Halo helmet cake tutorial

Halo helmet cake tutorial

I was asked to make this Halo Helmet Cake and I had so much fun, I decided to share a sort of photo tutorial with all those who are interested.

The first thing I got was some good reference. Always key with any shaped cake. Luckily I found a great photo showing all sides of the helmet.

I’m going to assume you already know how to bake cakes and have a general understanding of sculpting/shaping a cake. If not, this may not be the tutorial for you but maybe you’ll learn a thing or too by seeing my process of making this Halo Master Chief Helmet cake for an awesome client.

So I started off by baking three 10″ rounds and five 8″ rounds. This is a LOT of cake but I wanted the helmet to be life sized so I had to make a lot of cake. I wanted to minimize waste so made basically two cakes for every layer of cake so I wouldn’t have to trim off a lot. I also made 5 lbs of olive green modeling chocolate (I use 1 cup of light corn syrup per 2 lbs of chocolate. I use half dark, half white and color it with regular food coloring added to the heated corn syrup. Melt chocolate in microwave in 20 second intervals, mixing in between and then add corn syrup. Stir until combined, then let set overnight. Will be lumpy but will look good after you knead it.) Lauren Kitchens recipe also works really well.

I also prepared one batch of black marshmallow fondant. Click here for my fondant recipe.

My base is a 14″ round MDF board that I buy pre-cut from my cake supply store. I cut a 7″ piece of PVC and attached it via a pipe flange (all purchased from a hardware store).

I covered the board in decorators foil and taped plastic wrap over the pvc so it wasn’t touching the cake. PVC is not food safe so its not good to just put right against cake you’re going to eat.

I covered the flange with more plastic wrap and tape

To start building up the helmet, I start with a trimmed down cake board. This is the basic shape and I measured a place for the flange to fit through since it is not flush with the board.

Checking to make sure it will center nicely on the board once it has cake on it.

I start trimming my cake layers and I prefer to tort them (cut them in half) so that there is more buttercream per layer of cake.

I trim off the front of this 10″ round so there is a flat space for the 8″ round to sit snug up against. Save your scraps!

Trimming the 8″ round to fit against the 10″

The “muzzle” part of the helmet isnt going to be very tall so I don’t need to worry about the second layer of cardboard fitting over that. I make this piece only for the center part of the helmet. Remember, we’re going to trim the sides of this helmet down so you want it to be oval shaped. I should have traced the general shape from the base board.

As you’re stacking, constantly check for levelness so nothing slides apart.

After three layers of cake, I always put in a board for stability. I support the board with straws cut to length. Don’t forget to put an X in the area where the PVC pipe will slide through at the end.

Push a straw into the cake, mark the length with your finger, trim.

Cut more straws to length. You don’t need a ton

This is plenty. Be careful not to put any straws in the area where your PVC will be

More layers of buttercream

Building up the center of the mask

After three layers, add another piece of cardboard

This piece I have extend over the face mask area because I want it to support the top part of the helmet. I want this whole thing to be cake and cake won’t support itself! Plan your support structure! Don’t forget the X for the PVC. The straws, the PVC and the weight of the cake on top will be enough to hold the visor in place.

Cake all stacked and roughly shaped. I had lots of visuals printed to keep me on track. Check your carving often from every angle to see if things are straight and the same on both sides.

So remember those scraps from trimming? I hope you kept them! We’re going to make what is basically cake pop filling, which is cake scraps and buttercream mixed together. We are going to use this to build up any low spots and create roundness on the top of the helmet.

Spread on with a spatula or hands damped with water so it doesn’t stick to them

Apply a thin crumb coat of buttercream to the helmet and pop it into the freezer if you have room (for about an hour) or into the fridge for two hours or until buttercream is nice and firm on the outside.

Once buttercream is firm, apply a more generous amount of buttercream and smooth until you are happy with the shape. Don’t worry about all the little divots in the helmet and mouth piece, we’ll build those up with modeling chocolate later. Put back in the freezer or fridge to firm up once again

Time to put your cake on the board!

lift your cake up by the base and find the hole you made earlier. Slide the PVC into the hold, pressing slightly at the top of the cake so that nothing pushes out the top. The pvc should easily slid through your pre-cut X and the weight of the cake helps. If it doesnt, you will need to take your PVC off and re-cut it at an angle so that it will have a sharp end to push through the cardboard.

I trim out three places at the top where there are divots in the helmet

And crumb coat. Cake is much easier to carve when it is chilled

Roll out a big chunk of the black fondant and drape it over the cake. We’re going to trim off everything but the visor area. We want this area to be fondant so we can make it shiny

I leave a little overlap at the top and bottom

Smooth down with a fondant smoother

Next, roll out a HUGE piece of black fondant. Basically as big as you can get it. This is about 24″ across. I had to use an x-tra big rolling pin to pick it up.

Roll the fondant onto the rolling pin and drap over the cake

Ignore the divots for now and just smooth over the cake like you are covering a normal tier. Push out any trapped bubbles

Poke holes where the divots are to let air escape and push down the fondant Trimm away excess around the face mask area and the base

Smooth down with a fondant smoother and get out any bubbles but pricking with a pin and pushing out the air. All this fondant is going to be covered with modeling chocolate so it doesn’t have to be perfect

To attach modeling chocolate, I wet the fondant and start adding strips of chocolate.

I smooth down seams with a modeling tool. I bought mine on amazon.

