Creepy Cake N Bake: Red Velvet Cardiac Event

As many of you already know, I enjoy baking.

I also enjoy 80s horror movies, 90s horror movies, other horror movies that didn’t come out in those decades, and anything by George A. Romero.

So when Dawn and Stacey asked if I wanted to join their epic Halloween baking contest of deliciousness, creepiness, and prizes for you guys, there was nothing to say but Absolutely!

And now, I present to you—the culmination of my efforts!

still life with kidney

The ladies have asked me to share a little bit about how I approached this endeavor. So, first you will need:

instruments closeup

Yeah, I’m just messing with you.*

What I used:

supplies 2

(Really. I promise.)

Even though they look viscous and totally gory, these babies are (fairly) harmless.

I started with some super-jumbo red velvet cupcakes. I had to trim heavily to make the kidney, but the heart is just one lone giant cupcake, laid gently on its side.

The cream cheese frosting is sweeter than the traditional version because I needed it to have some body in order to model the arteries, so I wound up with a kind of cream cheese/fondant hybrid. It’s almost as pliable as fondant, but it tastes much, much better.**

To compensate for the sweetness of the frosting, I made the sauce by throwing some frozen sour cherries in a saucepan with a splash of water and barely any sugar and then cooking them down until I had a nice syrup. I poured the syrup through a wire strainer to filter out the big chunks, but as you can see, it still has a little bit of texture to it. It’s purpler than I’d been hoping for, but very delicious. If I made it again, I think I’d add a cup of raspberries and see if that helped the color.

But this is all very fussy and Food-Network and not the fun part.

So, let’s look at that heart again!

heart on the table 2

low view

heart closeup

It’s important to note that this—what you see here—this happened because my husband was away on a business trip and if further proof was ever needed that I should not be left to my own devices . . . the Red Velvet Cardiac Event is probably it.

To be fair, it might have happened even if he’d been home. While he can be quite a stabilizing influence on me, he is rarely a deterrent to my various strange behaviors. Also, he totally knew what he was getting into when he married me.

Just to be safe though, I gave him fair warning. Because I try very hard to be a considerate person.

My email, reproduced in its entirety:

Just a heads up . . .

If you were to come home tomorrow and then you were to open the refrigerator and you were to find a human heart, it would be because I’m trying to win a creepy Halloween baking contest, and not because I am a secret serial killer.

D’s response—again, in its entirety:

RE: Just a heads up . . .

That’s exactly what a secret serial killer would say.

See? He loves me!

Now, the part that actually benefits you—the part about the prizes!

The Creepy Cake N Bake-a-Thon is ON! Vote for your favorite entry by commenting below. You can comment on EVERY Cake N Bake post, one entry per post, for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate from Barnes and Noble or an official Creepy Cake N Bake doll!

**Please include your email in order to be entered to win.**

Trophies will be awarded on Halloween for the top creeptastic creations. Winners will be chosen by our special Celebrity Judge, Adam Rex, author of such deliciously creepy creations such as FAT VAMPIRE, FRANKENSTEIN TAKES THE CAKE, FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH, and PSSST!

Check the list of contestants and their post dates so you don’t miss any of the fun:

Mon Oct. 3 – Saundra Mitchell
Wed Oct 5 – Stacey Jay
Friday Oct 7 – Erin Dionne
Saturday Oct 8 – Sydney Salter
Mon Oct 10 – Brenna Yovanoff
Wed Oct 12 – Tara Hudson
Friday Oct 14 – Karen Healey
Saturday Oct 15 – Robin Bridges
Mon Oct 17 – Michelle Zink
Wed Oct 19 – Julia Karr
Friday Oct 21 – Victoria Schwab
Saturday Oct 22 – C.Lee McKenzie
Sunday Oct 23 – E. Kristin Anderson
Mon Oct 24 – Natalie Zaman
Wed Oct 26 – Stephanie Burgis
Friday Oct 28 – Dawn Metcalf

*Or am I?

