In this tutorial I’m going to show you five very easy ideas to decorate Halloween cakes! If you prefer to watch a video of this tutorial, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Spider web cake
This first technique is messy but fun! Melt marshmallows for 30 seconds in the microwave and then pinch the warm gloopy marshmallows and stretch them to make thin strands, which you can then wrap around your cake.
Your cake needs to be cold for this so that the strands of marshmallow don’t cut into the frosting. If you dip your fingers in water first, the marshmallows won’t stick to your hands as much, but it’s quite fun to get messy for this!
Wrap the marshmallows randomly around the cake, playing around with the height of each hand to change the angle that the marshmallows go onto your cake so they all overlap and tangle up like a spiderweb. You can go over the top of the cake the same way, stretching the marshmallows to make strings, or push all of your fingers together and then slowly spread them out to stretch the marshmallow out and then drape that over the top of the cake.
This covers more of the cake so it’s quicker and by doing it this way, with the marshmallows spread out into more of a sheet instead of strings, the marshmallows won’t cut into the frosting on the top edge of your cake.
You can’t go wrong with this cake design because you’re aiming for a mess so you can have a lot of fun in the process! Now we’ll take a very unfestive cake and make it Halloweeny with two different techniques.
This design uses homemade stencils and a pre-made stencil. To make an eery full moon stencil, cut two circles out of parchment paper, one circle slightly bigger than the other. The bigger circle will be the glowing ring around the moon.
Press the bigger circle against the cake and spread white buttercream over it, carefully spreading from the outside of the circle towards to middle so you don’t wrinkle the stencil or push buttercream underneath the outer edge of the circle. The frosting on your cake needs to have set to do this, so this cake has been in the fridge for a few hours for the frosting to firm up.
Smooth the white buttercream with your offset spatula or a frosting smoother and don’t worry if it’s so thin you can see through it, because the purpose of this circle is just to create the light that shines out around the moon. Peel the parchment off the cake.
Use an offset spatula or a paintbrush to smudge the outside of the circle and next we need to create a bright moon within this glow. You can chill the cake again to set this white buttercream or go straight on to the next stencil
Press the smaller circle stencil against the cake, lining it up so that it’s in the middle of the larger circle you’ve already stencilled onto the cake. You’ll smudge some of the previous white circle with your stencil but that’s fine because we’re going for a glowing, blurry effect anyway.
Spread buttercream over the stencil to create the moon within the glow. Again, spread from just outside the edge of the circle towards the middle of the circle to keep the stencil in place.
Smooth the buttercream with your frosting smoother. You can aim for a perfectly smooth moon or leave it uneven with bumps to resemble the craters in the moon so that you don’t worry about smoothing it!
Peel your stencil off and voila! An eery full moon!
Now I’m going to use a bat stencil and you can use the whole stencil, or block off parts of the stencil using parchment paper so that only a smaller section transfers onto the cake, like this, or I’m about to use a different technique. I have a tutorial on 16 Ways To Use Stencils if you’re looking for ideas!
I just want one bat and instead of risking smudging my moon or messing up the stencil and staining my white moon with black frosting, I’m taping parchment paper onto a cutting board and then stenciling onto the parchment paper, doing 3 bats so that I have extras if my first one doesn’t work.
Peel the stencil off to reveal your bats, which are much easier to stencil onto a flat surface than onto the side of a cake! Put the bat (on the parchment paper on the board) in the freezer for 15 minutes.
If the frosting on the cake has set, it won’t be sticky anymore so the bat won’t stick to it. Spread a little bit of buttercream onto the moon to make it sticky or pipe a tiny dot where you’re going to place the bat, to act as glue.
Slide a knife underneath the bat to lift it up off the parchment paper. You can try using an offset spatula but it’s easier with a very thin blade.
Twist the knife upwards and press it against the cake. The bat will stick to the buttercream you’ve just spread on the cake, attaching to the side of the cake.
There are endless way to use stencils to decorate cakes! Experiment with homemade parchment paper stencils and if you’re using a pre-made stencil, don’t limit yourself to applying an entire patterned stencil design to your cake!
Homemade sugar lollipops
A simple way to decorate a Halloween cake is to add some candy. I’m matching the colour scheme with these purple and black sprinkles which I’m going to turn into lollipops to add to the top of the cake.
I’m using a lollipop mold but you can pour this sugar mixture straight onto parchment paper for round (but not perfectly circular) lollipops, and then press lollipop sticks into them straight away. You can find my recipe and tutorial for homemade sugar lollipops here.
You could use Halloween candy within the lollipops instead of sprinkles, like orange and black M&Ms or candy corn. When the lollipops are cool, after about 30 minutes, lift them up and push them into your cake!
I love these lollipops because they add height and detail to cakes but they’re quick and easy to make. You can match a colour scheme or theme with the sprinkles or candy you choose to use inside the pops and you can also you molds to create them in different shapes!
Gold buttercream pumpkins
To make elegant gold pumpkins, pipe buttercream with a small star tip like a #199 to make a stem. For the body of the pumpkin you’ll need a 1M star tip.
Pipe four curved lines around each other to make the pumpkin. This is parchment paper or you can use wax paper and the reason for piping onto this instead of straight onto the cake is so that you can paint the pumpkins gold.
Put the pumpkins on the paper into the freezer for at least an hour to set and meanwhile, make some gold paint using gust luster dust and a few drops of clear alcohol like vodka, or this is almond extract and any clear coloured, alcohol based flavor extract will work.
Take your pumpkins out of the freezer and brush them with the gold paint, getting into all of the cracks and crevices with your paintbrush. Put them back in the freezer for about 30 minutes so that the paint dries.
If the frosting on your cake has set, so it’s no longer sticky, pipe or spread a bit of buttercream onto the frosting on your cake to act as glue wherever you want a pumpkin to go. Take the pumpkins out of the freezer and lift one up from the parchment paper with an offset spatula.
Press the pumpkin into the buttercream you’ve just piped or spread onto the side of the cake.
If you wipe off any gold paint as you push the pumpkins against the cake, you can touch them up by painting on a bit more gold paint, and you can also use your paintbrush to push the pumpkins around gently to wrap them more closely around the sides of the cake.
I have a tutorial on how to decorate this striped Halloween cake with gold buttercream pumpkins from start to finish, with the stripes and more details on the gold pumpkins, if you’re looking for step by step instructions.
Decorate the inside of your cake!
Pour Halloween coloured sprinkles into your cake batter before you bake it and the sprinkles will melt and dissolve, leaving splotches of colour in the cake.
You can do this for cakes and cupcakes, and add cookie dough filling made with Halloween candy for an even more festive touch! For cupcakes, cut out a hole in the middle with a sharp knife and then roll a spoonful of cookie dough into a ball.
Push the cookie dough ball into the hole and pipe frosting over the top for a delicious surprise when you bite into the cupcake! Click here for my recipe for edible cookie dough and 4 desserts to make with it.
You can stack this cookie dough in discs between layers of cake too, using a bit of buttercream above and below the cookie dough to make it stick to the cake. The layers of cake and cough dough filling look delicious and this is cake flavour is the most popular I’ve made for people – everyone loves cookie dough!
I hope I’ve given you some ideas for decorating your Halloween cakes and I’d love to see what you make! Please tag @britishgirlbakes in your photos on Instagram so I can see your creations!
Here’s the video version of this tutorial:
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