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Zombie Graveyard Cake

Zombie Cake
Zombies are popular in the movies, on tv and even in the candy aisle. I’ve noticed that zombies have become a popular theme for Halloween candies, from gummies to marshmallows to candy bars. In the movies, zombies tend to be pretty realistic looking and the “gross” factor is high. In candy form, zombie-themed treats are a lot more colorful and a lot more fun. Dark purple, bright green and vibrant orange seem to be the most popular colors for zombie-themed goodies – and those are the colors I decided to work with to make my own zombie-themed cake. This cake isn’t the kind that will scare guests at your Halloween party. Instead, it’s a colorful and slightly spooky sheet cake that both kids and adults can enjoy!

The cake is a vanilla sheet cake that I added purple, green and orange food coloring to in order to give it three distinct, fun colors. Gel food colors will give you the most intense color, but regular liquid food coloring will work just as well if you can get the right colors. Don’t skim on the food coloring: you want your cake to be vibrant, and going back to add more coloring means that you will have to stir the batter more and you could eventually toughen the cake. I added the batter in dollops around the pan, then swirled them gently together with a knife to create large blocks of color.

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I decorated the cake like a graveyard, since that is a place where zombies are likely to arise on Halloween. I pulverized some Oreo cookies in the food processor to make some “dirt” to set the scene. I used oval-shaped cookies colored with chocolate and white frosting to make little headstones, added Peeps Ghost Marshmallows to increase the spook-factor and added some hand-carved mellowcreme pumpkins to finish off the Halloween look. Zombie candies like Sour Patch Kids and the Halloween Peeps are great cake accessories, too, as are gummy [earth]worms. It doesn’t have to be too serious – you should have fun with decorating this kind of cake!

The combination of chocolate frosting and vanilla cake is always a crowd pleaser, and the chocolate “dirt” adds some extra chocolate flavor and texture to the frosting! You won’t see the colors until you slice into the cake, so it’s fun to reveal those zombie-inspired layers as you serve each slice.

Zombie Cake

Zombie Graveyard Cake
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream (regular or low fat)
1 cup milk (whole or low fat)
approx 1/2 tsp green food coloring
approx 1/2 tsp purple food coloring
approx 1/2 tsp orange food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and almond extract. Stir in on third of the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream. Stir in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in remaining flour mixture, stirring just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Divide batter evenly into three smaller bowls. Add green food coloring to one, purple food coloring to another and orange food coloring to the third and stir until colors are completely combined (1/2 tsp liquid food coloring, 1/4 tsp gel food coloring).
Dollop batters around the prepared pan in small amounts to distribute all the colors evenly, then run a knife through to create a swirling pattern (don’t over-marble).
Bake for 32-36 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting and Decorations
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (approx 16 cookies, finely crushed)
oval-shaped cookies for headstones
ghost marshmallows
mellowcreme pumpkins
other spooky candies

In a large bowl, beat together butter, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla extract until well-combined. Gradually blend in the confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick, smooth and spreadable. Reserve about 1/3 cup of frosting for additional decorations. Spread remaining frosting onto cooled cake.
Cover frosting with a layer of Oreo cookie crumbs to look like “dirt”.
Spread a very thin layer of extra frosting over oval-shaped cookies to look like brown headstones and firmly plant them around the cake. (Use a tube of white icing to write RIP on headstones, if desired). Decorate the rest of the cake with ghost marshmallows (or plain marshmallows with brown frosting eyes), mellowcreme pumpkins and other gummy candies.

Serves 16.

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  • Kristine @ Orchard Bliss
    October 27, 2013

    Very simple yet it looks amazing. Will definitely share this one.

  • Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker
    October 28, 2013

    Even though I’m not into Halloween I love this cake

  • alrank
    October 29, 2013

    This is INCREDIBLE! How creative and artistic. I could never come up with something so festive and beautiful. Excellent job, Nicole!

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