Have you ever seen the movie Game of Death?
This award-winning horror movie came out in 2017 and featured a 90s-style game played by a gang of unassuming teens. Unlike Jumanji the consequences of playing this game are a LOT more gruesome and bloody. It also happened to be produced by one of my dear cousins, and he asked if I could make the cake for their wrap party.
This is the “Game of Death” gameboard as seen in the movie:
And this is my cake replica:
With Halloween just around the corner I thought it was the perfect time to share exactly how I made it!
The first step was to get a few good quality images of the prop that I could use for reference.
I was also asked if I could make a gluten-free option so there’d be something for those with intolerances. I was given a few reference images of the deaths and other props being used and when I saw that one character met an untimely end with a broken baseball bat I knew that would be something I could easily sculpt out of gluten-free puffed rice cereal.
While there were a lot of steps in making this cake it only took 3 days from start to finish. I’m going to break down everything but to avoid this being incredibly photo-heavy I’ve grouped the images of each step together.
The first step for all of my cakes is to sketch out an idea. Knowing I needed to transport the cake I went out and bought the largest cake board that would fit in a cake box I could find locally. That let me know what total dimensions I had to work with. That allowed me to size out my cake pans and figure out what would work best for the game cake. I then scaled a clear, top-down view of the game board to the appropriate size and traced it out so I could have an accurately-sized template.
I tried to do as much in advance as I could, as some of the parts would need time to dry or cool. The next task for day 1 was to make the gameboard’s window pane. I’d been asked to write a congratulatory message to the cast underneath, and while I could have simply written the image on a slab of fondant and set it in place I was determined to see if I could make the “glass” too. While browsing my local bulk store I noticed these clear candy mints and thought they’d be perfect!
I crushed the candies in a plastic bag using a meat mallet and then slowly melted the candy powder in the microwave until they reached a soft, pliable stage. Since I had a scale template I was able to test my cookie-cutters to find the right size and then trim off the excess with a kitchen knife. Once my “glass screen” was ready I set it aside to cool and harden.
Still on day 1 I rolled out some white fondant and made the center skull, all the minis, and the curved bits that line each player spot. I also cut out a base to put under the glass screen so I would have somewhere to write the message. Using a fondant roller and mat was really convenient as the roller has level guides so the pieces were all of equal thickness and the mat has measurements built right in.
I then made a large batch of gluten-free puffed rice treats and sculpted them into the two halves of a baseball bat, ensuring they would fit properly on my cake board. (Another benefit of having a scale template!).
The final thing I did on day 1 (not shown) was to bake the actual cake. I was given free reign on flavor and picked vanilla as it would work best with a special request I’d been asked – could I make the cake bleed when cut. I followed my usual methods and baked a bit of extra batter in a mini cake pan as I wanted to test the bleeding effect. I didn’t want to take a chance on the actual cake just in case it didn’t work so this little tester would be perfect.
Day 2 began with making edible fake blood. The best recipe I’ve found is to mix up chocolate syrup (like for chocolate milk) with clear corn syrup and a bit of red food coloring. Adjust the ratios until you get a consistency you like. In a subsequent cake I made a thicker version that is more realistic but for this cake I deliberately thinned it a touch so it would be able to be runny when cut.
I cut a well into my test cake’s bottom layer and iced it carefully so the “blood” wouldn’t soak into the cake itself. I then added the top layer and iced the whole thing and waited a few hours to be sure no red tint seeped through to the exterior. Then my kids helped me cut it and test if it worked:
It did! I was really excited knowing I could add additional wells into the real cake for an even more horrific effect.
I then painted the baseball bat treats with chocolate candy melts. Using a mug warmer was the perfect way to keep the candy warm long enough for me to get both pieces fully coated.
Then I wrapped each half with white fondant leaving the matching edges broken and torn to simulate where the wood would have splintered when the bat snapped in half. I used my fondant detail cutter to fray the edges further and add more realism, and then painted the fondant to look like wood. I’ve used this technique before and have a full tutorial on how to do it here.
With all the accessories and add-ons ready, day 3 was where it all came together!
I leveled my cake and torted it into 3 layers. These cake levelrs make it so easy to divide a cake into multiple levels evenly! The first layer was placed down on a round cake board and then iced, and the second layer was applied. I used a cupcake filler to cut a well in the center as well as add additional little surprise blood spots around the resulting ring. I was careful to not put them too close together so the cake would still have structural integrity, as I knew there would be a lot of fondant on top and I didn’t want it to collapse.
I also made sure to keep the cake bits from the corer as they’d come in handy in a minute.
I iced the middle layer, being careful to not disturb the cut edges too much while still evenly coating them in icing to provide a barrier between the blood fill and the cake itself. Then I carefully filled each well with the blood mixture leaving about a half-inch of space and then plugged the gaps with the cake pieces I’d saved. Finally, I iced the underside side of the remaining tier so when it was flipped onto the cake, the icing completely covered the plugs. This will prevent any of the blood from potentially bleeding into the upper tier.
Now that the cake was fully stacked I was able to use my scaled template to trim it to shape.
I then set the cake into place on the cake board, using a dollop of icing to “glue” it down. It was iced and then covered with gray fondant to match the game in the movie.
Then I used my template to cut out a slab of white fondant and used one of the fondant detail tools to trace each of the sections of the board, leaving imprints on the fondant that I could use as guides. I used edible food markers to color in each section, blending them with water when necessary to avoid too many streaks.
The topper was set into place and the edge trimmed with a border of white fondant. I “glued” each of the pre-made bits in place with a bit of water and then finally wrote the game’s logo on the front edge. (It went on all sides in the movie but I didn’t trust myself to write it evenly 8 times!)
The last step was to use a bit of watered-down fondant to “glue” the bats into place and then drizzle them with the fake blood mixture. I added in a few bits of fondant “gore” as an added touch. 😉
With that the Game of Death cake was complete! We delivered it to set on the final day and from the feedback I received it was a big hit!
(And it oozed “blood” perfectly when cut!)