Halloween is such a fun time of year to get creative with cake decorating! While I love taking inspiration from the spookiness of the season, this year I couldn’t stop thinking about combining my love for vintage Lambeth cakes with a bold Halloween color palette. Basically, a colorful Halloween party showstopper that could be equal parts elegant and festive. So with that in mind, I headed to my local JOANN to check out their seasonal food crafting items and see what could make my vision come alive. As usual, they had everything I needed (and then some). Just look at how this beauty turned out!
I absolutely love the details on this cake, from the pretty piping to the spooky sprinkles and a touch of sparkle created with this gold shimmer dust. It would be so stunning on any Halloween party table! And it’s delicious too – underneath all that pretty piping is my favorite black velvet cake recipe.
JOANN has an incredible selection of Halloween food crafting items like sprinkles, molds, cake pans, toppers, and really everything you could need to spook up your party table. It’s really a one-stop shop for all things Halloween though – from frightening home decor to the perfect fabric for any costume. I couldn’t stop myself from grabbing some extras like these skull shaped ice cube molds and this pretty pumpkin scented candle.
Lambeth Cake Tips for Success
If you’ve never made one before, a Lambeth cake may look a little intimidating. Since the style involves over-piping (aka you can never pipe too many details), it ends up being a really forgiving design. Here are some of my best tips to set you up for success:
Start with a chilled cake. Before you pipe any details, make sure that your smooth buttercream finish is nice and chilled (firm to the touch). This helps keep the buttercream finish intact while you pipe on top and will help any piping set quickly because of the cold surface.
Place a larger cake circle underneath. Since you’ll be piping details onto the bottom border of the cake, it will save you a lot of stress to make sure the cake is sitting on a cake circle that’s larger than the cake and any piping. This way you can just lift the whole cake off of the turntable while keeping all the piping perfect. For example, since my cake layers are 6-inches in diameter, I decorated my cake on an 8-inch cake circle for easy transfer.
Plan out your piping. It’s not enough to know what kinds of designs you want to pipe on a Lambeth cake. You have to know where to pipe them. This is where a template comes in handy, and I’ll show you how to make the most simple template ever in this tutorial below.
Create the ideal buttercream consistency. Piping looks its best when you’re using buttercream that is the right consistency. Not so thick that there are crinkly edges, but not so thin that you can’t see detail and the designs are drooping. You want a stiff consistency buttercream, and this post will show you how to create it with my American buttercream recipe.
Here’s a video tutorial that will walk you through how to create this Halloween Lambeth Cake from start to finish. Give it a watch before you read through the detailed steps below!
If you love cake decorating tutorial videos like this one, be sure to check out my YouTube channel! I’ve got a growing collection of recipes, decorating tutorials, and Cake Basics over there. Hit the subscribe button on my page so you never miss a new video.
You Will Need
- 6-inch cake that’s been frosted smooth and chilled
- 8-inch cake circle to decorate on
- 6-inch cake pan (for tracing)
- Wax or parchment paper
- 2 ¼ inch round cookie cutter
- Scotch tape
- 1 batch (3 Cups) of vanilla buttercream
- Bowls and spoons for color mixing
- Wilton Color Right Performance Food Coloring
- 2 Tablespoons Black cocoa powder or regular cocoa powder
- Cake turntable
- Wilton tips 104, 4B, and 32
- Piping bags
- STIR Halloween Sprinkle Mixes
- STIR Edible Shimmer Dust in Gold
Step 1: Make the Lambeth Template + Mark the Cake
The Lambeth technique is all about symmetry. The best way to keep your piping symmetrical is to make a template to mark out equal sized sections on your cake. To make the template, flip a cake pan (the same size as your cake layers) upside down onto a piece of parchment paper. Trace around it with a pencil and cut out the circle. Flipping the pan upside down and tracing around the lip helps account for the frosting on the sides of the cake when measuring the true diameter.
After cutting out your parchment paper circle, fold it in half three times to create 8 equal-sized sections.
Place the template on top of the chilled cake and mark each crease with a toothpick (a). Find a round glass or cookie cutter that’s the same diameter as the sections in your template and place a piece of scotch tape across the middle to create a half circle (b). This will help you line it up with the top of your cake as you press it into the sides (c) to indicate where each garland will go.
