I love Halloween! But I’m much more into the cute side than the gruesome one. Gimme a fat little fieldmouse in a pumpkin costume before a zombie, any day! My favorite Halloween decoration is a popcorn bucket I got at Disneyland years ago. Making a ghost Mickey cake based on it was kind of inevitable!
You’ll need 4 layers of cake, 6” in diameter, and a 6” half sphere (not a full one; you just need the top). You want the finished cake to be about 10” tall. I used alternating layers of chocolate cake and vanilla, that I colored orange. I filled it with cookies and cream buttercream. It looks so Halloween-y! And tastes deee-licious.
other tools you’ll need
- circle cutters
- lollipop sticks
- angled spatula
- white fondant, yellow and orange gel food colors
- black fondant
- rolling pin
- ball tool
- Dresden tool
- oval cutter
The first thing you want to do is the ears, because they need to dry overnight. Roll out some black fondant about 1/4” thick. Cut 2 circles, 2-3/4” diameter and trim them as shown. Round the edges with your fingertips. Slightly moisten two lollipop sticks, and insert them (these will stick into the cake to hold the ears in place).
stack and carve
Cut about 1/4 off of a 6” cake circle…the cake has kind of a flat front. The left photo shows the cardboard against the bottom of the popcorn bucket. Whenever you’re doing a cake shaped like anything, a model of the object is the best thing you can have! Stack and fill your 6” cake layers, ending with your dome…your aim is about 10” in height. Trim the quarter off of each tier as you go. Chill thoroughly.
Round off the edges with a sharp knife (I think a serrated bread knife works best).
Frost with buttercream and chill thoroughly. Add another coat. A piece of those thin plastic cutting mats works great to smooth rounded surfaces. Chill again. Any last knife marks can be rubbed out with your fingers.
make his face
With about 1.4 oz of fondant, make Mickey’s nose shape and attach to the front of the cake. If you want to be sure it’s sturdy, you can use a lollipop stick pushed into the cake at an angle. Roll a bit of fondant into a rope and attach to make his lower lip. You’ll be laying a sheet of fondant over these shapes. With a ball tool, make indentations for his eyes.
Flatten a 3.5 oz ball of yellow fondant into an oval shape and cut at a diagonal. Attach for feet. Chill the cake thoroughly. You want the fondant shapes to be completely cold before the next step.
cover with fondant
Roll out white fondant to about a 16” circle (if you have cake circles or pans that size, they make quick and easy guides). Lay the fondant over the cake. Carefully mold the fondant over the mouth area. If you get pleats that are too big, press them together (try to do this at strategic sites) and cut flush with the cake. Smooth the seam as well as you can. I did this in the front as shown, because the sleeve will hide a lot of this bit. Trim around the bottom.
Use a ball tool to refine the eye shapes. To smooth the surface of the fondant use a pad of fondant in a light circular motion. You can see that for whatever reason my kitchen was humid this day, so the fondant is shiny, which means sticky. In that case, sprinkle cornstarch onto the pad before rubbing it onto the cake. With a sugar shaper, push up at the edges of his mouth to make little cheeks. Chill the cake again.
Cut ovals from black fondant, and gently pull them to stretch into longer and thinner ovals.
Place the ovals and refine the shape with your fingers and ball tool. Roll 0.4 oz of black fondant into a fat teardrop shape for the tip of the nose, and stick onto the end of the lollipop stick. Cut a little half circle out of pink fondant for the tongue.
For his arms, roll 2.8 oz of white fondant into a log, and cut at a diagonal. Flatten out as shown, and place for arms. Chill cake.
make the pumpkin
While the arms are chilling, make the pumpkin. Roll 2.2 oz of orange fondant into a ball, and flatten. Score lines with a Dresden tool. Cut little triangles out of yellow fondant for the eyes and nose. For the mouth, cut a 1-1/2” circle, and make a crescent shape by cutting with the next size up.
Cut a sleeve shape about 6” long and 4” wide. Start at the wrist, turning the piece under and attaching. Lay it along the top of the arm, turning it under as you go. Trim at the back, and smooth.
Smooth the join with a sugar shaper, and make little folds at the wrist with a dresden tool.
Shape balls of fondant into closed hands (he’s holding the handle of the bucket), and make lines for his fingers with a dresden tool.
Roll a bit of black fondant into a rope, and arrange pieces for the handle. Hold up the pumpkin and trim the handle, so the pumpkin is up against the cake. Attach, using a lollipop stick stuck in at an angle to hold it up if necessary.
Stick his ears in, and he’s done! You’ve got the cutest little ghost Mickey cake, ready for trick or treating!