**So, delicious, and not at all like bafflingly sweet cardboard shaped like flowers.

84 thoughts on “Creepy Cake N Bake: Red Velvet Cardiac Event

  1. TOTALLY GAGGED. Also, I almost clicked away before reading that it was a cake – you just brought back all my nightmares of fetal pig dissection week from a decade and a half ago (I got sick enough times in class that I was excused from biology until the smell of formaldehyde went away, haha)

    And I had to read it twice to make sure that really is cake you’ve got there. Wow, I am so, so, so impressed. Also, I don’t think I could ever take a bite of a cake like that unless I was blindfolded :D Good luck!!

    • I almost clicked away before reading that it was a cake

      I thought about this exact issue all morning—I really did! When I originally conceived of the cake, the main objective was for it to look real. But I just didn’t expect it to come out looking so … real.

      It really is delicious, though. The cherry sauce kind of ties it together, even though it looks way too repulsive to eat.

      Also, the next day after making it, I opened the refrigerator and scared myself.

  2. This is AMAZING!!!! I can not wait to try and make it myself.. which I totally am going to do. It will go perfectly with my zombie get up this year. Last time I made a brain jello mold.. it was all green and rotten looking. But this? This is SO much cooler. I vote for you a million times over. You should win this contest HANDS-DOWN! :-D

    • Good luck and let me know how it goes! Also, one more tip: between shaping the heart and glazing it, I popped it in the freezer for about 15 minutes so the frosting could set without getting over-warm and starting to lose its shape. Once it’s had a chance to air-dry a little though, the top layer is very stable.

    • I assure you—while the other entries are beautifully creative and ambitious and creepy, they are, for the most part, much more civilized.

      Or at least, less bloody.

      (Except for Saundra’s Zombaby Bread. Which is the stuff of my nightmares, but gets a pass on account of deliciousness.)

    • Ironically, while I planned on Real, I just did not count on … real.

      I *wish* I’d taken pictures of the in-between stages, but I was home alone and covered in cream cheese! It mostly looked like me meticulously patting frosting into shape with the back of a spoon, and occasionally taking a break to mold an artery around my thumb :)

      • As an update, I showed the Mert (daughter) who was completely grossed out (in a good way). Some quotes: “THAT’S a CAKE?” “What’s the small one?” (should’ve taken some photos of her when I told her it was a kidney) >:)

  3. Okay, you and Saundra are tied for “most traumatic” but you definitely win the “most likely to get me in trouble for viewing while students are present” title! Well done. Also disgusting ;) I don’t think I’ll be eating any red foods any time soon! heidi (at) yabibliophile (dot) com

    • I keep feeling this overwhelming impulse to run around telling everyone, “I am not a psychopath!”

      And then no one would believe me, because if you have to come right out and say it, then maybe you are protesting too much.

  4. It was kind of you to cut out that person’s heart because the way those arteries are back up, they didn’t have that much longer. It more humane this way :-)

    WOW! That looks so cool. I really want to try that out for myself. I think I’m going to save all the recipes and pics and make a Halloween cook book.

  5. “I needed it to have some body in order to model the arteries”

    I think it’s safe to say that phrase has never before been uttered by any pastry chef in history.

  6. Loved It!! Don’t know what that really says…but it was creative:) I’m thinking of trying it but i am a horrible cook so mine will probably look like a disfigured heart or something…

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  8. Weren’t you the one that wrote the ‘little silver box’ story?

    NOW it makes so MUCH SENSE!!!
    I vote for you, because I’m slightly afraid of what will happen if I don’t.

    As long as the heart isn’t really mine and just a personification of what you do to the readers and the books keep coming…. don’t ask don’t tell.

    • Hahaha—I think you’re thinking of “Heart-Shaped Box,” which was actually one of Maggie’s (I’m so impressed that you remembered! That was *years* ago). BUT. I did have one about cutting out (metaphorical) hearts and putting them in (metaphorical) boxes, so you get the points anyway!

