Introduction: Brain Cake

Picture of Brain Cake

Making a Brain cake is fun, cheap and great for Halloween parties or get-togethers. This is a basic instructable to show you how to make the details for this cake, the size and shape depends on your preferences. You can do similar designs for cupcakes or even flat cakes depending on what best fits your needs. This cake is made from two 8 inch pan cakes that were cut and assembled together to make a more realistic brain cake. The gore is also optional, although it does make the cake look more grusome and realistic.

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

Here are the Basic Ingredients that you will need, however depending on what kind of cake mix or cake recipe you use it will vary.
1. Cake Mix + necessary ingredients (follow the instructions on your recipe or box)
2. Frosting (we bought ours but feel free to mix your own
3. Mini Marshmallows (a whole package preferably)
4.Powdered Sugar
5. Cake dye, especially the colors green and red.
6. Oil (to grease your hands with later)

Step 2: Mix and Bake the Cake

Picture of Mix and Bake the Cake

Follow the directions on your box/ recipe and mix together the cake. We separated ours into two 8 inch round pans for this cake, but you can make any size or shape you want. A good tip is to place the bottom of the pan on parchment paper and draw out the shape of it, then cut this out. Grease the pan as usual, and place the parchment cut out on the bottom of the pan. Then grease the paper and pour the cake batter over it. Basically this guarantees that the cake will come out of the pan much more easily than normal.

Cut the cake to shape and cover it with a layer of frosting. The frosting will act as a glue and will hold the fondant onto the cake.

Step 3: Melt Marshmellows

Picture of Melt Marshmellows

Now that the cake is done, its time to make the fondant. If you have fondant mix you can use that instead of making your own, or you can buy fondant from stores like Joann's.  My Marshmallow fondant is completely edible and basically tastes like super sweet marshmallow taffy.

1. Place a large amount of marshmallows into a microwavable bowl. (you will need a lot more than this for a large cake, I am just making a sample here)
2. LIGHTLY sprinkle the marshmallows with water. Please do not add too much water. just lightly moisten the marshmallows with a little water so that they cook better.
3. Melt the marshmellows in the microwave. I would put them in for 30 secs, stir and then place them in for another 30 seconds to completely melt them.

Step 4: Make the Fondant

Picture of Make the Fondant

Ok this is kinda of difficult and involved but if you have ever made bread you might be familiar with some of the steps here.
1. First sift the powdered sugar onto a large board and make a mound in the center. You really need to sift this stuff, it looks super fluffy but it has alot of little clumps that you normally do not notice. However these clumps are a major problem when making fondant because they make it bumpy and uneven.
2. oil your hands with the cooking oil of your choice, you could also use butter, crisco or any type of grease for this job. Basically you are greasing your hands so that the sticky marshmallows do not stick to you.
3. get a friend to scrape the melted marshmallows onto the mound of sugar, then dump lots of powdered sugar ontop of it. It should be completely covered.
4. gently kneed in the sugar until it gets a thicker consistency. maksuge you keep it well covered in sugar and keep your hands well greased.
5. Once it is thick enough to not run all over the place, kneed it much harder and you would for bread dough. Basically to kneed you use the bottom of your palms to push the dough forward and then use your fingers to pull it back to center. Do this over and over agian applying more sugar as it soaks it all up.
6. when the sugar dough turns to the consistency of soft taffy then it is done.

Step 5: Color and Shape Fondant

Picture of Color and Shape Fondant

Seperate your fondant into small tennis ball shapes and then rip them open with your fingers. Add equal parts of green and pink to make a realistic brain color. kneed and mix the fondant until the colors evenly mix and are fully incorporated. You can also make some piles have more pink than green and others be grayer and darker.

roll the fondant into thin strips of various lengths and thicknesses.

Step 6:

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carefully place the fondant strips one at a time onto the cake. start with one end and then swirl the rest of the length around to create S and G shapes. each length of fondant will create a little cluster of brain. add the next length right next to the cluster you have created and use the same technique to make more clusters. Do this untill the entire cake is covered in clusters. You can also add a brain stem which is a oblong ball shape and is placed on the lower half of one side of the cake.

There will be small areas of white frosting in between the layers, this can optionally be covered with fake blood.

Step 7: Fake Blood

Picture of Fake Blood

Add dark corn syrup with red dye to create a blood mixture. here is a little sample I made to show you what the right color will look like. If you can only find clear corn syrup add some blue or purple in to creake a darker color. You will need a lot more of this to cover a whole cake. Also you can add flavorings to this mixture if you like.

Use a spoon or butter knife to drip the blood into the cracks so that you can cover the white frosting up. You can also spread it onto the plate to give the cake a very gory appearance.

