My son is turning 28 (ouch) and I wanted to make something fun for his birthday. It’s hard when your child isn’t a little kid anymore but you still want to do something crazy. Last year I did a grown up version of a pirate theme for his birthday. It was a big hit! I was thinking about doing something like that again (had something crazy in my head) but I didn’t want to do the same theme. He and his fiance’ (like so many others) love watching The Walking Dead TV series. And since I don’t get to do that much for Halloween (besides for making 1000 cookies and candies) I thought that would be a great theme.
I started with my schematic of the cake. I wanted to keep it simple since I’m going to have a lot to go with it but still be fun! I’ll do a grave with a tombstone with a Zombie hand coming out.
I started with making the hand. I made a batch of Rice Krispies treats and fashioned the shape of the hand. To keep the taste yummy I dipped the hand in melted chocolate. Fondant is easier to work with but no one likes the taste of it. You always find it pulled off the cake and getting thrown out. I needed to make a tombstone, too. One batch of Rice Krispie treats worked perfectly for both the hand and the tombstone. I used one section for the hand, one for the tombstone and the last for the stand.
I cut out my treats to use for my hand and tombstone.
I shaped the hand on some wax paper then put that over a small bowl to get my fingers to curl.
Then I melted a whole bag of white chocolate melts in a microwave bowl for one minute, stirred and microwaved another 30 seconds. I added 10 neon green chocolate melt pieces and 1 piece of black chocolate melt to get the creepy undead color I needed (true color doesn’t show as much in this picture). I placed my Rice Krispie hand (with the small bowl and wax paper) in a glass bowl and I spooned the chocolate coating over as much surface as I could get. I placed that in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes.
I removed my hand from the freezer and used a parring knife to remove my excess chocolate. To keep the chocolate from melting while holding it in my hot little hands I used a paper towel to hold while craving. I put the excess chocolate into my bowl with the remaining undead colored chocolate and remelted. Then I spooned the chocolate on the underside of the hand and back in the freezer.
With a parring knife I started to carve out knuckles and shape my fingers better. I had some grey chocolate melted to use for the tombstone so I took some of that to make the fingernails.
When I got my hand “Zombiefied” I took some red and brown edible dust and brush areas to show the grooves in the hand better and to look dead and dirty!
Now to the tombstone. With the other 2 pieces of my Rice Krispies treats I shaped a small tombstone and base to fit on the cake. Using white melted chocolate with about 10 pieces of black chocolate to get a grey color I covered my 2 pieces. Once that set I carved some details to look cracked and, of course, RIP on it. I took some brown edible dust and worked that into the cracks and words to age it and show the details better. I brushed the rest of the tombstone to make it look more like aged.
Then I took some of my grey chocolate and “glued” my 2 pieces together.
I took some wooden skewers and inserted them into the bottom. This will help keep the 2 pieces together and help keep the tombstone secure when inserted into the cake. I cut these shorter when it was time to fit into my cake.
I wanted to add some ivy to look like it was growing on the tombstone. I took green melted chocolate with a few pieces of milk chocolate to darken the color a little and microwaved in a ziplock bag for 1 minute, kneaded the bag then microwaved another 30 seconds. I cut a small tip off one corner and piped the vine around the tombstone. Then taking a small clip I folded the cut corner and clipped it closed. Then I cut the other corner of the bag inwards and piped on the leaves. By cutting the corner inwards (as shown) it will give a ruffled effect instead of a line or dot. Just squeeze slowly and pull then stop squeezing and finish pulling to get a point on the leaves.
You can leave it like this but I like add a little dimension so, when the chocolate was set, I gave the leaves a light dusting with brown edible dust. The pictures never show the details but it makes the leaves look a little more real.
Now to work on the cake. I used a sheet pan and baked my cakes according to directions. You can use any cake for this since it will all be covered. I used German Chocolate for one layer and white cake for the other layer. I made 2 each since I needed to make a big cake. I place the 2 white cakes on the bottom, covered those with coconut pecan frosting then added my German Chocolate cake on top. I shaved the tops to make the cake even.
I dyed some coconut green to use for the grass.. I put coconut in a ziplock bag and added my green food coloring (moss) and knead the bag till all the coconut is coated. I used the same moss food color to tint my frosting. Cover the sides and a little of the top edge of the cake with green frosting and pat on the tinted coconut. Milk chocolate frosting will go in the middle to be the grave. Crushed Oreo cookies (with the cream filling removed) for the dirt and a little raw sugar as gravel (save a little dirt to use later). Fill in the middle with chocolate frosting and carefully add the “dirt”.
Now add the Zombie hand. Wedge the hand into the dirt hiding the end. Take some of the reserved dirt on sprinkled on the hand, brushing off any excess if needed.
You can add other things like chocolate or fondant leaves or bugs to your cake if you want. I wanted to make a few dried leaves to put around the grave. I took some melted chocolate in a ziplock bag and squeezed a nickle sized dot onto some wax paper. Then, taking a toothpick, I pulled from the middle outwards making the points of my leaves. You can do any design since Mother Nature gives us lots to chose from. I slipped a bunched-up dishtowel under my leaves so I could curl up my edges to keep my leaves from being flat. I start by putting my chocolate on wax paper on a flat surface then, when it’s almost set, slip the dishtowel underneath. That keeps the chocolate from running.
And just to add a little something more, after my leaves were set I gave them a dusting of red and yellow edible dust. Just before I put them on the cake I’ll give them a gentle brushing to remove the excess dust. I’ll place these around the “grave” for fun.
