28 Oct Halloween Bat Cake Tutorial
I had y’all worried, did’t I?
I almost let Halloween slip by without posting an appropriately themed recipe. Things just got busy, ya know? But if I had gone and let that happen, then what kind of food blogger would I be? The kind that let’s her second favorite holiday pass unmentioned? Uncelebrated??!! Pfffffft. Not I. Which poses a more serious question…if a food blogger doesn’t post a Halloween recipe, did Halloween even happen?
Perhaps not. Good thing I called myself out on my crap.
And for reals, what’s Halloween without a spooky-ish (not), googly-eyed dessert? Boring. That’s what.
I dreamt up this bat cake as I was looking way, way back at this mustache cake tutorial that I posted in honor of my dad’s crumb catcher. <—Dear Google, you are home to some seriously gross ‘alternate names for the mustache’. Seriously, that’s the tamest one I could find.
I’m psyched on the idea of sharing a cake with you guys that is based more on technique than actual ingredients. And when I say technique, I’m not talking about anything fancy. If you can cut half circles out of a cake with a wine glass, you too can have a goofy-looking (yet endearing) bat cake to share with your little ones this Halloween.
The best part (well, after the googly-eyed cuteness) is that this super easy bat cake can be whipped up with a just box cake mix and store bought icing. There is no need for from-scratch baking, unless of course you want to. I chose a red velvet boxed mix/homemade ganache combo because I wanted my bat to have a dark brown, bat-like (obvi) appearance with a Halloween-appropriate, creepy red interior. But honestly, frosting cakes with ganache is a bit of a pain in the you know what so if I were you, I’d skip it and use an icing that is easier to work with. (Like, maybe the kind with words that rhyme with shmuncan bynes on the label.)
Let’s talk about red velvet cake for a hot sec. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I am completely against it. Most people don’t realize, red velvet is just devil’s food chocolate cake, with slightly less chocolate, and red food coloring added. Why feed your face all that artificial dye for no reason? I try to live by the rule that there are only two occasions when red velvet is acceptable – for creepy looking Halloween desserts, and armadillo grooms cakes. That’s it.
I realize this is coming from the girl who just advocated boxed cake mix. I didn’t say it made sense. This is just how my brain works. Everything in moderation, right?
Now let’s make a bat cake, shall we?!
The pictures above coordinate with steps 1 through 5 below. I apologize for leaving you hanging for the remainder of the process. I had a major-ish camera scare when my tripod fell over, crashing my brand new camera and lens against my kitchen floor, so I thought it best to put it away. Luckily, both camera and lens survived without injury.
Here we go!
Things to know before starting:
You will need to assemble the cake directly on the surface on which you will be serving it. Once you attach the wings, it cannot be easily transferred. The cake will have a wingspan of about 15 inches, so keep that in mind when choosing a serving dish.
You will need to place the cake into the refrigerator several times, so make sure to clear enough room on a shelf in the fridge to hold your serving dish.
For assembly, you will need:
2 8-inch cakes, chilled at least 4 hours, preferably overnight
1 1/2 – 2 cups chocolate icing or ganache
2 Oreo cookies
1/4 cup white icing (easy recipe: 3 tbsp butter, softened + ½ cup powdered sugar, whipped together for 3-4 minutes)
3 ziploc bags OR 2 piping bags fitted with standard couplers plus a medium and a small round pastry tip
Step-by-Step Instructions for Assembly:
- Start with two chilled 8-inch round cakes on a clean work surface.
- Using a serrated knife, cut one cake in half, directly down the middle.
- Using the round edge of your whole cake as a reference, cut ~2-inch pieces off of one end of each half, rounding the cuts so that they fit snuggly against the sides of the round cake, like wings.
- Use a wine glass to cut two half circles out of flat edge of each wing, leaving a point in between each. Place your wings on either side of the whole cake (or face) to make sure that they are even. Trim any necessary pieces using your serrated knife.
- Use your icing to adhere you wings to the sides of the whole cake, at about 10- and 2-o-clock. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to let your icing glue harden. This will make it easier for you to ice the cake without moving the wings.
- Once the icing that is gluing your wings has hardened, frost the entire cake with a very thin crumb coat of icing. If you’d like, you can tuck strips of parchment paper under the cake’s edges to prevent from making a mess on your serving dish, you’ll just need to gently remove them after you fully frost the cake. Take extra care around the wings, since some of the points will be fragile – refrigeration helps keep the weak spots sturdy, so the longer you refrigerate the less risk of breaking a wing. Place back into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden.
- Once your crumb coat is firm, ice the entire cake, again taking care around the points of the wings. Place cake in the refrigerator while you make the eyes.
- To make the eyes, fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip or fill a ziploc bag with half of your white icing and cut off the corner about ¼ inch deep. Pipe a circle of white frosting about the size of a quarter onto an Oreo cookie. Repeat on the other cookie. Fill a separate bag (piping fitted with a small round tip or a Ziploc bag with just a tiny amount snipped off the corner) with chocolate icing or ganache and pipe about a dime-sized amount onto white quarter-sized circle for the bat’s pupil.
- To make the mouth, fill your 3rd Ziploc with white icing or place the small round tip on your white icing pastry bag, and pipe on half-circle shape for the bat’s smile. Then pipe on two small triangles for fangs and fill them in. You could also use candy corn instead of piping on the fangs.
VOILA! You’ve got yourself a bat cake!!!
I hope your Halloween is the fantastic kind where you get all Reese’s and no Dots in your trick-or-treat bag, get spooked but not too scared, and as if all the candy weren’t enough, get to eat a giant slice of bat cake for dessert.