Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Nightmare Before Christmas...

" 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house.  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..." and so begins the legendary poem by Clement C. Moore.

This event was for a surprise birthday party ('s this Friday) and since the birthday guy's favorite holiday happens to be Halloween, I used "The Nightmare Before Christmas" as the theme.  I was asked to combine the birthday theme with Christmas, and since I've always loved the characters in "The Nightmare Before Christmas", I was super excited to begin this project.

A couple weeks before the event, I begin researching ideas and envisioning what I wanted the cake to look like and eventually drew this picture.  As you can see from the photo above, I actually stuck pretty close to my original design (which doesn't always happen)!

Because I wanted to focus on decorating, I outsourced the 6" velvet cake from one of my favorite bakeries and asked them to simply cover it with buttercream.  At home, I cut multi-width strips of black, red, and green fondant and laid them aside to dry out a bit.  This is actually a bit more complicated and time-consuming than it looks.

Meanwhile, I cut a building silhouette out of sugar paper which was no small feat (for so many nooks and crannies) since sugar paper breaks easily.  After placing the colored strips where I wanted, I adhered the silhouette to the side of the cake with frosting and made some windows out of fondant.

Next, I rolled black and white fondant pearls and lined the base of the cake:

Now it was time for Jack, who was an architectural challenge (skinny legs, arms, hat, and tricky beard).  The arms were still too flimsy after several hours so I set Jack aside while I worked on the iconic moon and hill.  His arms ended up drying overnight and then almost for another day.

Here is armless Jack (his arms are behind his body):

Next in line to make were the pumpkins, which I nestled on top of curled holly leaves.  I also decided to make a couple of snowflakes for the side of the cake.

Here is the whole cake assembly, minus Jack...still waiting for Jack.....

 Left view & right view:

And finally...Jack!

Again, left view & right view:

More close ups:

Time to make some cake pops.  I already had the Santa Claus bellies from the previous post, so I made some Jack cake pops and created a design on yellow cake pops to complement the moon and the hill motif.

All the Jack's have different faces:

And voila!  Here is the whole display:

Aerial view:

Almost everything looked great to me when I retired upstairs for the night, but one little thing kept bugging me: the back of the moon.  I had covered it in candy melt so it would stand up, but I didn't like the look of it (see below).  Cakes are meant to be seen from 360 degrees, and I cringed at the thought of someone seeing the back of the moon, so I slept on it...

My solution the next morning were two more pieces of fondant on the back of the moon:

Packaging the cake pops for delivery:

This project was super fun but also challenging.  Estimation of total hours: 12 hrs.  But then again, there's the saying, "when you do what you love," it doesn't feel like work...I love doing this!!

and I hope you enjoy your cake and cake pops!  I've been requested not to post this up on Facebook until Friday night!  :)

Here's one more picture!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!


  1. Wow... .amazing work here... True talent. Can't wait to see mroe.