How To Make The Best Nightmare Before Christmas Town Cake
Happy Halloween! This week I’ve got a freaking magical Nightmare Before Christmas-Town cake tutorial. It’s super easy but looks spectacular. And this cake is extra special because I got to make it for my beautiful friend Ann Marie’s birthday! Over the years she’s had quite a few Jack Skellington themed gifts, so I knew I had to carry on the tradition with her cake.
The reason we love this movie is that it’s the perfect marriage between Halloween and Christmas, which are the two absolute, best times of the year. Screw you summer! Yeah, I said it. Making this cake the perfect transition to move from scary ghouls to joy and peace and love.
Ok, let’s go!
What You'll Need
4 sponge cakes (you can find my recipe here)
5 cups of frosting (1 part butter:2 parts icing sugar)
2 cups of rice krispies
2 cups of marshmallows
1 tbsp of butter
400g red fondant
300g white fondant
100g green fondant
100g black fondant
20g yellow fondant
Bake the cakes in flat rectangular trays roughly 11 x 8 inches. When cool, cut them in half and layer them on top of each other with a spreading of frosting in between. Apply a thin layer of frosting all over the cake. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To make our snowman Jack, roll out 3 balls of white fondant decreasing in size. Add black fondant buttons to the bottom 2. To the smallest, use your index and middle fingers to gently press in indents where his eyes will be. Fill these indents with small pieces of black fondant. To shape, I used the end of a clean paint brush to gently press in. It’s best to have a picture of Jack on hand for reference when you do this. For his nose, push in 2 nostrils with a small needle and carefully fill these with tin pieces of black fondant. Finally, his mouth is just a series of little back fondant sausages, rolled really thin and glued on with a little water. Leave these all to dry thoroughly before assembling, otherwise the weight of the top ones will flatten the bottom. As you can see from the picture, I didn’t wait and paid the price.
Over a bain-marie, melt 2 cups of marshmallows and 1 tbsp of butter. When melted, mix in 2 cups of rice krispies. Turn this out onto a lined tray and use your hands to mould it into three, peaked, roof shapes. To gauge the size, refer back to the cake in the fridge. The roofs should be big enough to cover the top of the cake and approximately, 2 inches high. Leave this to one side.
To the window, to the windows, to the wall! Sorry, I hate myself that that song is my reaction to any mention of window. What is wrong with me?? Anyway, for these Christmas Town windows, I’ll start with the two on either side, with the stripes pattern. To make the base, roll out from fondant; three white sausages and four red. Line these up next to each other, alternating the colours and gently press in from the sides
Roll flat with a rolling pin
Using a knife, cut out a window with a rounded top. Roll out a small piece of black fondant and cut the same shape, slightly smaller. Attach this to the red piece with a little water. Roll out two, thin, yellow, fondant sausages and place these on top, with a little water, to make the window panes
Repeat this using green stripes for the second window but instead, cut a square shape this time
The centre window is similar but this time the base layer is black fondant, topped with strips of red and white stripes to change up the texture
Finally, the upper windows. Cut two circles from black fondant using the smallest cookie cutter you have. If you don’t have any cookie cutters, a bottle top works great too. Add some yellow window panes as before. Roll out green fondant into sausages long enough to wrap around the black, attach with some water and cross the ends. To give them a wreath look, use a knife to carefully score all the way round. Add a small ball of red where the green crosses
Place all the windows carefully in Tupperware (making sure the lids on tight) and chill in the fridge
The doors are very similar, I’m gonna take these left to right. So, for the first one, cut a rectangle of green fondant. Angle the top into a slant. Cut a rectangle of white fondant the same shape as the green but slightly smaller on all sides. Attach with a little water. From black fondant, cut out two window panes. Mix a piece of red fondant (the size of a golf ball) with a tiny drop of black fondant. Take this a little at a time until you have a colour, similar to the letterbox in the picture. From this, cut a small rectangle. Attach this with the black window panes to the door, finishing off with a small, yellow doorknob
Back to the dark red fondant you mixed earlier, cut out a rounded door shape. Use a knife to gently score wood panels in. Roll out a red, fondant sausage and attach around the edge of the dark red door with a little water. Using the cookie cutter from earlier, cut a round, black circle and with a knife, carefully score window panes. Attach this to the door with a little water. Add a wreath on top using the same method as the windows. Finally, add a yellow doorknob
The last door, is the same as the first with a few tweaks. Dark red fondant for the base and this time the window panes are placed up and down instead of side to side. Place all the doors in Tupperware, seal the lid tight and move to the fridge
Remove the cake from the fridge and cover completely with frosting. Add the roof on top and cover the front and back of the rice krispie roof with frosting. Roll out the red fondant to ¼ cm thickness and cover the sides of the cake. Do this in panels, the sides first then the front and back. Don’t worry about taking the red up over the roof, we’re gonna cover that in white later. Using a knife, carefully score a brick pattern into the red fondant.
Next, it’s time to make the little striped dividers between each house. This is really easy. Roll little balls of alternating red and white fondant and lay them side by side
Push in gently from either end then roll into a sausage
Repeat in green and white and then attach to the cake with a little water do divide the individual houses. Run along the top to make a division from the roof. In the central roof triangle, roll little, red, fondant sausages and attach in horizontal rows
The windows and doors should have dried a little by now, attach them to the cake with a brush of water. Hold each in place for a few seconds to make sure they take
Cover the roof in a layer of frosting. Roll out the remaining white fondant to ¼ cm thickness, large enough to cover the roof. Lay this over the roof and trim the edges, leaving an extra ½ cm all the way round. Pinch this extra to look like snow piles
Use the remaining white fondant to cover the cake board. Remember it should look like snow so it doesn’t have to be neat
Time to assemble Jack. Layer the fondant snowballs you made earlier on top of one another, measure a barbeque skewer against the total height and trim the skewer so it’s 2cm higher. For Jacks hat, I wanted to make sure there was no chance the brim would wilt. So, cut out a small disc from the top of an old butter container and pierce a hole in the middle. Thread the skewer through the middle of this hole. The circle should be 2 cm from the top of the skewer Mix a little green fondant with a tiny drop of black. Use a piece of this to cover the disc. Roll the remainder into a cylinder and push into the top of the skewer, gently to retain the shape. Be careful that the skewer doesn’t come out the top. Carefully, thread the skewer into the rest of the snowman
Attach to the cake board with a little water. Use a glass to prop Jack up for the first hour to make sure the fondant doesn’t shift. If you decide to use a little plastic circle to keep Jack’s hat straight make sure that no one accidentally tries to eat it and that no children will be left alone with it. If there will be children around, it may be best to make the hat only from fondant but make sure you give it plenty of time to dry completely before assembling it.
And… we’re done, I’ll see you again next week!