream. Lay the third layer of cake on top. Coat the sides of the cake with green frosting and smooth it out with an offset spatula. You can put a very thin layer of green frosting on the top, but it isn't important. Save a bit of the green frosting for the nose.
- Place the reserved white frosting in a piping bag, fitted with a round circle tip, and pipe out two eyes on the side of the cake, wherever the face will go. Place the reserved green frosting in a separate piping bag, fitted with a round tip as well, and pipe out a small nose in between his eyes.
- Let's move on to his eye balls and other small details. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or a double boiler. Transfer the melted chocolate to a small piping bag, fitted with a small round tip or with a small opening that has been cut at the tip. Pipe out stitch on the side of his face, and then pipe out a mouth and two eye balls.
- If you want to make the bolts on the side, pip them out free hand on a piece of parchment paper. Place in the freezer until firm. Then peel off the paper and stick one in each side.
- To make his hair, transfer the chocolate buttercream to a large pastry bag fitted with a flat tip with ridges, it's usually a basket weave tip. Then pipe out long strands of hair over the entire top, making sure them come off over the edge. Then that's it! Your cake is done! Cut and serve or chill until ready to eat!
- Yield: 12 to 16 servings