Dish of the Day: Lily Vanilli’s recipe for making a human brain cake
I was recently asked to make the cake for an all out super-themed zombie wedding, complete with bride and groom in full prosthetics, zombie mariachi band and undead priest. The centrepiece was to be a 1.5m tall traditional wedding cake, with lilies and snow peas and lots of royal icing, capped with a life-sized human brain pierced through with a shard of pink sugar glass and the whole thing drenched in blackcurrant and raspberry coulis ‘blood’. Which is actually not so unusual a request for my bakery.
For those of you who’ve ever wondered, here’s how to make a human brain cake:
Make up a one third size batch of Red Velvet cake, baked in a 6” round cake pan.
Allow to cool completely.
Wilton gel food colour in: Ivory, Copper & Pink
A batch of mixed berry coulis or some red berry jam.
A clean paint brush.
Cut the cake into 2 even parts, and carve gently to form the shape of the two cerebral hemispheres (left and right sides of the brain). I just worked from a picture of a brain on Google images.
Knead just the smallest dab of each of the colourings into the marzipan until its evenly coloured (I find this combination makes the best brain colour, but it would look pretty convincing still if you just used the pink).
Roll out half of the marzipan until it forms an oval 4mm thick. Cut this into even 2 pieces and wrap your brain hemispheres until they’re completely coated.
Now roll the remaining marzipan into rounded strips of differing lengths but with around a 8mm diameter.
Attach these to the brain using just a brush of the coulis (this will be enough to secure them in place).
Form the strips into ‘lobes’ – again, use a real brain as your guide or the image above.
Brush a little coulis between the gaps as you wish. The bloodier the better (and tastier).
Dear scientists, zombies and all children under 12: Disclaimer: Please excuse me, I’m aware this is a very crude representation of the human brain. It is a tasty cake though.
Notes on working with Marizipan: If you’re having trouble kneading you can blast it in the microwave for just a few seconds, or leave it somewhere warm, its will soften up. Always wrap marzipan airtight if you are going to leave it out for any period or it will dry out and crack.
Lily is also running the world’s first agony aunt baking column: “Recovering from a Bad Bake-up”. Send in your baking disaster stories of unexpected failures in the kitchen/recurring problems to email@example.com
On the third Friday of the month we will feature a Q&A with advice to help you recover.
Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth is available from Cannongate books, 2012
Follow Lily on Twitter @lilyvanillicake
For more information visit lilyvanilli.com
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