This cake by Hannah Wiltshire for Tala makes the perfect birthday cake for a horror movie buff or a wonderful centrepiece for a spooktacular Halloween party!
Make and cover the cake
- Leave 1kg (2lb 2oz) of the ready-to-roll icing uncoloured, then colour 500g (1lb 1oz) bright red and colour small amounts black and three contrasting shades of blue/green. Wrap in clingfilm to stop it drying out.
- Use a cake leveller to split each cake horizontally into two equal layers. Fill each cake with buttercream and jam, lay both cakes on greaseproof paper and chill for a couple of hours to firm up.
- Choose one of the cakes and level the top of the dome slightly with a sharp knife, this will provide a secure flat base for the eyeball and prevent it from rolling around.
- Working on greaseproof paper placed on a large flat item for support (such as a chopping board), spread a small amount of ganache and place the flat base of the eyeball on top. Spread the ganache all over the surface of the cake, making as smooth a crumb coat as possible. Place the other semi-circle cake on top to make a ball shape. Secure in place with ganache and three kebab sticks pushed right through both cakes to pin them together. Cut the sticks to make sure they are not visible. Cover the top cake with ganache so that the entire cake is neatly covered and chill for at least two hours or overnight.
- Prepare the board by rolling out purple ready-to-roll icing onto a surface dusted well with icing sugar. Transfer the icing onto the board and use the rolling pin and cake smoother to smooth it down. Trim off any excess icing and leave the board to one side to dry.
- Remove the cake from the fridge and have a large rolling pin, fondant smoother and sharp knife to hand. Knead 1kg (2lb 2oz) of white ready-to-roll icing until smooth and pliable, roll out to a thickness of 3-5mm (1/8in-¼in) and drape over the cake. Working quickly, smooth the icing onto the cake using your hands and the fondant smoother, trimming away the excess icing and saving a tiny scrap for later.
- Transfer the cake to the board, securing it in place with a splodge of ganache.
Make the iris
- Prepare the coloured marbled iris of the eye by forming small equal-sized sausages of coloured icing, rolling them together lengthways into one big sausage and looping the sausage in half and twisting it. Repeat, then squish the icing into a big ball before rolling out. (You may want to give it another go for a more marbled effect.) Sprinkle plenty of icing sugar on the work surface and roll out the icing into a big pancake. Cut a circle shape (I used the top of a Tala ramekin as a guide) and attach to the cake with a very small amount of cooled, boiled water.
Make the pupil and nerve
- Roll out a smaller circle of black for the pupil and attach in the same way. Then roll a tiny ball of white icing, flatten with your finger and place in the centre of the pupil to make a highlight. Use the remainder of the red icing to model a gory 'optic nerve' (a long sausage or two frayed at one end with a sharp knife) and attach to the cake and board with water. Use red food colouring diluted with a small amount of water to paint a network of red veins around the iris and add some realistic detail to the optic nerve if you wish!
- Attach ribbon or washi tape to the sides of the cake board and serve to your horrified and delighted guests!