From TV shows to the novels of Jane Austen, zombies have infested popular culture. Thanks to professional cupcake designer Zilly Rosen, a legion of adorable, edible undead are now emerging through the cracked frosting of that other irresistible craze — the cupcake.
Half and half
Makes about 8 ounces
4 ounces store-bought white fondant
4 ounces ready-to-use gum paste
White vegetable fat (optional)
Knead the fondant and then the gum paste separately on a counter until smooth; then combine and knead until well mixed. If the mixture becomes sticky, add a little white vegetable fat.
Cover with an upturned bowl or cup to prevent a crust from forming. To store, roll the mixture into a ball, double wrap in plastic wrap, and keep in a sealed container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Makes about 8 ounces
1 large egg white, plus extra if necessary
Pinch of cream of tartar
1-3/4 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Paste food coloring (optional)
Put the egg white and cream of tartar in the bowl of a large freestanding electric whisk and whisk together until frothy.
With the machine still running, gradually add the confectioners' sugar until the mixture begins to stiffen and turn opaque white. Scrape down the side of the bowl and whisk briefly on high. The mixture should be stiff but still pliable.
If necessary, thin the mixture with a little extra egg white or a drop of food coloring. Cover with a damp dishtowel to prevent a crust from forming. To store, put it in a container, place plastic wrap directly over the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and seal the container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To color the icing, add the appropriate paste food coloring in drops or on a toothpick or the tip of a knife and beat in until you achieve the required color.
Piping gel blood
Makes about 3 ounces
3 ounces clear piping gel
4 to 5 drops red paste food coloring
Put the piping gel in a small bowl, add the paste food coloring in drops or on a toothpick or the tip of a knife, and beat in until you achieve a deep blood red color. Store according to the directions on the package.
2 ounces half and half, colored gray with 1 drop black paste food coloring
1/2 ounces half and half, colored brown with 3 drops brown paste food coloring
1 ounce plain white Royal Icing
Roll out the gray half and half very thinly on an acetate strip greased with white vegetable fat. Cut six rectangles, each measuring 1/2 x 1 inch. Cut diagonally across each rectangle to create two triangular knife blades.
Roll out the brown half and half very thinly on an acetate strip greased with white vegetable fat. Cut into a rectangle measuring 1/2 x 1 inch. Cut in half lengthwise, then make five evenly spaced vertical cuts to make knife handles.
Using the white Royal Icing in a pastry bag or parchment paper cone fitted with a fine plain piping tip, attach a knife handle to the corner of each knife blade. Pipe two dots on each handle to represent rivets. Let dry overnight. Store in a cool, dry place, but not in the refrigerator.