Now I just had to add my tombstone and chocolate leaves. I had some edible blood (Corn syrup, red food color and a little chocolate syrup) but I liked the way the hand looked without it. Plus, I wanted to let my son take the hand and tombstone home and edible blood is very sticky, but it’s fun to add if you want to.
Another thing I saw was putting a red velvet cupcake into a mason jar, add frosting and red syrup (I used some of my edible blood) and adding stickers. I thought that would be a fun way to decorate the table plus everyone can take a few jars home.
I made my stickers and printed onto printable mailing labels and cut them out. One for the top and one for the front of the jar.
I baked some red velvet cupcakes and let cool. Then removed the wrapper and place one cupcake in each jar. Then put some cream cheese frosting in a pastry bag with a round tip and squeeze on top of the cupcake making wiggly brain shapes. I drizzled on my “blood” then seal the jars. You can see the blood on the brains looking at the back of the jar.
And I had to make a great card for my son. Since my theme is The Walking Dead I Googled that and found some great pictures to use in my card. I have a sweatshirt as one of his gifts with the “Don’t Open, Dead Inside” logo on it. I wanted to use that as the front of the card. I found another picture that worked out great for the inside and added my silly messages.
I got some Zombie gifts, too.
I took the cookie jar and baked some chocolate chip cookies with a little green food color. Then squeezed some melted red chocolate over the cookies to look like they are bleeding. While the chocolate was still wet I added some candied “bones” on the red chocolate. Those were placed in a large ziplock bag to keep fresh and into the cookie jar. The box the cookie jar came in was great so I just left it unwrapped.
The decanter was filled with Jack Daniels and tied with some bloody gauze I found at the Dollar Tree.
The other zombie head will be a gift, too, but I’ll use that as part of my table decoration. We all love sugar coated pecans. I thought they would look kinda “brainy” coming out of the top. We can munch on those during the party then Brandon can take it home when he leaves.
I always like to give a gift card, too! And, presentation is everything, of course. I have this template to make a pumpkin box…
…but had to make it go with the rest of my stuff…so I Zombified that, too!
Just had to print on card stock, cut out, add the gift card and tie it up! I printed this larger on tabloid (11 x 17) card stock. On regular paper a credit card would fit but gift cards come in larger packaging so I need more room. I took one of my great bloody-print napkins to used as tissue paper to wrap the gift card and put in my box.
Now, ain’t she purdy!!
I liked this idea so I made some in the regular sized paper (8.5 x 11) with a different picture and printed on heavy card stock to put some candies in them to go on the table. Just something else to let people take home with them.
I need to make some candy to put in my little gift boxes. I have some candy molds of little quarter-sized brains. I took some white chocolate and melted them in a ziplock bag for 1 minute, kneaded the bag then microwaved for another 30 seconds. I filled my candy molds about half way with melted white chocolate. Then I took some Craisins and put about 4 in each mold. I used the tip of a knife and pushed the Craisins down into the chocolate so some of the red color would show through. This will give the brains a bloody look. I tapped my candy mold on the counter to settle the chocolate. Then filled the molds with more white chocolate and tapped to settle and remove any air bubbles.
Those went into the freezer for about 15-20 minutes then I popped them out onto wax paper.
I took 4 candied brains and placed them in a clear candy wrapper. I used the kind you put pretzel rods in. I just cut off the excess length of the bag and tape it closed. They were the perfect fit for my little box.
All those were tied up and finished. Now I have some more cute…well, not cute, but fun favors!
I also had some brain shaped candy molds that were about the size of a half dollar. (I know, I just can’t STOP!) They had the cut outs to insert a stick. The sticks I had were thicker and longer then regular candy sticks but I cut them shorter and they worked just fine. I took some neon green chocolate melts and added a few black chocolate melts to get a less-bright color. I microwaved these in a ziplock bag and cut a tip off one corner. I filled the mold about 1/3 full. Then I took some red melted chocolate and squeezed a large dot on top. Using a toothpick I scraped the red into the mold. I wanted to have that bloody-veiny look in my brains.
I tapped the mold on my counter top to make sure all the grooves were filled with chocolate and removed any access bubbles. I added my sticks and more green chocolate to secure the stick.
These went into the freezer for about 15-20 minutes. When they were set I placed them on wax paper to come to room temperature.
These were then slipped into small candy bags and tied with a little piece of raffia.
I took some images I found when I Googled The Walking Dead and made some wrapping paper. I used this to wrap a video game…The Walking Dead video game, of course.
And I wrapped it up and tied it up! It’s a simple thing to do but makes it great to go with all the other thing!! Like my Mama always sez…”Presentation, presentation, presentation!!”
I had more gifts so I made another card…
…and printed it on heavy card stock and used sticky dots to stick to a black bag!
And we never forget our Grand-dog, Champ!! I had to make a doggie bag for him with doggie treats. I made a card and used sticky dots to place on the front of a bag!!
Everything is done and just have to get the food together! The menu is going to be Bloody Eyeballs (Deviled eggs with Black Olives), Zombie Fingers (bread sticks with almond fingernails with marinara dipping sauce), Cockroaches (chocolate dipped whole dates), Brains (shrimp mold), Brain Dip with body parts (Dip with radish/green olive eyes, skull carved mushrooms, carrot/almond slices fingers, etc), Zombie Face (Tuna Pate), more brains (sugar pecans) since brains are Zombie’s favor foods and chips and dips in an large eyeball serving dish.
Happy Birthday, Brandon!! I love you as much as I love doing this for you (and you know that’s a LOT!!) Well, I love you more but you know I love this stuff!!