Step 8: Done!

Picture of Done!

Please post your pictures! I will add some more of my own. I stuck in some knifes to make it look more scary.


nancyjohns (author)2015-12-02

Why so much fake blood? It's not very realistic. Nice looking cake though!

T0BY (author)nancyjohns2016-11-26

Apparently there is quite a lot of blood if you cut someone's brain out!

RoxanaK2 made it! (author)2016-10-31

Maine brain xD

Ogifh (author)2016-10-03

So much fun !!

karen.suttie (author)2015-02-23

I love this cake! I want to make a brain cake that oozes blood and 'brain lollies' when you cut into it. Can anyone tell me what I could use for the blood?

aksnowbelle (author)2014-10-18

I messed up the marshmallow business so imma try again. I cut the edges off the cake and used the half moon pieces to make it more of a mound shape. When I figure out how to post pics I will

VentureScout (author)2014-09-26

Looks cool

drainer1 (author)2012-04-12

This is such an amazing cake!!! I made this for my friends 25th birthday - themed Zombie. Was a MAJOR success, no one had any idea I was doing it & I got a standing ovation so that was pretty swell.
Just as a point of note, my cake was pretty big & I made my own marshmallow & there was HEAPS of it. It tasted great making it myself but be warned, it makes the process of turning it into a taffy like consistency a VERY painful job, with the recipe I went with, it took about 8 packets of icing sugar (powdered sugar) to turn get it to how I needed it. The whole decorating process took me hours & I was pretty exacting with the blood. But in the end major success, I was happy as was the birthday boy! Also took a chunk out where a "zombie" had bitten into it.
Also used heated jam instead of frosting to stick it to the cake.

psymenot (author)drainer12013-11-01

This is REALLY cool! I want to do this cake tomorrow, and I'd really like to make it as similar as possible to yours! Would you mind telling me the recipe of the cake inside?
Thanks :)

drainer1 (author)psymenot2013-11-02

Thanks!! Sorry I hope this didn't get to you too late. I made 2 different cakes, one was a dark chocolate mud & the other a white chocolate mud & all I did was add about half a thingy of red food coloring to each. The white cake will look really light pink when you do the mix but don't stress, it'll come out red.
I can't remember the recipe to be honest, I probably found it through google lol - also I did a chocolate ganache between each layer & I did 4 layers for the height.

kiffakitty (author)drainer12012-10-16

I love that you used red cake on the inside; it's the perfect touch!

Monster Muncher (author)2012-08-22

No worries figured it out. Wouldn't pink marshmallows be easier

Sorry for not responding- anyways, it is up to you. If you are going for a pink brain, then you don't have to fuss with dye if you buy pink marshmallows. I was going for a grey matter, white matter, and some pink mix, so I just bought white marshmallows.

Thanks great instructable btw I'm so going to make this for halloween this year!

lovelyann (author)2013-05-15

I made this cake for my step son's 14th birthday and it was a smash! :) The only thing I did differently was actually cut the cake into a round, "brain" shape before applying the marshmallow fondant.

J-Five (author)2013-01-19

ME WANT BRAIN!!!!!!!!!

mdavison1 (author)2012-10-31

I made this cake last night for a Spooky Desserts contest at work. I added my own touch with some gray brain matter, it was a hit and I won the contest. Thank you!

kiffakitty (author)mdavison12012-12-04

You're Welcome! It Turned out fantastic, BTW. I love the colors!

lucienaw (author)2012-11-11

Worked perfectly, but used a chocolate cake instead!

beautifulsouth0 (author)2012-07-11

Wow- I am excited to try this for a birthday cake! My plan is for a homemade white cake with raspberry filling. I'm using the hints, like creating a dome out of two halved cake rounds, and piping buttercream icing instead of fondant (in this heat I hope to keep a nice consistncy). I'm trying two finishing touches, as I'm a trauma RN, and I want to make it as realistic as possible: before adding blood on the outside, I'm going to lightly "paint" the brain with either clear gelatin or caaro syrup after a test each to see what comes out right. And I'm going to "sit" my brain in a pool of red colored caaro to really make it look really bloody! Wish me luck!

Wow, that is way more effort than I have ever put into a cake! Please post a picture!

kahaynes (author)2012-02-13

This is the "zombie brain" cake I made for my husband's Walking Dead birthday party this year. These instructions were great! Since the cake was green velvet (used green dye rather than red) I made cream cheese marshmallow fondant, and I thickened the blood mixture with a little cornstarch and added some vanilla to taste. Otherwise, I followed this exactly, and it turned out wonderful!

kiffakitty (author)kahaynes2012-10-16

Haha, that sounds like an awesome party! Thanks for sharing your pics!

magwheels662000 (author)2011-11-16

My daughter wanted a zombie birthday party and this cake was perfect for her. I used whipped cream frosting and tinted it gray. I used 3 layers and trimmed it into the brain shape - filling each layer with cherry pie filling for the 'bleeding' effect. I drizzled some additional filling down the sides.

the kids loved it. Thanks for the idea.


