I love to wander the woods, especially those found up in the Pacific Northwest. I spent some time up in Spokane, Washington, and found some of the most beautiful and lush wooded areas I had ever seen. I remember coming across some bones one day while walking around. They had been there for quite some time and were in the process of slowly being reclaimed by the ground around them.
This cake is in honor of those bones, because, yes, even a demon can get sentimental (and a little lonely) at times.
For this recipe you will need:
- White chocolate skull (recipe to follow)
- 1 8X8″ chocolate cake
- 1 can of chocolate frosting
- 2 cups of Nilla wafers
- 2 cups of chocolate cookie wafers
- cocoa powder
- green food coloring
- black food coloring
- yellow food coloring
- Mint leaves
To start, you need to make your chocolate skull. A few weeks ago I found this absolutely incredible mold online. It’s a bit pricey, but if you can swing it, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a bit of a bitch to mold, but I’ll walk you through it.
To make the skull you will need:
- 3 bags of white candy melts
- cocoa powder
- cooking spray
If you decide to just mold your skull using the inside of a skull shaped cake pan, feel free to skip these next few steps and go straight to assembly down below… You can also make your own skull mold using my two part tutorial part 1 here and part 2 here.)
For the purposes of this recipe, we will only be using the cranial section of the mold. The jaw (which is a separate piece altogether) will not be used. You will be using these three pieces.
The first thing you want to do with this mold is to make sure it’s good and greased. Normally you don’t have to oil up a silicone mold, but I’ve found with trial and error on this beast that everything you can possibly do to make it release your chocolate works in your favor.
I spray the whole thing down with vegetable spray and then go back over it again with a pastry brush to make sure the spray is in the deep nooks and crannies. The brush also helps to spread out any areas where it might pool. You want a thin coat of spray…
Assemble the two halves of the upper cranium and secure. I placed mine inside a box that just happens to be almost the perfect size to hold the two halves together. I brace the sides with a little extra foam to keep it from wiggling.
Melt down one bag of candy melts. You can do this either by placing them in a crock pot or electric fondue pot set to low, or by zapping in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stirring between cookings.
Once your candy melts are melted and smooth, pour the entire pot into the half of your mold that makes up the upper cranium. Tilt the mold back and forth to make sure you get an even coat on all sides. A pastry brush can also assist in getting the chocolate into the grooves and spots that might be a bit tougher to reach just by tilting. Set this aside and allow the chocolate to cool.
Melt your second bag and repeat the process with the lower portion of the mold, again allowing it to cool and harden.
Melt your third and final bag of candy melts, but this time allow it to cool almost to room temperature. You want to be able to pour it into your mold without having it melt through the layer you’ve already poured.
When it’s cooled down enough, pour the entire bag into the upper half of your cranium and then assemble the mold, placing the two halves together.
Now comes the fun part…rotational casting.
Make sure your mold halves are secured together. I use a strap wrapped around the entire thing to make sure all the pieces stay where they are supposed to stay.
Carefully start rotating your mold around 360 degrees. You want to make sure that the liquid chocolate inside the mold fully coats and covers every inch of the mold which means you have to turn it upside down and all around.
Do this for a good 10 minutes. It’s a workout, but worth it.
Now place your mold in the fridge. Every two minutes for the next 30 minutes, rotate your mold by flipping it onto each side.
At the end of those thirty minutes, turn the whole thing upside down and leave it alone for 2 hours! WALK AWAY. Go watch a movie. Take a stroll. Do whatever you want, but leave the mold alone.
Overnight is even better.
When it comes time to open the mold, do it carefully. Gently rock the silicone pieces back and forth to help release their hold on your chocolate.
Be prepared, you’re going to have breaks. It happens…but for this cake, it’s okay…it’s supposed to look worn and old. If it happens, save the pieces and you can either glue it back together using more liquid candy melt, or simply leave it broken and tell everyone you meant to do that. It’s art…it’s subjective. Do what makes you happy.
Now that your skull is out of the mold, it’s time to age it down.
For this project I decided to inscribe it with ancient Welsh symbols for love. I used a skewer and carved them into the chocolate and then brushed the whole thing with cocoa powder mixed with vodka to give it an aged and worn look.
Now that that’s done, it’s time to begin assembling.
Gently press your skull into your cake where you would like to have it rest. You want to push hard enough to leave a dent or mark, but not so hard that you run the risk of crushing either the cake or the skull.
With a sharp knife, carve out the areas where the skull was pressed into the cake.
Frost the entire thing with your dark chocolate frosting. Don’t worry about filling in the holes we just carved. The frosting will act like a glue and help hold the skull in place.
Crumble up your dark chocolate wafer cookies. You can do this either in a food processor or in a Ziplock bag using a rolling pin.
Sprinkle this down on top of your frosting…it will be your dirt layer. Once you are happy with your dirt, add in your skull.
Crumble up your Nilla wafers the same way. You want as fine a powder as you can possibly get.
When your Nilla wafers are good and pulverized, add in your green food coloring, This will be your moss.
Sprinkle your moss crumbs down over your dirt and your skull. You can use a bit of frosting or more vodka to wet down the skull to help the moss stick. A little cocoa powder can also help add more depth and contrast.
(At this point in my build process it was pretty late and the stores were all closed, which is why you see silk leave in place of the real mint I used later. I had to wait for the stores to open the next morning to replace them.)
I admit that I used my airbrush to add more color. This is purely optional and doesn’t have to be done…a paintbrush and food coloring work just as well.
You can see how the addition of more green, yellow and a little black helps add to the aged look of the skull and helps sell the realism.
When I was finally happy with the coloring of the skull (and the store opened) I replaced the silk leaves with edible mint leaves…and the project was done!
And there you have it…your skull cake is complete!
Want to make another skull cake using this mold? Why not check out the following recipes:
Like what you see? Want to see more? Help me keep making my disgusting creations by visiting my Patreon page.