Trying to make a sinister monster eyeball cake for Halloween might sound like a Nailed It! disaster waiting to happen, but it’s not as hard as you think to make a spooky season-appropriate decorative treat to terrify your friends and family. You don’t need any special equipment or a particular set of cake carving skills to do it. You don’t even need a special cake recipe. With only food coloring and a simple pouring technique, you can make a creepy striped eyeball cake using any homemade batter or boxed mix.
Using this method to make a themed cake is particularly wonderful because the cake already is the decoration. The decoration doesn’t just sit on the the outside (in the form of fondant or frosting), but runs throughout the batter, remaining visible when you cut the cake, promising an astounding event for unsuspecting children (and even adults).
This method uses a batch of light-colored cake batter. You can use any cake batter—scratch-made, gluten-free, or Duncan Hines—as long as you stick with vanilla, yellow , or white cake so the food dye shows up vividly.
Make the batter as directed. Remove two portions—a 1-cup portion, and a 1/2-cup portion. These smaller amounts are mixed with food coloring in separate bowls. You will end up with a total of three bowls of batter, each one a different color. You can use whatever colors work for your design. I left the large portion of batter the original vanilla color, the second largest amount I colored red, and the smallest amount I colored black. (Evil eyeballs have to be a little red, but you can add green or yellow for an acceptably monstrous or infected-looking cake.)
Pour the largest quantity of batter into a prepared cake pan. No tricks, just pour it in like normal. Pour the next largest quantity of batter—the red batter in my cake—directly in the center; do not move it around as you pour. Pouring the batter in a pile in the center will allow the batter to naturally settle into a nearly perfect circle, and displace the original batter by pushing it out toward the edges of your cake pan. Pour the final color directly into the center again; as before, the other colors will be pushed out toward the edge. The result is a bullseye pattern that extends through the entire thickness of the cake. Bake as the recipe or package instructs.
Once the cake is cooled, you can decorate as you please. I enhanced the spookiness of my cake with frosting to make an eerie Halloween monster eye, but you can leave it completely unadorned; placed alongside the rest of your holiday treats, it will be plenty creepy enough as it. If you want to add frosting (because what’s cake without a little frosting?), use it along the edges to make unsettling eyelids to accent your design. Although it’s the season for disembodied eyeballs, you can experiment with this technique any time of year. Use multiple colors to create captivating striped cakes that will suit any season.
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