Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday Cake

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He also ordered a variety of food that had been tainted to make it stronger, and therefore more likely to be possible for ghosts to taste. This food included large, rotten fish on handsome silver platters, cakes burned charcoal-black, heaped on salvers, maggoty haggis, mouldy cheese, and, in pride of place, an enormous grey cake in the shape of a tombstone, which had his name and date of death written on it in tar-like frosting.


Disclaimer: I am awful at cake decorating, particularly writing on cakes. It looks like a 5 year old made it or a ghost who isn’t particularly corporeal!

Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington died on October 31st 1492 and here’s a cake to celebrate his 500th deathiversary. I made this cake using magic, or just straight up cheating, really. It’s a soda cake made with a box cake mix and canned frosting. Vegan versions of Duncan Hines cake mix and Pillsbury frosting are pretty easy to find in the grocery store. Many of the brands have no animal ingredients. What’s a soda cake, you ask? Well, you just take a 12 ounce can or bottle of soda and mix it into your cake mix, skipping the oil and there’s no need for an egg substitute. The cake comes out a little more crumbly, but it’s still moist and tastes pretty much the same. Plus, no measuring. I used a black cherry soda, but it seems like you can’t really taste the soda very much, so you could probably even use seltzer.

Bake the cake in a 13×9″ pan at 350 degrees for 35-35 minutes. Let it cool and then transfer it to a cookie sheet or whatever platter you have that will hold the cake. I found that it was easier to put it in the freezer overnight before trying to cut it into the tombstone shape.

Then I added some black food color gel to the frosting in the can. Add only a teeny tiny bit. If you add too much it will turn totally black. That stuff is potent! I did a quick crumb coat so the cake wouldn’t get too messy and stuck it back in the freezer for about half an hour. Next, I coated the whole cake in tombstone-gray colored frosting and stuck it back in the freezer for another 20 minutes or so. Lastly, I added some extra black food color to the frosting to make it darker and wrote on it using the plastic baggie with a frosting tip “technique.” as you can see it makes for some beautiful, ghostly writing. *sarcasm*

You can also add some black food color to the cake if you want to make it black.  Don’t do what I tried to do initially and add a bunch of black cocoa powder to the cake without compensating with extra sugar unless you like your cake to be bitter!

This was fun and really pretty easy using all cake mix and canned frosting.

nearly headless nick

10 thoughts on “Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday Cake”

    1. Nope! it’s a little more crumbly than normal, so maybe a tablespoon or 2 of oil would help that? but it’s not totally necessary. it works really well as cupcakes, too!

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