Gruesome cake baker Lily Vanilli shows us how it's done

Lily Vanilli takes a teabreak

Baker and designer Lily Vanilli isn't afraid to swap pink for punk. She re-wrote the cupcake rules with her 2010 book, A Zombie Ate My Cupcake, featuring deliciously freaky recipes like morbid meringue bones and marzipan insects. Her gory designs have been prepared for Elton John and Downing Street, and with her quirky little London cafe, she's the go-to girl for scary sweet treats.


Lily agreed to share her macabre mastery with us, including a ghostly cupcake recipe to make at home. Mary Berry – look away now ...


What inspired you to step into the darker side of baking?

I started baking years ago, but I was put off by the attention given to cupcakes. It's quite removed from the baking that I actually prefer, in that cupcakes are all about style over substance – cakes that look pretty but don't taste good. So I started making grotesque things that looked really gross but actually tasted delicious.


Via: David Munns

Lily's eyeball cupcake

Let's get gory: what's your tip for making the most realistic but tastiest blood?

It's all about a mixed berry coulis – blackcurrants, raspberries, cherries – as it's deep red and quite thick.


Here's the recipe:

  • 200g mixed frozen berries
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50ml water


1. Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pan and bring to the boil over a gentle heat, stirring continuously. Reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until thickened.


2. Allow to cool, then transfer the coulis to a liquidiser or use a hand blender to purée. Finally pass it through a sieve, pushing through as much of the pulp as possible and discarding any seeds. You'll end up with about 200ml of liquid.

bleeding heart cake

Via: Owen Richards

Lily's bleeding heart cake

What's the work that you've been most proud of?

I did a sculpture for the V&A Museum that was made of cake. It was inspired by Queen Victoria and Albert's wedding cake – it was all iced in gold with candy jewels like a souvenir from the Royal family.



What's the weirdest thing you've been asked to make in cake?

I once did a replica of a woman's boyfriend's head. She seemed happy – it ended up looking like him.


Lilly's brain cake

How will you be marking Halloween at Lily Vanilli?

We're making cakes in the bakery – we change the menu every week, so we'll have sweet and savoury items and we'll be doing some special things for Halloween too. Check out my Instagram to see what we're baking on the day: @lily_vanilli_cake



Via: David Munns

Lily's ear cupcakes

Fancy conjuring up something for Halloween? Try making these ghastly ghoul cupcakes and send us your pictures!