This cake isn’t as creepy as it looks: The drips are blood orange curd. The killer idea comes from California-based baker Karl Fong, who won last season’s Halloween Baking Championship with a bleeding zombie cake. Just make the recipe below and spoon it over a simple vanilla-frosted layer cake.
Rub together the grated zest of 1/2 orange and 1/4 cup sugar with your fingertips; set aside.
Bring 1 3/4 cups blood orange juice and 1/4 cup lemon juice to a boil in a saucepan. In a large bowl, whisk 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch and a pinch of salt; whisk in 6 egg yolks and the zest mixture. Slowly whisk in the hot juice, then return to the pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat; gradually whisk in 6 tablespoons cut-up butter.
Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve and tint with red food coloring. Before using, chill until set, at least 4 hours.