I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it every Halloween. I’m not one for gore. AT. ALL. Life is stressful enough. I don’t understand stressful entertainment. My preference is for the creepy-cute side of Halloween. That’s why my skeleton cake is exactly 0% lifelike or accurate. After making my Voodoo Doll Cake I thought it would be fun to whip up two more fun Halloween projects using the same pan, this little guy and my mummy cake. I had ideas for so many more, but just didn’t have the time – a scarecrow, vampire, Frankenstein, a witch, etc. I’m not usually a fan of shaped pans, but this one is pretty versatile.
I’m also going to go ahead and classify this skeleton cake as an #easyassheetcake project along with the Voodoo Doll and Mummy. No carving, minimal piping, and the pan does most of the work. I’d say it qualifies!
How to Make a Simple Skeleton Cake
My supply list contains some affiliate links, because that’s how people on the internet make money. We live in the future!
- Gingerbread man cake pan
- Half batch of Black Velvet Cake batter (or any half batch cake batter recipe)
- Cooking spray
- Extra all-purpose flour for the pan
- 2 batches American Buttercream
- Black gel food coloring
- Offset icing spatula
- Piping bags
- Large cake icer tip (optional)
- Large round piping tip (optional)
- Red fruit roll-up
Make the Cake
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray and flour the sides and bottom of the gingerbread man pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake, rotating the pan’s position halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs clinging to it, about 25-30 minutes. Bake times may vary depending on your oven. Always check for doneness first.Transfer the cake to a rack to cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a cake board or platter. Let the cakes cool complete before frosting, filling, or storing. You can make the cake up to a day in advance and store it wrapped at room temperature or in the fridge.
Prep the Cake
When the cake has cooled, apply a thin crumb coat layer of the vanilla buttercream. Don’t worry if any cake shows through. It’ll all get covered up later.
Scoop about 2 cups of buttercream into a small bowl and tint it with the black gel coloring. Spread the black buttercream over the top surface of the cake, don’t worry about frosting the sides. Reserve a small amount of the black for piping the skull features.
Pipe the Bones
Fill a piping bag fitted with the large round tip with vanilla buttercream. Pipe the outline of the skull and fill it in with the buttercream. You’ll notice in the video that I thought for half a second that I’d be able to pipe the white and leave the black showing through the eye and nose holes. It just didn’t look right to me. Piping on the facial details later worked much better, but try it whatever way you prefer. Smooth the piped lines over with a small offset icing spatula.
Pipe a few thin lines for the vertebrae and a longer line under them for some other kind of bone. I’m not a biologist and I’m not googling skeletons, #sorrynotsorry. Pipe the ribs coming out from that longer bone. Add two little butterfly wing shaped thingies as…hip bones. Then add a few more vertebrae and connect the hip bones, because I’m pretty sure we couldn’t walk if our pelvis wasn’t connected? Pipe leg bones and arm bones. Only one in each limb, because gingerbread men don’t have elbows or knees. Then add some dots between the arm bones, because it looks cute. To pipe a bone (something about that sounds really wrong) start by piping one tear drop, then another to the side of it, overlapping the points. Pipe a straight line down from there and then another heart, but upside down.
Fill another piping bag with the rest of the black buttercream. Snip a pencil-eraser-sized opening and use it to pipe the facial details. Pipe a thin line for the mouth and smaller lines across it to form the teeth. Pipe an upside down heart for the nose and two egg-shaped holes for the eyes. If you are as disinterested in accurately depicting human anatomy as I am, just google “cute skeleton” or “kawaiii skeleton” for inspiration.
Make the Heart
Unroll the red fruit roll-up. If your fruit roll-up has markings or tongue tattoos, wipe them away with a damp paper towel. Leave the plastic on and flip the roll-up over. Draw a heart on the plastic and cut the heart out with a pair of kitchen scissors.
Peel the plastic off the back of the heart and add it to your little cutie’s rib cage. The heart goes on the left side in most humans.