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Topic: 3-D Skull Cake
whoknew? 10/22/2011 7:53 AM
Here is my 1st practice cake with this pan. I learned a lot about what I'll need to trim next time. I also wish to send out a special thank you to dittomom for her helpful tips.
preetscake 10/22/2011 9:31 AM
Oh wow....that is awesome!
Spooky_789 10/22/2011 12:46 PM
That is just creepy looking . . . which means you did a great job!
diamondgirl 10/22/2011 2:42 PM
He's so creepy cool!!
whoknew? 10/22/2011 8:31 PM
I was in a hurry when I posted that this morning (had to take a niece to soccer). I took a lot of pictures which I'll post here to show the process. Next time I'll be more precise and trim small pieces at a time instead of just 2 big whacks. When I put it on the cake board it kept "snowing" powdered sugar on my purple base, but hey, it's a skull, I suppose dead things can still have dandruff....

I've written the number 1-9 in the title, just after the abbreviation for resize. So if you want to see them in order, look for rsz1, rsz2, etc. (I'm not always successful getting my pics to load in order.)

This pan is WELL WORTH PURCHASING! You MUST get it now or it will be gone for another year. You can get the pan at your craft store with a coupon. If the pan came out this well with my first use, then the possibilities are awesome! (Ice for punch bowl, rice crispy treats, jello mold, chocolate 3-D mold, fondant corpse head, Dia de Los Muertos, etc.)

I used the scratch recipe for Pumpkin Spice cake that Wilton printed on the instructions. As you'll see, it ended up making something that was MUCH closer to a pumpkin spice quick bread than cake. It still tasted good, but it did not have the texture/lightness of cake. I'll use the recipe again, but only to make loaves of quick bread.

It took 80 minutes to cook fully, but that may have been because of the density of the scratch recipe. You also have to let the buttercream "set" when you join the 2 halves or the front will slip downward. The scratch recipe made approximately 7-1/2 cups of batter. It says 10 cup capacity, but that would probably result in over-fill. Wilton says this serves 16, but it may actually serve 8-12 party slices.

Here are links to two other skull cakes by dittomom:
dittomom 10/22/2011 10:40 PM
Creepy....and cool! Glad to help! I just baked a yellow cake in my pan, haven't tried the Wilton recipe. Can't wait to see the finished cake!
auntpay 10/23/2011 8:30 PM
Looks good!
preetscake 10/25/2011 4:15 PM
Thank you for taking and sharing step by step pictures...I know it is not easy to remember and do that while you are working on a cake. You are always so nice to share your knowledge and any information with the forum friends!
topofthehill 10/27/2011 4:47 PM
Creepy, cool!!!!

I'm going to have to get this pan to make my daughter birthday cakes I guess. Thanks for sharing the step by step.
whoknew? 10/27/2011 7:37 PM
Thank you everyone. And special thanks to preetscake, I am in awe of your work. I ended up taking the cake to the staff at my great-nephew's elementary school. Even though it was just a practice cake and I knew there was a lot "wrong" with it, I had a teacher call me to order a cake for tomorrow. Since I hobby bake, I just charge for the ingredients/supplies. I'm really tickled because this will pay for the pan! Yippee!

Topofthehill--I love your cupcake avatar. Any chance you could post a larger picture on this thread with some how-to pointers? (By the way, you MUST buy the pan now or it will be gone until next year.)
whoknew? 10/28/2011 6:32 PM
ok....Here's an update on the 3D skull pan. I just finished making 2 more using a doctored Duncan Hines red velvet recipe.


Turn your pan around at 30 minutes.

The scratch pumpkin spice recipe that comes with the pan instructions (I got 7-1/2 cups of batter) took 80 minutes to bake at 325 degrees and did not come all the way to the top of the pan.

The doctored red velvet took about 65 minutes. Keep checking at 55 minutes or you'll overcook the bottom!

The pan requires TWO box mixes, with about 3-5 cups left over. I used 2 doctored Red Velvet recipes which made a total of 12-1/2 cups of batter. I made cupcakes with the leftover batter.