I bet the frosting tastes a lot better than my fondant! Nobody ended up really eating my fondant so switching over to frosting was a good idea for a kid's party. Thank you for sharing!

cool knex13 (author)2012-10-16

Now I know why zombies like brains

susanchen2011 (author)2012-09-18

It is a little horrible.

Monster Muncher (author)2012-08-21

Can you use larger marshmallows? Will you need less

tinker234 (author)2012-03-30

i saw a skull pan online now i guess i can make a head cake

Shelby_Galloway (author)2012-01-23

I loved this cake! My only thing I would add to this recipe is a detailed ingredients list. Since this was my first attempt to make anything like this . . . I used:

*Two boxes of cake mix
*Three bags of marshmallow
*A bag and a half of powdered sugar
*Two and a half containers of frosting

That might just be my inexperience . . . But it was HUDGE! Ha Ha. Otherwise it was a major success. Great Cake!

mryan15 (author)2011-12-01

I made the brainiest brain cake ever. Thanks so much for these instructions! It went perfect with our mad-scientist themed Halloween party.

jadekikyo (author)2011-10-22

This is going to sound weird but my 4yr old little girl would LOVE this as her birthday cake. She's almost a halloween baby and her personality shows it, lol.

CanningGirl (author)2011-09-26

the cakes are awesome i love them

bkr1969 (author)2009-12-18

Nice idea.  Made one for a Christmas party (hosted by a neurosurgeon).  Went over great. I did mine with 3 layers vertically instead of horizontal.  That gave me more height, though getting it to stand up took a bit of thought.

kiffakitty (author)bkr19692011-09-09

haha, a Christmas party with a brain cake sounds awesome!

iamhungry (author)bkr19692011-08-11

WOW!!!! Great Job!!! I think I might have you make me one for haloween. JK

zcaper (author)2011-08-15

i made a vegan version of this for my friend's birthday complete with a chocolate knife in the top and raspberry bloody filling. if you use vegan marshmallows for the fondant, you need to add some shortening to make it come together in the right consistency.

kiffakitty (author)zcaper2011-09-09

That is really awesome! I love the details! It looks like you even shaded the squiggly parts with shades of pink. :D

pyho2007 (author)2009-11-03

Here's my brain-cake.  Making fondant from scratch is definitely a challenge but well worth it.

WhyHello (author)pyho20072011-07-19

you should leave that in front of a police station "a gift for our officers" XP

kiffakitty (author)pyho20072009-11-03

 wow thats great! i love the shape of it, very realistic

kwnstant!na (author)2011-04-05

I unfortunately don't own a microwave oven.
Could I use the regular oven instead ?
Will it work the same way ?

kiffakitty (author)kwnstant!na2011-04-17

You could heat it up on a stove top. The important thing is to have melted marshmallows, the technique isn't really important.

ahouse18 (author)2010-10-11

Thanks so much for the instruction! We made it for my 9 year old's birthday/Halloween party. The funny thing is, I spent a few hours putting it together - I used 3 layers to make it tall (and strawberry cake on the inside), we unveiled it, and all of the boys at the party were so grossed out by it that they just had ice cream!! Thanks again for a fun memory.

I wouldn't eat it ether, just knowing that there's fondant on it grosses me out.

kiffakitty (author)ahouse182010-10-22

haha! no one really wanted to eat our cake either! My friend's 13 year old sister was especially grossed out :)
I guess you have to be a zombie lover at heart to truly enjoy this!

annafrank (author)2011-02-04

look so scary) great idea

Strapped-4-Cache (author)2010-10-30

Great instructable! I *mostly* followed the directions, but I placed my cake rounds on their side after cutting, creating the two hemispheres. After placing the fondant on them the two began to spread apart, but the effect was actually pretty neat and made it more realistic. Instead of knives I uses a little sign saying, "Zombie Special - FRESH BRAINS!!!"

Thanks for the idea. It was a winning entry in our office "creepy dessert" contest.

sarahu (author)2010-10-29

:) made one thanks for the instructable

ziggiau (author)2010-10-27

Could you just make the marshmallow from scratch? It's easy enough to do (this Instructable seems to do the trick - and maybe you could modify the ingredients (less liquid, more sugar) to get you to the correct consistency?

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