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Halloween Vampire Bat Cake

When my boys were young they were Cub Scouts. Their Cub Scout Pack was quite large and there were always a variety of activities they were involved in. My husband was a den leader and took care of most of the Cub Scout support functions but once in a while they called on me to help.

More often than not my help involved something in the kitchen. I sometimes prepared snacks for their weekly meeting at our house. I also made a dish for the annual Blue and Gold dinner. And sometimes there were other events that called for a special treat from the kitchen, like a cake for the October cake auction.

No problem. I have always loved making cakes. When I was a little girl I would watch my mother make fabulous birthday cakes that looked so good I could hardly stand to wait for the party to eat them. I remember her making cakes shaped and decorated like a dog and a lamb and, one time, even Humpty Dumpty.

When I was a little older I made cakes with my Aunt. She was always trying recipes and baking something. She decided to try cake decorating and ordered a cake decorating set from Wilton. After that we enjoyed looking through the Wilton catalog and dreaming of the cakes we might make.

I have such fond memories of those cakes that I continued to get the “Wilton Yearbook of Cake Decorating” for years. When my son told me that he needed a cake for a cake auction I immediately pulled out some old catalogs and started looking for ideas of what I could make. In the 1988 Wilton Yearbook I found just the thing on page 80, a cake decorated to look like a cute Vampire Bat. It didn’t require anything too fancy, just an 8 inch round chocolate cake layer and a custard cup sized cupcake, some icing, a decorating bag and a couple of decorating tips. I thought I could pull it off.

I made the cake and it turned out to be a great experience all around. I sent it off to the auction with the guys and they came home happy. The Cub Scout Pack made some money on the cake when it was put in the live auction and sold for a good amount. What's more, I felt appreciated and learned that a cake doesn’t have to be really complicated to be really cute. If you’d like to try making one of your own here’s how you do it…

Vampire Bat Cake

Prepare the batter as directed for Less-Mess Chocolate Cake mixing it in an 8 inch round pan.

Following step 4, when the batter is mixed but before you put it in the oven, scoop enough batter into a custard cup to fill it about half way. (I used somewhere between 1/3 and ½ cup of batter to fill the custard cup I used.)

Place both the 8 inch round pan and the custard cup filled with batter in the oven on the center rack. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. The cupcake will take approximately 20 minutes while the 8 inch cake will take approximately 35 minutes. Remove each from the oven when done.

Let both cakes cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Remove from pans and let rest on the wire rack until cool.

Meanwhile prepare a cake board. Cut a sturdy piece of cardboard to approximately a 16.5 x 8 inch rectangle. Tear a strip of foil longer than the cardboard. Cover the cardboard with the foil turning the edges onto the back and taping them in place.

When the cake is cool cut the 8 inch round cake in half. Position the two halves side by side with the rounded edges together at their ends to form the bats wingspan. The cupcake will sit on top of the cake where the wings come together to form the bat’s head.

Prepare the frosting. While any frosting that is suitable for piping will work I chose to use Mexican Hot Chocolate Frosting to give the bat a little taste of fire. I adapted the recipe to better work for what I needed to decorate the cake as follows:

Modified Mexican Hot Chocolate Frosting
adapted from this recipe at the Food Network

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (or a mixture of ground chipotle and ancho chile powders)
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Beat cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and mix well.

Add the confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Continue mixing until the frosting is fluffy and spreadable.

Remove 1 ½ cups of frosting and tint it orange, if desired.

In a medium bowl combine the chile powder, cinnamon, espresso powder, salt, vanilla and cocoa powder. Add this mixture to the remaining frosting and continue mixing until incorporated. Add a little milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed, until the frosting is a consistency suitable for piping.

Use the orange frosting (or white or whatever color you choose) to frost the sides of the bat cake and at least the lower half, along the straight edge, of the wings.

Note: This cake can be very crumby. For that reason I first iced my cake with a thin layer of frosting.

The crumbs were caught in the first layer and a second layer of orange icing on top of the first looked more even and showed only a few dark crumbs.

Mark the scallops in the bat's wings by using a 3 - 3.5 inch diameter drinking glass or teacup turned upside down and gently pressed into the icing evenly along the straight edge of the bat’s wings.

Fit a decorating bag with a round tip, I used a #6, and fill the bag with the chocolate frosting. Pipe an outline over the scalloped markings and around the rounded side of the wings to outline the edges.

Use the same tip to pipe a dotted border at the bottom edge of the cake, if desired.

Change to a star tip, with a size #17 or larger opening, and fill in the area of the wings.

Position the Bat’s Head cupcake on top of the cake, where the wings come together. Using the grass or hair decorating tip, #233, cover the cupcake with frosting.

With a separate pastry bag filled with a small amount of orange or white frosting and fitted with a round tip (or Ziploc baggie filled with a few tablespoons of frosting and with the lower ¼ inch of the corner trimmed away) pipe ears and fangs as in the picture.

For eyes, place orange M&Ms or Reeses’ Pieces on the bat’s head and dot with chocolate icing for pupils. Or, if you prefer, make edible googly eyes like I did by following Stef's directions at Cupcake Project. I made mine with cacao nibs for the loose bit and a little piece of an Ooz'n Eyeballz Cherry Candy Ooze bloodshot marshmallow eyeball from my Halloween Candy Cauldron for the backing.

Happy Halloween!


Anonymous said...

I vant to suck the blood--oops, frosting--off that cake! Adorable. I can't believe all the work that went into it! The finished product looks amazing, though, and glad it was a success!

Anonymous said...

I bet your bat cake was the hit of the auction. What ghoulie and ghostie wouldn't love it!

Susan Voisin said...

That's absolutely beautiful! And scary, too, of course--a piece of Halloween art.

Stef said...

I'm love this cake!! It's just so adorable and creative!

grace said...

that's amazing, lisa--it actually looks furry! and the kicker is that it'd be delicious too--lovely recipe and idea!

Theresa said...

I love the Bat cake. It looks like fun to make. Also the side-bar pictures are so great. The food looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

I need a cake for the cake bake too-actually I need two, I'm sure this was a beautiful entry!

Robin Sue said...

What an adorable cake. You are such a good cake decorator! My mom cake decorates so I understand all the work involved. Your frosting sounds terrific too!

Cathy said...

Hi Lisa - I've tagged you and left an award for you on my site. I enjoy your postings so much. Stop by when you have a minute to pick up your award.

eatme_delicious said...

Wow what an awesome looking cake!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! That looks amazing.

Ivy said...

How adorable. And so profesh-looking too. Niiice. :)

Anonymous said...

My son wanted a bat birthday cake- well, he is 7 after all, and I looked for a design- your won hands down ! The cake is cooking in the oven as we speak I can't wait to make it !

Mel said...

My son just requested a bat cake for his fifth birthday next week. I googled an idea and up came your site. Lifesaver! I'll totally be using this idea. Thank you!

Susan M said...

I just made this cake and it was a huge hit! Thank you for the idea. Also want to thank you for the very detailed instructions. It made it so simple to do!!!

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for this post. My soon to be 5 year old has a birthday coming up and she loves bats . We are doing a bat themed birthday and since it is so unusual and I don't want to pay upwards of 100-200 dollars for a cake, this is amazing !!

Coco Cake Land said...

This is SO CUTE!!! The best bat cake I've seen on the internet! ^__^

Lisa said...

Thanks, Lyndsay. Glad you stopped by!

dong said...