Our nephew, Zoltan, was the only one in the family who had not gotten a special birthday cake yet so I let him choose whatever he wanted.  Clearly, I am not in touch with pop culture or the interests of 14 year old boys so the first few days after he had made his rather morbid wishes known I kept calling it the “Grateful Dead” cake by mistake.  Needless to say,  I was not prepared for this cake and did not think I could pull it off.  It seems I say that about every cake. By the way, lest you think this is my original design, let me give some credit to a cakecentral.com user for the idea. I should also give some credit to my GH (genius husband).  I did not know how I was going to accomplish that “dirty”effect on the door but then he suggested I use cocoa powder . After that, it seemed a much easier task.

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The cake was two layers of 9″x12″x2” chocolate mud cake.  The fantastic recipe was from cakepaperparty.com  and is now my favorite mud cake recipe for fondant cakes — it is rich, moist but sturdy.

I used dark chocolate ganache for the filling and frosting because “Zoli” likes a lot of chocolate in his cake.  I think he was happy although it is hard to glean a lot emotion from a teenage boy.  I did get a gruff “Thanks.”

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I mixed a drop of Americolor black into my red modeling chocolate to get this brick color. Attached pieces to my masonite board with a bit of shortening. I first outlined the cake shape onto the board and started laying pieces of modeling chocolate around the outline.

 

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This is the impression mat I used to create the brick pieces.
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I carved the filled cake to look like an opened book turned face down so each of my sides were about 1 3/4″ high. I used the board-on-top method to ganache the cake but I did one half of the cake at a time. I cover my boards with saran wrap and some tape because it makes it super easy to pull of the boards when the ganache is set. I just cut the saran wrap off the top of the board, pull the cardboard off and peel back the saran wrap to reveal a smooth top.

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I wasn’t super worried about getting the peak perfect because I was going to carve that out anyway.

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I slid the cake onto the board and finished covering the board with my brick pattern.

 

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I had made the “doors” 2 days ahead of time. I experimented with one all MMF door on the left and a 50/50 combo of modeling chocolate and MMF (both with some tylose mixed in) on the right and found that the combo became firm and easier to handle a lot faster.

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Adding definition

 

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Paneled the sides with modeling chocolate

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Added some broken brick pieces
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Groove cut out of the peak for the zombie hands

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Took pieces of gray, flesh tone and tiny pieces of brick red (blood) modeling chocolate and rolled them together for the zombie hands

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I used a silicone mold to make the hands and inserted them into the cake with toothpicks that had a little edible glue on the tips.

To be honest, I felt a little creepy making these hands.  It was Saturday evening and I was thinking to myself,  “I’m going to church tomorrow morning and I’m sitting here making bloody zombie hands.”

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And a chain mold for the doors. The door handles were also attached to the cake with toothpicks.

I sent a picture of the cake to GH at this point and this is the conversation that ensued:

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Version 2
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I used silver luster dust with a little lemon extract over the chain, lock, kickplates and hinges

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And dusted the doors with cocoa powder and a little lemon extract for “dirt”

 

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