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food

Sugar Skull Cakes

These festive cakes will be the sweetest part of your Día de Muertos celebration.

Ingredients

Cake Batter

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Pink, blue and yellow food coloring

Glaze

  • 6 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water

Steps

Cake Batter

  1. Bake the cakes: Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the vanilla extract, eggs and beat until fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, alternating with the milk. Divide the mixture into 4 bowls and dye the batter pink, blue and yellow, leaving the remaining bowl white. Grease a skull-shaped baking pan and add dollops of the different shades of batter. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Once the cakes have fully cooled, slice any excess cake off the bottom to allow the cakes to sit flat. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack with a sheet of parchment paper placed underneath.
  2. To decorate, pipe the buttercream onto the cakes, being as creative as you like with the patterns and colors (buttercream in a variety of colors — recipe at www.pankobunny.com). Serve and enjoy!

Glaze

  1. Place the confectioner's sugar in a pot. In a separate bowl, combine the corn syrup and water, then add to the sugar and mix well. Set to low heat and attach a candy thermometer to the pot. Cook, constantly mixing, until the mixture reaches 100F. Remove from the heat and pour onto the cakes. If the glaze is thickening too quickly, return it to the heat and heat it just until it reaches your desired consistency. Allow the glaze to set until hard to the touch.