    • Haha—I used to try so, SO hard in drawing class in order to come up with passable efforts (which always still looked like I was trying too hard). And then one semester I randomly wound up in a sculpture elective and never looked back :D

  9. Um…normally I have a stellar strong stomach, but I’m pregnant so…*gag*. This is amazingly life like! So life like that it makes me wonder about that ‘business trip’ your husband is away on… ;)

  10. Whoa! You have really upped the game! I so relish Halloween gross-outs (both a trick and a treat) and I don’t think I’ve seen anything as cool as this. I think it’s a perfectly appropriate entry for someone writing in your genre–just a different medium for horror artistry. Whatever the outcome of the contest, you’re my winner.

  11. First off, BRILLIANT interpretation of the challenge.

    Secondly, ack ack ack. All I can think about when looking at these pictures is how the sheeps’ hearts felt during dissection in human anatomy lab, especially when you had to slide your gloved fingers inside the vena cava and aorta. After three years of being a teaching assistant for that lab, I guess it’s not a memory that will go away any time soon, even a decade later.

    • You know, I went to a cadaver lab once (I was 14, it’s a long story), but I’ve never actually dissected anything substantial. Apparently hearts, eyeballs, and fetal pigs were all a 9th grade thing in our district, and I started public school in 10th, just in time to apply various solutions to litmus paper using a dropper, and dutifully record what color it turned. But I’m not bitter. (Well, maybe a little.)

      • They had students do all that in 9th grade?!? Wow, dissection specimens don’t come cheap anymore, so I wonder if they still do it. I dissected a lot of things in high school too, but I remember refusing the fetal pig in my 10th grade zoology class b/c I thought it was wrong to desecrate its body when I knew I wouldn’t learn anything from it. Little did I know that I would teaching people over fetal pigs a few years later when in undergrad, but at least I felt like it was more useful then.

  12. I thought zombie baby bread was good but YOU take the cake! You win! Awesome entry, I want to make it for my next staff party. We are supposed to bring something sweet for Halloween. I am truly by your baking skills.

    • Oh, I still tremble in fear of the zombaby! All I can think is that if Saundra had gone with her prosciutto idea, it would have been the most appalling/most delicious food ever, and now I want to eat bread and prosciutto and raspberry jam and marmalade, just to see …

  13. WOW. That is so realistic and creepy and mind-boggling as it is, and then you paid such careful attention to flavor too? I’m ridiculously impressed. And a little disturbed. But mostly impressed.

    writingonalimb (at) gmail

  14. This is the coolest culinary thing I’ve ever seen! If you ever read a story where I have a creepy baker making creepy desserts, you’ll know it’s because I <3 this.

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  16. Thank you for posting this! I’m making a cadaver cake for my daughter’s 18th bday (she wants to be an M.E.) … I was stuck on two things … (1) how do I make convincing blood (for the gsw) … and (2) how do I mix the food coloring to get a grey-ish, green-ish, pink for the skin coloring. Got any advice on that?

    • Ooh, a cadaver cake—that sounds chilling! (Which, as everyone knows, is the best way for dessert to be.)

      For the blood, I definitely had going luck going straight to a fruit sauce. (Even though I used cherries here, if you want a redder shade, I can’t stress enough what a good color raspberries add—just cook them down and press them through a wire sieve to get rid of all the seeds.)

      As far as the skin coloring, there will probably be some trial and error involved. For these organ cakes, I dipped toothpicks in different shades of food-coloring and then muddled them around in a test amount of the frosting until I had a color I liked. Then I just tried to recreate that color for the larger batch, which worked fine here, but I was only frosting small things.

      Something you could try for a big cake, since you’re talking about skin: I’m thinking you might be able to make a really diluted paint out of gel-food coloring—practically transparent—and then kind of brush on a green/gray cast over pinkish skin (frosting). I’m guessing that would give the skin color more dimension? I hope there’s at least something helpful in all this, and good luck!

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