I had intended to make and bring this cake to the office pot-luck we had on Monday, along with the Zombie Finger Cookies, etc. I had already baked and written on tombstone cookies, picked up a bag of ghost marshmallows at the grocery store (saving myself the trouble of making them), and hit up the Dollar Tree for some gummy worms, zombies, and bones. I had even printed out a clipart gate, covered it with waxed paper and piped melted chocolate over it to make a gate. I was all set to frost and decorate the cake Sunday night, inverted it out of the pan, and it completely fell apart on me!
I didn't want all of the decorations to go to waste, and since I'm only in the office on Mondays and Fridays, I figured I'd throw it together to bring in today. I had to chuckle when I walked into the kitchen and found people standing around it taking pictures. Hopefully someone's turned out better than mine and I can swap out. My camera has been acting up lately.
The cake is just a box mix - nothing fancy there. Before frosting it, I cut out a grave, being careful when frosting that particular area. I put a little dab of frosting on the bottom of the ghosts to make sure they stayed in place and used icing to dot little faces on them. The "dirt" is a short stack of chocolate cookies crushed and sprinkled all over. The dirt pile at the foot of the open grave with the worm creeping out is a spoonful of frosting dusted with more crumbs. I had originally gone to the Dollar Tree looking for what I had found another year when doing one of these - a candy skeleton. As much as I dislike the various Dollar stores for the lead found in so many of their kids' products (jewelry, crayons, etc.), I do love them for this type of thing.
As I mentioned, I had made cookie headstones already, but then I got it into my head that rice crispie treats would be better because they would be thicker (more realistic), and the cereal would give it more of that granite look. I decided that if I added a bit of black food coloring to the marshmallow, it would turn out gray-ish, looking even more like granite, but as it turned out, once I mixed in the cereal, it pretty much just looked like I made coco-crispie treats. I did not factor in that trying to write one them would be more difficult because the icing slid into all those little crannies. The writing was originally black, but because there wasn't enough contrast when it dried, I went over them in white later.
I ended up having a great idea for the bats - I had leftover marzipan from making the Zombie Finger Cookies' fingernails, so I kneaded black food coloring into a bit of the marzipan, flattened it out on a piece of waxed paper, put a bat stencil over it and pressed all around the edges of the stencil with the tip of a lobster pick to push the marzipan through. I let it dry out for a few minutes, then carefully ran a small, sharp knife under them to release them from the stencil. For the eyes, I poked little holes with the tip of the lobster pick and used a clean set of tweezers (my second favorite decorating tool) to pick up little orange nonpareils and set them in place. When I was ready to place the bats on the headstones, I dabbed a bit of frosting on the bottoms to hold them in place.
One thing I had meant to try but forgot about was making a flower or two out of marzipan to go on top of the dirt pile or another one of the graves. Not sure how well that would have gone for me, but I'm bummed that I forgot to try! I had also thought about piping a tree like the gate to stand up in the back corner but thought that might be overkill. Maybe next time I'll do that instead of the gate. We'll see ...
Welcome to the Hye Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.
Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)