Bitter Buttermilk Skulls with Lime Icing

Looking for a fun Halloween themed baking activity with your kids? Try our Bitter Buttermilk Skulls with Lime Icing! This skull bundt pan from Nordic Ware is such a fun and festive edition to any bakers kitchen, but you can use any muffin tin or baking pan to decorate the final product however you please!

Cake Batter
Makes 12 Skulls
•1 cup butter, softened
•2 1/2 cups sugar
•4 large eggs, room temperature
•1 tablespoon El Guapo® Chicory Pecan Bitters
•3 cups all-purpose flour
•1/4 teaspoon baking soda
•1 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add bitters and beat to combine, scraping sides of bowl to thoroughly mix. Combine flour and baking soda; add alternately with buttermilk while beating on low. Continue beating until thoroughly combined. To make skulls, pour into a greased and floured mini bundt pan. Alternatively, pour into muffin tins and decorate the tops with skulls or other spooky themes. Be sure to only fill each hole 2/3 full to avoid spillage when the mixture expands while baking in the oven. Bake at 325° until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pro Tip: No buttermilk?! No problem! DIY by combining 1 tablespoon  of white vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice (so important – store bought variety will not work!) and enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes. Voila!

Makes enough to decorate 12 Skulls
• 4 cups powdered sugar
• ~6 tablespoons whole milk
• ~3 tablespoons El Guapo® Lime Cordial
• 1/2 teaspoon El Guapo® Chicory Pecan Bitters
• Gel food coloring
• Zest of 1 lime

Combine the powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of milk, lime cordial, and bitters in a non-reactive bowl and whisk or stir until well combined and no lumps remain. The mixture will be pretty thick at this point.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of milk and lime cordial alternating at a time until the icing has thinned out and reached an outline consistency. To test the icing, lift the whisk or spoon from the mixing bowl, you should still see the ribbons of icing that fall back into the bowl for 3-4 seconds. If needed, add more liquid alternating syrup and milk to thin out the icing or add more powdered sugar to make it thicker if it gets too thin.

At this point, separate your icing using 1/2 cup mason jars. Turn each jar into a different color using gel food coloring, adding the lime zest only to the icing remaining in the main container. Use this icing to coat skulls in a base of white icing. You may find it helpful to add some additional syrup and milk to make the white base layer a bit thinner and easier to apply.

Add your chosen gel food colors to each 1/2 cup mason jar and mix until fully combined. You can decorate freehand with a paintbrush or toothpicks. Alternatively, pour into piping (or ziplock, just squeeze tight and cut off the tip!) bags with the desired tip and use the bag to outline your designs with rigid lines. You can thin out the icing remaining in each mason jar to fill in between your lines as needed. Use any sorts of sprinkles and edible decorations to enhance your skull designs!

To Decorate:
Place the outline icing and fill icing in separate piping bags (or zip lock bags) and cut the tip off of each one. Outline each cookie with the outline icing, then use the fill icing to fill in the cookie. Use a toothpick if needed to move the icing around and fill in any empty spots.

Place the cakes in a single layer in an airtight container and allow the icing to fully harden for about 24 hours.

This recipe will make about 1.5 cup of icing, which is enough to decorate 12 skulls. I recommend decorating your skulls the day before you plan to serve them. I prefer to store my skulls in a single layer in an airtight container once they’re decorated.

To make several different colors: You can double this recipe if you want to make more than 3-4 colors. Once it’s the correct consistency to outline cookies, simply divide the icing between a few different bowls and add the gel food coloring. Then, divide each color to create the outline and fill icings.

To make ahead of time: You can prep the icing ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature and mix well before using. If needed, add more milk and syrup to get the correct consistency before icing.

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