Recipe/Tutorial: A creepy Halloween cake inspired by 2NE1’s 아파 (IT HURTS) music video!

Anyone who knows me knows I love the K-pop group 2NE1. I even flew to New Jersey to see them live back in 2012. 2NE1 has a decent following in the US, but if you aren’t into K-pop you’ve probably only heard their music from a certain Surface Pro 3 commercial.

2NE1 released the video for It Hurts back on Halloween of 2010, but I’ve wanted to make something like this entry ever since it came out. It took me 5 years, but darn it, I got there!

The video is chock full of wallpaper-worthy Halloween imagery. There’s a spooky banquet, hair as big as person wearing it, and of course a super awesome and creepy cake! Give it a watch to see the rest of the awesomeness.

This cake was fun to make because I basically had to do everything wrong on purpose. The glaze had that uneven melted candle look that I was trained to avoid, and the decor is pretty haphazard. I’d really like to shake the hand of the person who made this cake for the video shoot; they NAILED taking a traditionally beautiful cake and making it look just off enough to really be creepy.

You can use any kind of cake you’d like to decorate, of course, but I went with a green tea chiffon cake and red bean filling. I’ll include the recipe for that at the end of this entry, but first and foremost this is a tutorial. The amount of decor I made will work for an 8″ cake, so if you make it larger or smaller you’ll want to keep that in mind.



Necessary items: 1 filled and crumb coated 8″ round cake (recipe below), 3 black birthday candles, 3 cups buttercream of choice, white chocolate ganache (recipe below), chocolate/fondant skulls (recipe below), white chocolate decor (recipe below).

1. If your crumb coated cake isn’t thoroughly chilled and firm, return it to the fridge until it’s firmed up. Once firm, ice the outside as smoothly as possible with your buttercream. You can ice it on the cake plate, but my cake tray was too large for the fridge, so I kept the cake on an upturned 9″ cake pan until I was ready to serve it. Return the cake to the fridge until the icing is firm again.

2.Warm your ganache enough to make it fluid, but not hot. Fill it into a piping bag and use the bag to pipe along the top edge of your cake, piping enough that the ganache drips down naturally. If you want an extra big drip in some spots, simply pipe a bit more along the edge. Always pipe at the top edge and let it drip, don’t pipe along the sides of the cake. Pipe some ganache in the center after you’re done with the drips, and smooth it to cover the top. For a two layered effect, return the cake to the fridge for 10 minutes and then repeat the process a second time.
2. Top the cake with your white chocolate and skull decorations to your liking, then serve!


White Chocolate Ganache

160g (5.75 oz) white chocolate, chopped or in chips
100g (3.5 oz) heavy cream

1. In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream to just before boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 3 minutes before whisking together until smooth.

White Chocolate Decor

2 cups crisped rice cereal
280g white chocolate, melted
plus an additional
300g of either tempered white chocolate or candy melts to coat

1. In a large bowl, fold together the first measure of chocolate with the crisped rice cereal. Line a 9″x9″ square pan with parchment or saran wrap and dump the mixture into it. With greased fingers, pat down the mixture until even in thickness and flat. Allow to set.
2. Once set, remove from pan and brush one side with white chocolate to coat. Allow to set and flip over.

3. Using a very sharp knife, cut out your desired shapes from the crisped rice block. I chose the letters PCM (for Pretty Cake Machine!), a cross, and various rectangles. Set these brushed chocolate side down on a cooling rack with a large pan underneath to catch chocolate dripping in the next step.
4. Using the remainer of your chocolate, coat all your pieces. They should be pretty rough looking, so don’t obsess over that and just make sure the rice is all covered. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off and the pieces to set up just a bit before transferring to a sheet of parchment to finish setting.

Modeling Chocolate Skulls

75g white chocolate, melted
8g corn syrup
75g fondant of choice
Powdered black food coloring

1. In a bowl combine the corn syrup and white chocolate and fold VERY carefully until the chocolate just siezes up and forms a mass. If you over-fold it it can separate. Transfer to a sheet of saran wrap and wrap it up, allowing it to cool until almost totally set. Now knead the chocolate into your fondant along with a a sprinkle of black food coloring.

2. Make the bottom parts of the skull by rolling a ball of frosting into a tube shape and slicing it into short cylinders. To make the skulls, roll a small piece of the fondant mix into a ball and use a toothpick or sculpting tool to imprint eye sockets, a nose and teeth. I also used them to push in some cheekbone ridges. Place the skulls on top of the cylinders and secure them with a dab of melted chocolate.

3. Using a small dry paintbrush, mix a small amount of black food coloring into a teaspoon or so of cornstarch. Brush the mixture into the eye sockets and ridges of the skulls to darken them.



9 eggs, separated
2 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (g) sifted cake flour
3 tbsp (g) matcha powder
2 1/2 cup (300g) sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (180ml) water
1/2 cup (120ml) canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 cups buttercream icing of choice
1/2 cup (120ml) canned sweet red bean filling


1. Pre-heat your oven to 325°F and line two 8″ round cake pan with parchment around both the sides and bottom. You can use shortening or butter to make the parchment stick, but do not grease the parchment.
2. Combine egg yolks, canola oil, and water in a large bowl, whisking until foamy and well-beaten. In a separate bowl, sift together baking powder, sugar and cake flour. Fold the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture until just combined.
3. Using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until they reach stiff peaks. Fold gently into the egg yolk mixture. Pour 2/3 of the batter into one cake pan and the remaining 1/3 into the other. Knock the pans sharply on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake onto a piece of parchment and allow to cool upside-down. Once completely cool, remove the parchment.
4. In a small bowl, fold together 2 cups of buttercream with the red bean filling.
5. Using a serrated knife, split the larger cake layer in two. Set one cake layer onto your cake plate and spread half of the red bean filling on top. Top with another cake layer, repeat, and top with the final cake layer. Ice the outside of the cake in a thin layer of buttercream to seal in crumbs, and refrigerate until firm.

Thanks for reading, everyone! I’ll have one more Halloween entry for you all before Saturday, so look forward to it!


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