Can’t Cook, Will Cook: Cyanide and Happiness Cake

cyanide and happiness
Dead man cake driving.

Our good friend SupaSambo celebrated her birthday this weekend. We’d be lost without Sambo. Not only is she baba’s Godmother, she’s also our babysitter extraordinaire, so we wanted to give her something special.

While trying to think of ideas for birthday presents, the husband suggested making a Cyanide and Happiness cake. He and Sam have something of a text affair going on. They send each other a Cyanide and Happiness cartoon every day for the craic. This is where the idea for the cake came from – it was a joke about a joke.

Here he is for reference. The funny green little man.
Here he is for reference. The funny green little man.

We had to wait till the Little Miss was asleep before we could get baking. Her new bedtime routine is that there isn’t one, so on this night it was 10pm before we could get batter mixing.

Baking always reminds me of my Mam. She’s a fan of whipping up apple tarts for no reason at all and they are the nicest tarts you’ll ever taste. Unfortunately, as you’ll be aware by now, this talent in the kitchen was not passed down to me.

We had a bit of fun whisking up the cake mixture, baking it and soldering together our two cake boards, because Mr. Cyanide turned out to be pretty tall. Luckily the cake tins I’d bought were miraculously sized in proportion to the cartoon character, so the whole thing was pretty easy peasy. That doesn’t mean it worked out well though – I do have a reputation to keep up.

cyanide and happiness
Can you spot my little helper?

The next day, it was time to get icing. I’ve never had much luck with icing. Anytime I’ve tried, it’s always turned into a watery mess. I’d add packets of the powdery sugar, trying to rescue my sodden attempt at dessert, but always to no avail. On this occasion I added margarine to cream and icing sugar and whipped it up. It tasted… margariney. (Yuck, sounds like a cocktail, tastes like puke).

The green icing was worse. I whipped up a large bowl of cream and poured food colouring into it. I thought it would only need a few drops, but they made no difference to the colour at all, so I had to pour the whole bottle in. The WHOLE THING. The result? Disgusting green icing. Apparently you’re supposed to add the food colouring to the sugar first. Who knew?

cyanide and happiness
Dead man cake driving.

The final touch was the blood to the head. I couldn’t find red food dye, which has been my original plan so being the genius that he is, himself suggested red syrup. Bingo!

I bought the syrup on the way into town to drop off the cake at Dvine, where we were celebrating. I squirted it on his head and then watched it slowly trickle off his head and flow onto the car seat, as I drove.

cyanide and happiness
The birthday girl herself. Beautiful!

Sambo was super excited when the cake arrived. Thrilled. Chuffed. Really delighted that we’d made the special effort. I was not so chuffed when our lovely waitress arrived with ten small plates and a big carving knife. The cake was actually going to be served.

I tried to warn them. Sam tasted the green icing and although I didn’t photograph her expression, it resembled this picture I did capture of my daughter eating a lemon during the week.

#augustlilyNot to be defeated, she went ahead and sliced into the head instead, and everyone had a slice of pure margarine put in front of them. Warily I watched each of my (closest) friends taste the cake, attempt to hide their wince, take another obligatory bite or two and then push the plate away. Some said they liked it. Lying.

The cake part was grand. The icing wasn’t. Here is my recipe, I’d advise you find out how to make edible icing from someone who isn’t me.


  • Two cups of self raising flour (200g)
  • Three eggs
  • 7oz margarine
  • Vanilla extract
  • Splash of milk


  • Whipping cream
  • Icing suger
  • Food dye
  • Butter or margarine (don’t do it)


Sieve the flour and add to the eggs and margarine. Beat using electric mixer. Or if you’ve muscles and loads of time, a wooden spoon. Add a splash of milk and continue to mix. Mix in some drops of vanilla extract; this hides the taste of the eggs. When batter feels lighter (like you’ve got the air in there) the cake should be ready to go. Pour into cake tin and bake in oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees. Voila, a cake.


I beat the margarine and cream together, adding icing sugar in parts. The consistency was fine, but the taste was bleugh. There has to be a better way. I’ve already outlined the green icing above. Again, please consult Mary Berry or another real baker. I’m sure they’ll tell you how it should be done.

cyanide and happiness
Still proud.

December Girl is now available on Audio. Visit Amazon or Audible or click on the cover below to download.

December Girl audiobook
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