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Baking Tips

3 Ways to Decorate Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Cakes 

By: Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack / August 19, 2022

Just like carving pumpkins for Halloween or making gingerbread houses for Christmas, making sugar skulls for Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, is a form of Mexican folk art. Need some inspiration? Use these three ideas from award-winning food blogger and author Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack to get started, using her spiced Mexican chocolate cake sugar skulls as a base.

Sugar Skull Decorating Tips

Pipe sugar skull decorations 

Sugar Skulls are traditionally very colorful and whimsical—not scary! Use brightly colored buttercream or royal icing to decorate the sugar skulls, making them as simple or elaborate as you like. Get use lots of bright colors and layers on each skull for a dramatic appearance.

Top with “spooky” berry sauce

If you’d like to create a spookier effect, dust the cakes with powdered sugar and drizzle with a “bloody” roasted berry sauce. To prepare, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place six ounces of blueberries and 6 ounces of blackberries in a baking dish and toss with ¼ cup granulated sugar and a vanilla bean, split with seeds removed. Roast for 20 minutes, cool to room temperature, and use the sauce to top your spiced chocolate cakes.  

Sprinkle with fun

Frost the skull cakes and use sprinkles and candy to decorate them. Outline the details of the skull’s eyes and mouth with icing and decorate these features with confetti dots, little candies, or sprinkles. This is a great way to get kids involved with decorating! 

Contributed By: Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack is a native Texan, on-camera host, home chef, award-winning food blogger, and author of Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor. She shares cherished family Mexican recipes and heartwarming family stories on her food blog, Muy Bueno

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