Step 2: Mix the Color Palette
Divide the 3 Cups of buttercream equally amongst three separate bowls and mix in the color gels of your choosing. I used the Wilton Color Right Performance Food Coloring set to custom mix these colors. In the first bowl, I mixed in 5 drops of Orange. In the second bowl, 5 drops of Pink and 2 drops of Blue to create a warm purple tone.
To create the black color in the last bowl, I first mixed in 2 Tablespoons of black cocoa powder to create a dark brown color, then mixed in 3 drops of Black. This way, I didn’t have to use nearly as much food coloring. If you don’t have access to black cocoa powder, you can use regular cocoa powder instead but note that you’ll need to use a few more drops of Black.
Step 3: Prepare the Piping Bags
Fit two piping bags with Wilton Tip 104 and add half of the black buttercream into one and half of the purple buttercream into another. Fit two piping bags with Wilton Tip 4B and add the rest of the black buttercream and the rest of the purple buttercream. Fit one piping bag with Wilton Tip 32 and add the orange buttercream.
Step 4: Create the Bottom Border
Starting at the bottom edge of the cake, pipe a shell border with Wilton Tip 4B using the black buttercream. To pipe a shell border, hold the bag at a 45 degree angle and squeeze the piping bag until the buttercream fans out and forces the tip upward (a). Gradually relax pressure as you lower the tip and pull the bag toward you to create a tail (b). Pipe the next shell directly onto the tail of the first (c).
Continue piping shells all the way around the bottom edge of the cake, until you reach the very first shell you piped.Using the same technique, pipe a smaller shell border on top of the first using Wilton Tip 32 and the orange buttercream.
Place purple eyeball sprinkles onto the shell border as accents. I placed mine directly below where each of the indented semi-circles from the template connected.
Step 5: Create the Ruffle Garlands + Accents
Onto each of the semi-circle indents you created in Step 1, use the black buttercream-filled piping bag fitted with Wilton Tip 104 to create the ruffle garland. To create a ruffle, hold the piping bag at a 45 degree angle to the surface of the cake with the skinny end of the tip facing away from the cake (a). Squeeze the bag as you move your hand slightly up and down to create the ruffle texture as you pipe (b). Release pressure on the bag once you’ve ended the ruffle where you desire (c).
Continue piping black ruffles along the semi-circle indents until you reach the first one you piped.
Using the piping bag filled with purple buttercream and fitted with Wilton Tip 104, pipe a second set of purple ruffles directly onto each black ruffle.
Use the orange piping bag fitted with Wilton Tip 32 to pipe a small shell with the tail pointed upwards where each of the ruffle sets connect. Place a black spider sprinkle onto the top of the middle shell.
Pipe a purple star about an inch beneath each space where the ruffles connect using Wilton tip 4B. Place a skull sprinkle on top of each star. Gently press a pumpkin sprinkle about ½ inch beneath each skull-topped purple star.
Step 6: Decorate the Top of the Cake
On the top edge of the cake, pipe a shell border with Wilton Tip 32 and the orange buttercream. Pipe another shell border directly next to it using Wilton Tip 4B and the purple buttercream.
Place skull sprinkles in between the two shell borders.
Use the black piping bag fitted with Wilton Tip 4B to pipe swirls next to the purple shell border and place an orange eyeball sprinkle on top of each swirl.
Step 7: Spray with Shimmer Dust
For a little extra shine on all this pretty piping, I spritzed this Gold Edible Shimmer Dust all over the cake. It gives a really subtle finish of gold luster and was really fun to use! I want to top every cake with this stuff now.
And there you have it! The perfect Halloween showstopper cake for your party table, regardless of the average age on your guest list. Even if you’re not throwing a Halloween party this year, it’s a really fun cake design to whip up this spooky season!
I hope you love making this colorful, vintage-inspired Halloween lambeth cake as much as I did! If you do end up making one, let me know how it went in the comments below + be sure to tag @sugarandsparrowco and @joann_stores on Instagram to show us. We’d love to see what you create!
Disclaimer: I was compensated by JOANN for my work of creating this project, styling, filming, photographing, and writing about their products. As always, all opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Sugar & Sparrow.