This part is really repetitive. Just adding more chocolate, building it up, smoothing it down and trying to make it look like the photo basically

For the top I just draped a huge pice of modeling chocolate over the helmet and cut away the excess

I used fondant for the face mask accents

Getting there

Adding details to the top of the helmet

I used a damp paper towel to give the side mask area some texture so it would contrast against the shiny visor

I added some strips of black fondant all the way around the base of the helmet then added some basic texture with my modeling tool and trimmed away the excess with an x-acto knife.

To make the visor shiny (I forgot to take a photo) I mixed some corn syrup with water and some shiny gold luster dust. I brushed it onto the visor with a food safe paint brush

The reference photo I had showed blue glowing lights on the sides of the helmet and I wanted this cake to be as realistic as possible so I decided it needed some glowing LEDs in the cake for full effect!

The LEDs are flora lights I purchased from Jo-anns. I used my 40% off coupon that you get in your email when you sign up for newsletters so they were really inexpensive. They had a bunch of different colors too. I just covered them in modeling chocolate and put them on the side.  





  • Amy Juhnke

    This is amazing! I am going to use this approach to attempt a Daft Punk helmet cake for my son.

    • Amy Juhnke

      Ermmm…my whole reason for posting was to say THANK YOU!

  • Nadia du Toit

    Hi Liz. I’m going to TRY this cake for my son’s birthday in 2 weeks but I will scale down the cake sizes to 8″ & 6″(not enough people to eat a life size helmet

  • elfchef

    I love your work and am a huge fan! I am making a ‘Bane’ cake (He’s the villan from the darknight rises) your photo tutorial is a great help!

  • Krista

    You are amazing! That is all… :)

  • Valerie Leah

    Hi I am attempting to make this cake for my sons birthday.. Its the only cake he wants :) I have a few questions for you, do you think 6″&8″ pans would work also? I just don’t need this much cake and can’t see wasting it. Also are all the layers below the visor 10″ or are the middle ones 8″? My laptop is broken and the tiny pics on my phone are hard to see exactly what you’re doing so I’m mostly going from reading.Thank you so much for any help! I’m by no means a baker but I love making my kids cakes personal and memorable :)

    • artisancakes

      yes you can use smaller pans :) I think the middle ones where 10″ but you can always scale down a cake :) Have fun!

      • Valerie Leah

        Thank you!!

  • Godiva

    So kind of you to share! Great photo tutorial

  • Little Tweet Heart

    My god that’s fantastic!!

    • artisancakes

      thanks so much!

  • Jacquie D

    This is awesome! I might try this for my boyfriends birthday (after I make myself a Tardis cake, which was also to die for). My question is a little more generic. How do you carve a cake that has cardboard running through it? I’m assuming people actually do EAT these works of art at some point, right? Thanks!

    • artisancakes

      You only cut down to the cardboard and serve the top half of the cake, then remove the cardboard and serve the bottom half.

  • Jo Stewart

    oh no please help!!!! my modelling chocolate has gone super oily!! is it ruined or can it still be saved?

  • Ashley P

    Hello! I’m new to the cake world and I absolutely admire your work. I’m making a cake similar to this and I was curious how you shaded the green modeling chocolate (what you used) and if you have and suggestions on how to make it shiny to look like metal.

    • artisancakes

      I used leaf green and some brown to make it a toned down version of green and a little yellow I believe. You add the color to the corn syrup when you’re making the modeling chocolate. Use luster dusts (google it) to brush them on when you’re done with a soft clean make-up brush to give it shine

      • Ashley P

        Perfect! Thank you so much for your reply. I really looking forward to seeing how this cake turns out. Your website and tips have helped me grow so much artistically in my cake decorating. You truly are an amazing artist. Thank you again! :)

  • Crystal

    I know how to make modeling chocolate from Lauren’s kitchen and her class on Craftsy but can you explain again on how you got that exact color for the Helmet? Thanks! Great tutorial by the way!

    • artisancakes

      Sure thing, I melted half chocolate, half white chocolate chips and then added leaf green, yellow and a little black food color to the corn syrup. Heated it up for 20 seconds and then added it to the chocolate

      • Crystal

        Ok great thank you! I was thinking of just using the green Wilton’s chocolate but wasn’t sure if it would give me the look I want! Thanks again and your cake is awesome!

        • artisancakes

          You definitely need to add some yellow and black to to get that mossy green color

          • Crystal

            Got it will do thanks for all your help!

  • Beata

    Hi Elizabeth, i have been reading and studying your tutorial over and over and always learn something new ;) Can i ask if you need to put something on your hands to smooth the chocolate on the helmet? just like gumpaste- to keep it sooth i put shortning. Thank you again for sharing, this is amazing… have a nice day ;)

    • artisancakes

      I didn’t have to. I used half dark chocolate and half white chocolate for my modeling chocolate recipe and it makes a smoother chocolate in my opinion. 1 cup per 2 lbs of melted chocolate :)

      • Beata

        Thank you so much ;)

  • Ade Deni

    Liz… this is totally awesome!!! What a work!
    Thank you for sharing this ;)
    xx Ade

    • artisancakes

      You’re welcome! Glad you liked it :)

  • Cindy

    OK, I want to donate again to thank you for sharing, but I can’t find the link! I am so computer illiterate sometimes…..(and this is AMAZING!)

    • artisancakes

      Haha no it’s not you, I just only post the link when people ask… don’t want to sound too demanding lol http://www.tumblr.com/blog/ivfbabyfund Thank you!

      • Cindy

        Thanks, done! <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/mel.todd.988 Mel Todd

    Thank you Liz your awesome, and I just love all of your work and soooo nice to share how you do things really really appreciate everything you do. <3 Melanie

    • artisancakes

      Glad you liked it!