Overfill your pan slightly so the cake finishes ABOVE the rim. (I used 8 cups to fill both sides, intentionally overfilling)

IMPORTANT: Level both pieces while still in the pan by cutting off the cake dome so the cake is level with the top of the rim. THEN take out to cool for a minimum of 2 hours.

After the bottom is cooled, cut along the line provided by Wilton in the bottom part of the pan. Don't cut any more off the face part.

IMPORTANT: You are going to have to create a 'shim' out of your cake dome scraps. Even with frosting to glue the face to the back, it WILL slide!!! You will end up with about 1/4" difference and the back piece will be 1/4" HIGHER than the face. (This happened with BOTH of my 1st cakes.)

The shim needs to be under the chin. A little bit too high is better than not high enough.

You can make really cool looking spiders and centipedes out of buttercream to put on the cake board. I've attached a photo of my practice ones, and two that are just started. You MUST have the eight spider legs coming off the smaller, front, cephalothorax. Use a round tip 2-3 times larger for the body, and 2-3 times smaller for the legs. I used a tip 5 and tip 2 on these.
MZE 10/30/2011 12:52 AM
What is a shim???
whoknew? 10/30/2011 4:18 PM
It's a term used for a piece of board (or any other substance) to make something level. Here's a wooden shim.

For the skull, I cut a piece of cake to fit the bottom of the "chin". It was about 3" x 1" and about 1/2" high. I glued it on with buttercream. My 3rd cake with the shim turned out perfect (FINALLY!!!!!).
whoknew? 10/31/2011 12:09 AM
FINALLY, on the 3rd try with this pan, I was able to get a perfect seam that didn't slip downward. Using the cake shim (sorry, forgot to post the link to a photo on the post above) did the trick. I simply covered the extra cake at the base of the chin with frosting and you couldn't even see the extra cake.

Whew......I need to make 2 more skull cakes for Dia de los Muertos, then I'm done with skulls until 2012.
MZE 10/31/2011 1:10 AM
So is the shim directly under the chin or is it more under where the neck would be? Thanks for your help!
whoknew? 10/31/2011 12:29 PM
MZE--Put the two halves together on a piece of paper, and simply draw around the bottom of ONLY the FACE half that is touching the paper. Move the cake halves off the paper. Now, using your paper template, cut a piece of discarded "dome" cake that is 1/2" high, in the exact same shape as the bottom of the FACE half that was touching the paper. Glue that piece to the bottom of the FACE half with buttercream. This will give you the height needed to keep the seam even when you glue the FACE half to the BACK half. (I didn't do the paper thing, I just eyeballed it.)

Amazingly, the photo posted by Wilton here is EXACTLY what I encountered with the back half being about 1/4" higher than the front half:

Sugar Pie 11/01/2011 10:57 AM
Creepy!! I love your skull cakes!
I've read down thru your thread and it caused me to think.
I don't have the pan, and I've never done a skull cake. I have used wooden dowel rods to hold cakes together before. Could you use a dowel to keep the cakes from sliding when you put them together? Just a thought...
I miss my friend!!
~Sugar Pie
whoknew? 11/01/2011 9:30 PM
Hey, Buddy!!! We need to talk soon. I'll call you. re: the 3D skull. If you are using with no frosting, or powdered sugar only, it really puts limits on any kind of dowels. It actually works quite well if you just slice the back half on the "line" provided by the pan, and level while in the pan for the face half. However, it will still be 1/4" higher in the back. With the cake shim, it works perfectly!

If you covered it with royal icing, fondant, marzipan, or buttercream, you wouldn't have to worry about the 1/4" difference because the icing/fondant would hold it together just fine and it wouldn't slip. I liked the look of the undecorated skull, so that's why I HAD to get it right.
Spooky_789 11/01/2011 11:49 PM
Using the grass tip as I did with the chocolate buttercream to create worms covered up the shims I used to keep the face held up. Something to think aboout.
whoknew? 10/06/2012 8:48 AM
bump for Halloween