Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween Display

The caterer I work through wanted me to make some faux cakes and cupcakes to help her promote her new website,  She is going to display them in 4 Whole Foods stores throughout the LA area, so they needed to be made of materials that would not go bad or need to be refrigerated.

This made for many unique challenges.  First and foremost:  how to construct fake cakes and cupcakes?  I found some varying techniques online, calling for everything from plaster of paris to styrofoam, but they all sounded rather complicated.  Thankfully, people construct cake and cupcake "dummies" for just this purpose!  The cupcakes were quite difficult to find, so I ended up having to order them online:

Little styrofroam shapes pre-glued into cupcake liners-- these babies saved me quite a bit of hassle.  For the cakes, however, I decided to construct my own cake dummy out of dry floral foam blocks, like so:

The blocks were glued together with a little bit of royal icing, which dries completely hard and does not need to be refrigerated.  That, along with Marshmallow Fondant, were the only frostings suitable for display cakes-- which was a challenge in and of itself, since I don't have much experience with royal icing.  I would have much preferred to work with buttercream, but it isn't as stable and is more prone to damage.

So, first I made 2 dozen cupcakes of assorted Halloween varieties, all of which are available on the Creepy Feast website.  The designs I chose were:  Ghost with pumpkin, Vampire, Monster, "Slug", Centipede and Mummy.  Because there are 4 locations she is displaying these, she requested 4 sets of 6 different cupcakes.  I didn't take any progress shots of these, but here is the finished product:

These little suckers took SO much time to do...especially since each style required different colors, materials and techniques.  The mummies and the ghosts are my favorites.

So, after finishing the cupcakes I had to tackle the cakes, which were taken from this design:

However, this cake is frosted in buttercream, which I did not have at my disposal, so some alterations had to be.  I also had to make 2 of these.

So first off, I covered the face part of the cake in green fondant:

For the hair, I used black fondant and white royal icing, mainly because I did not have enough of either one to do it entirely one way or the other, and I didn't want to have to make more frosting because all my bowls were dirty and it was 1 in the morning already. 

First I smeared on a thin layer of royal icing on one surface of the "cake" so that the fondant would stick.  After applying the fondant, I went back and filled in the spaces with more royal icing.  I really lucked out with my management of supplies with this whole project-- at the end of it, I had a golf-ball sized amount of black fondant left and that was it.  Everything else was used up completely.

The face is almost entirely fondant-- the whites of Mrs. Frankenstein's eyes are flattened marshmallows, but everything else is fondant.

By the time I had finished, it was 4 AM (these were for a pickup Saturday morning), and this was the state of my kitchen:

I was rather annoyed after staying up so late to make sure everything was done this morning, the caterer decided (at 7:30 this morning) that she was going to pick them up tomorrow morning instead. 



  1. Nice work! Are you going to go and take a photo of your one of the displays at a Whole Foods where it is set up? Because that would be awesome!

  2. "your one of the displays" wait, what? I meant, take a photo of one of the displays, minus the "your"...