My boys are obsessed with Halloween. Whether it’s because of the thought of being allowed to get a major sugar rush all in one day or all the fun and spooky decorations in every store we walk in to, they love it! I think Halloween is cool but I’m more of a Dia De Los Muertos person. I remember growing up in Mexico celebrating this beautiful holiday with delicious bread, traditional clay dishes, flowers and artisan crafts.
Dia De Los Muertos (or Day Of The Dead as it’s known in the United States) is a Mexican holiday in which friends and family gather together to pray for and remember their deceased loved ones. Traditionally the celebration takes place October 31st- November 2nd. People build private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and favorite foods and beverages of the departed. They also visit their graves and leave some of these as gifts along with a few possessions of the deceased.
I wrote a post several years ago showcasing my calavera marshmallow pops and talking about this fun holiday. Well, recently I had the opportunity to partner up with my dream brand, Wilton, and when I was brainstorming ideas of what to make for this season I immediately thought of something for Dia De Los Muertos!
I decided to make simple calavera toppers to decorate cupcakes, cakes and whatever else! These were so super easy to make and fun too.
The ingredients are simple and the techniques are basic. If you know how to play with play dough and draw, then you can totally make these!
First, bust out your favorite cake recipe or cake mix and bake yourself some cupcakes or mini loaf cakes. If you’re not using pan liners, I strongly recommend the Wilton Bake Easy spray. I always use it when baking cakes and other desserts. They come right out of the pan, no mess, no waste!
While the fresh baked cake smell filled the air, I got started on my fondant calaveras. I normally only use homemade marshmallow fondant but I heard of the new Decorator Preferred Fondant by Wilton and I wanted to give it a try. Let me tell you, it tastes good, it is very pliable and extremely convenient.
With my nifty little Wilton 9″ rolling pin and it’s 1/16″ guide ring, I rolled out about a fifth of the fondant in the box. I noticed I didn’t need to use my dusting bag as much as usually but it’s a habit so I still dusted away the silicone mat. I made a total of nine calaveras (8 for my mini loaf cakes and an extra one for a single cupcake).
I used two different size circle cutters to cut out the skull shape.
After letting the plain cut outs dry for two hours, I used my Neon FoodWriter markers to get artsy with each calavera.
I really loved not having to follow a specific pattern or design, I really just had fun with these.
I used the new Wilton Water Brush to attach little Daisy Sprinkles to the calaveras. I cannot tell you how much I LOVED not having to worry about water spills, or overdoing it by getting my fondant too wet. The brush dispensed just the right amount of water needed to attach the sprinkles. Awesome!
Although you could have stopped at this point and just use these calavera toppers as is, I wanted to add a marshmallow base to them to help them stand out on top of my mini loaf cakes. We all know that fondant softens when it comes in touch with frosting because it absorbs it’s moisture so I wanted to make sure my toppers stayed fresh and firm for a longer period of time.
I cut a four Jet-Puffed Jumbo Marshmallows into halves using scissors. I dusted the back of them with cornstarch so they wouldn’t be sticky while I worked with them.
Again, the water brush came to the rescue. I used it to wet the pretty side of the half marshmallow to make it sticky. Once the marshmallow was wet enough (not soaking, just damp) I attached a fondant calavera on top of it. It doesn’t matter in which direction you attach them. You can have the marshmallow in horizontal or vertical position…. did I lose you here? What I’m trying to say it that Jumbo Marshmallows are never perfectly round, they tend to be more oval. You can attach your calavera any way you’d like, it doesn’t really matter.
Above here you can see that some have been attached to horizontal half marshmallows and some to vertical half marshmallows. The one on the top left, was left without a marshmallow base to show you the difference and give you a different use option.
I used a decorating bag to frost my mini loaf cakes with Hershey’s chocolate frosting then I placed a calavera on top and sprinkled a few Bones Sprinkles, Skull Sprinkles and Daisy Sprinkles. And that’s it! Cute, easy and fabulous!!
Feliz Dia De Los Muertos amigas y amigos
Disclaimer: This is a review post for Wilton products that were provided to me at no cost in order to for me to create a recipe/craft. I was not financially compensated and all opinions are genuine and my own. I only endorse and use products that I absolutely love and believe in.