Halloween is simply a whole bunch of fun. Kids of all ages look forward to a special night filled with treats of all kinds. There is the treat of putting on a costume and going out looking very different than usual. I typically go for something funny or unique and make homemade Halloween costumes. There is the treat of celebrating and spending time with family and friends. One very special treat is the food prepared for the occasion. I had such fun baking this Chocolate Potato Skull Cake as it was an adventure all its own.
How did this cake adventure begin? The Idaho Potato Commission reached out to Sunday Supper and invited us to make fun and spooky Halloween potato recipes. I was all over it. For whatever reason, a sweet treat popped into my head first. I looked for cookies made with potatoes but the only ones I found were savory and would not be a good candidate for cutout decorated cookies. Then I discovered this awesome skull cake pan, ordered it, and couldn’t wait for it to arrive.
The adventure was going well until decorating time. The cake popped out of the pan flawlessly. My husband suggested I use a vanilla frosting and I agreed. So I whipped up a batch of frosting and went to it. That is when the adventure took a challenging turn. The face kept sliding down. The angle was too much. Multiple bamboo skewers would not hold it in place. A little of the jaw in front broke off. I finally had to slice off a wedge from of the back to make it less of an angle. That did the trick. Frosting patched and covered up the broken jaw. I used a dollop of frosting to secure eyeball gumballs in the eye sockets. I put it on a platter and surrounded it with crushed chocolate graham crackers to look like dirt and scattered more gumballs around it. Total success in the end.
You know what is funny? It almost looks like this cake is covered with mashed potatoes. The Idaho® potato is in the cake and not the frosting. Vanilla buttercream frosting gives an imperfect aged look of a skull and it is also happens to be bone-colored. The cake is moist, rich, chocolate-y and no one will know it has potato in it unless you tell them. I think the potato contributes to the cake’s moistness along with buttermilk.
What food do you make for Halloween? Do you decorate it for the occasion? You have got to check out all the fun and spooky potato recipes my fellow Sunday Supper contributors are sharing. Scroll down to find the list and be prepared to smile and get hungry when you see them. Also look at our Fun and Creepy Halloween Recipes Pinterest board. A very special thanks to my friend Terry who graciously let me borrow her beautiful black platter for the photos.
- 1 large Idaho® russet potato (enough to yield 1 cup mashed potato)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted plus more for dusting pan
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 3 to 4 tablespoons half-n-half
- To decorate if using skull cake pan:
- Eyeball gumballs
- Crushed chocolate graham crackers
- Peel and dice the potato and place in a saucepan. Cover with 1-inch of water. Do not add salt to the water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Drain water. Mash potato until smooth (no lumps!). Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a skull cake pan or 2 9-inch round cake pans. Dust pan(s) with cocoa powder.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Add 1 cup mashed potato and mix to combine. (Reserve any remaining potato for another use if desired).
- Add flour mixture, alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until just combined after each addition (do not over-mix).
- Transfer batter to prepared pan(s), dividing equally and spreading evenly in the pan(s).
- Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. It could be anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the pan used (skull cake pan takes longer). Check every few minutes after 30 minutes of baking time.
- Cool cake in the pan(s) for 10 minutes then remove cake from pan(s) and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Beat butter until creamy. Add vanilla and salt and beat to combine.
- Add confectioners sugar and beat with enough half-and-half to reach desired spreading consistency.
- Spread frosting between cake layers and on sides and top of cake.
- If using skull cake pan, do not spread frosting in the eye or nose indentions or over teeth area. Put a very small dollop of frosting in the center of each eye indention. Press gumball on each dollop of frosting.
- Spread crushed graham crackers on the serving plate around the skull cake. Place more gumballs around the cake.
Recipe adapted from Chocolate Potato Cake on Taste of Home
It’s time to get ready for Halloween! Check out these recipes using Idaho® potatoes you can make for your celebration:
Fun and Spooky Potato Savory Bites:
- A Bowlful of Creepy Crawlies by kimchi MOM
- Bloody Mary Potatoes by The Messy Baker
- Devilish Potato Mummies by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Halloween Baked Potato Skin Pizzas by Alida’s Kitchen
- Jack O’Lantern Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Peppers by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Jalapeno Chili Stuffed Potato Mummies by Feed Me, Seymour
- Loaded Mashed Potato Spider Web Casserole by NeighborFood
- Mashed Potato Grave by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Mashed Potato Monsters by Ruffles & Truffles
- Monster Mash Potatoes by Curious Cuisiniere
- Roasted Potato Eyeballs by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Roasted Potato Graveyard by Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Spooky Halloween Potatoes Graveyard by Clarks Condensed
- Spooky Spiderweb Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes by Rhubarb and Honey
- Stuffed Potato Spiders by Family Foodie
- Twice Baked Potato Graves by Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Twice Baked Potato Mummies Covered with Roaches by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Fun and Spooky Potato Sweet Treats:
- Chocolate Potato Skull Cake by Magnolia Days
- Potato Candy Spiders by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Chocolate Raspberry Ghoulash by Desserts Required
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Disclosures: This post is sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission. All opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon (skull cake pan).