What’s with Mexicans and skulls? Usually skulls are associated with a negative connatation, but for Mexicans during Dia De Los Muertos, the skull takes on a completely different and beautiful meaning. The skull represents death and rebirth, the death of somebody leaving the world as we know it, and a rebirth of your beloved one who has passed and their soul moving on to a world of spirits and the afterlife. The skull personifies the humans we once knew, and during the Day of The Dead we take the time to honor the family and friends we have lost with offerings to their spirits in the shape of the skull, the same way our ancestors had done centuries before us. Of course there are the traditional foods associated with Dia De Los Muertos like Pan De Muerto, Tamales, Sugar Skulls, and Mole. I observe those foods as much as the next person , but I also enjoy making a skull dessert and decorating it ever year along with building my in-home alter.
I needed some flowers for my home altar I’m building, where I will eventually present my foods. Once I grabbed the yellow silk marigolds I ran across a skeleton mold on my way to the check out, and quickly imagined what it would look like on top of a cake. I thought of my friend Rocio who I lost twenty years ago and how she loved chocolate cake. This year in addition to my family, I will make a special place for Rocio’s chocolate cake and decorate it in marshmallow flowers .
Ingredients for Dia De Los Muertos Gelatina Cake:
- 2 – packets Knox gelatin
- 1 – can La Lechera (sweetened condensed milk)
- skeleton gelatin mold
- Chocolate cake mix
- chocolate frosting
- small marshmallows
- colored sugar
- small round colored candies
- black icing.
- In a bowl mix together 2 cups of boiling hot water and Knox gelatin. Mix until completely dissolved. Add in entire can of La Lechera and mix to combine. Should make 3 cups. Pour into skull mold and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
- Bake cake according to box and allow it to cool completely.
- Assemble and frost cake with frosting.
- Cut marshmallows with sharp kitchen scissors diagonally.
- Then dip sticky side of cut marshmallow into a dish of colored sugar to color marshmallow petals. Set to the side until ready to use.
- Unmold gelatin skull from mold. Place it in the center of frosted cake.
- Decorate the sides of the cake with colored marshmallow petals, and place a small round candy in the center of the flowers.
- Take the black icing fitted with a piping attachment and fill the eye cavity of skull gelatin with icing.
- Also draw a straight line across the skull mouth, then stitch over from top to bottom with black icing. Let the icing mouth sit on the gelatin skull for about 10 minutes, then remove the icing to reveal a stain.
- Fill the nose cavity with colored sugar.
- Decorate the forehead of the skull with marshmallow flower petals.
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