Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tarantula Cake

In honor of the traditional Cake Walk that occurs during one or two Halloween Carnivals this time of year, I wanted to donate a cake for those kids who enjoy both the spooky and sweet part of this holiday. I had a lot of fun creating this cake. I basically took a photo of a Tarantula and went to work. I admit, it still looks animated more than realistic but hey, it was my first try. My nephew actually thought I was creating one of the spiders that is on the game Mind Craft, but I needed to put a few more red eyes. This was all for fun really, so I thought I would tell you all how I did it.

 Hope you enjoy!


You can use any cake recipe you'd like and make it in a bunt pan. I like to use this quick and easy recipe that I got from my friend Stephanie Ashcraft, who is the author of 
"101 things to do with a Cake Mix":

Death By Chocolate Cake
3/4 cup Sour Cream (I like to use all natural whole)
4 eggs
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of oil (I use light Olive Oil or Canola)
1 chocolate cake mix (It works with Gluten-Free also)
1 small box of instant chocolate pudding ( I like to use Trader Joe's Instant Chocolate Pudding)
1 cup of chocolate chips (it recommends semisweet but, I went with milk chocolate this time)

Pre-heat oven @ 350 degrees
Beat sour cream, eggs, water, and oil together in large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Add cake mix and pudding mix. Stir in chocolate chips.
For a bunt cake:
Place batter in a greased and floured bunt pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a fork inserted into cake comes out clean.

While the cake is cooling, start the rice crispy mix. You can make this anyway you'd like. I like to do mine on the stove top. For the this way of making rice crispy mix, click here.


Because I was taking this to a party, I folded some aluminum foil over a sturdy piece of cardboard for my cake plate.

After the cake cools, dig out the middle so that you have enough to fill it with a ball of rice crispy mix.

Make another ball for the head. To support the head, I used a bamboo skewer.

I'd like to say that you could use any kind of frosting, but I have come across recipes that are meant for cookies rather than cakes because they are not as strong. So, if it is a cake-like frosting, you are in business.

I used the Better Homes and Garden Frosting listed below for the frosting:

1 cup shortening (I normally don't use Shortening, but in my experience, it is easy to work with when molding) 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (Use clear Vanilla for a whiter frosting)
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
3 - 4 tablespoons milk

In a medium mixing bowl beat shortening, vanilla, and extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar and enough remaining milk to reach spreading consistency. Makes about 3 cups.

  1. I frosted the rice crispy mix first with my fingers that were wet with water. That way I could mold the frosting all over while creating a body for my tarantula. Yes, the body of the tarantula looks yellow compared to the frosting on the cake. I had some leftover butter cream frosting I used in this photo. 
  2. Then, I frosted the cake with the white frosting. 
  3. Next, I created the tarantula's black body by adding a few drops of black food coloring* to the rest of the icing, along with a half case of crushed Oreo crumbs.This created a lumpy texture to the frosting. With wet fingers again, I molded the black lumpy clay-like frosting all over the body and molded legs by rolling them out and pressing them into the body and white frosting to attach them.  
*If you don't have black food coloring, I have used blue food coloring and added cocoa powder to make it a black'ish chocolate frosting. Plus the Oreos help with the color too.

For the details on the tarantula, I took Hot Jaw Breakers for eyes and candy corns to look like fangs. The finished result (in the photo at the top of this post) I added some molded pedipalps out of the black frosting to surround the fangs.  

Finally, I sprinkled some black sprinkles to resemble a harrier specimen. I should have done that to the legs as well.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

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