I made this cake for a very good friend's October birthday, who is a huge horror and comic fan. This was made custom to look like him but you could tailor the look how you please. It was a surprise for him and he absolutely loved it.
Depending on your artistic skill, this could be hard or easy. I'm an artist, new to cake decorating and this is my 4th sculpted cake (self-taught) and I've been making cakes since August (and am absolutely in love with it!)
Total time spent on it from the start of baking to completion was about 12 hours over the course of 3 days. On one day I baked all the cakes and froze them. The next I made the tombstone and the final day I make to zombie and finished it up.
The tombstone is red velvet cake covered in fondant. The zombie is red velvet cake covered in fondant. The fingers are all fondant and the grass/ground is fondant. The dirt is made from chocolate sandwich cookies (minus their cream layer) and ginger snaps ground up in the food processor. It was hand painted with gel food colorings mixed like watercolors (but not with water.)
• Cake pans for baking the cakes. I used a quarter sheet pan for the tombstone and two 8" rounds and two 6" rounds.
• General cake decorating supplies: Mixer, spatulas, turn-table, carving/clay/fondant tools, matt to roll fondant on, fondant rolling pin, gel food colors, knife, cake leveler, toothpicks, food-safe paintbrushes, small containers to mix food color "paints" in, 3 quarter sheet cake boards, Exacto knife, hot glue gun, tape, cake support dowels, foil to cover cake boards, etc.
•Ingredients to make cakes, buttercream icing, fondant and to mix food colors with (you will mix the food colorings with something like vodka or clear vanilla extract, not water.)
Here's the link to the alterations made to a box cake mix to make it a little stronger to better support sculpting. I used 3 boxes of cake mix to make this cake. One for the quarter sheet, one for the two 8" rounds and one for the two 6" rounds.
Here's the link to how to make the marshmallow fondant, which is pretty yummy, although very sweet! Pre-made fondant can be bought if you do not want to make the marshmallow fondant but beware that some of the pre-made doesn't taste very appetizing.
Here's a simple recipe for the buttercream icing, a 2 lb batch. This uses shortening in place of butter. I'm in Texas and butter doesn't hold up as well still right now. If you don't have a stand mixer or don't want to make your own icing you can buy some pre-made.
2 Cups Shortening
2 lb bag Powdered Cane Sugar (or approx. 8 Cups)
4 TBSP Meringue Powder
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (use clear vanilla if you want your icing to be white)
2 tsp Butter Flavor (use clear flavor if you want your icing to be white)
1 tsp Almond Extract
Sift together powdered sugar and meringue powder into large bowl. Set aside.
Mix the flavor extracts together in a measuring cup. Add enough water to the mixture to bring the amount to 1/2 a cup. Put this into a mixer bowl with the shortening.
Add about 1/4th of the sifted powdered sugar/meringue powder mixture to the shortening and flavors in the mixer bowl. Beat on a slow speed with the paddle beater and the slowly incorporate the rest of the powdered sugar mix into the mixer bowl as it's slowly mixing. Once it's all in there I usually turn it up a notch in speed for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. Then it's done!
Keep it covered until you are ready to use it, as it will "crust" over if you are not ready to use it and leave it uncovered to the air.