Halloween is just around the corner and it’s interesting to see how this holiday has taken off in S.A. over the last few years. When I was a child Halloween was a holiday we saw in movies and on t.v. shows but never celebrated ourselves. This year my kids want to dress up and many neighbourhoods are organising (socially distanced) trick or treating. I decided that I would create a “spooktacular” cake to mark the occasion and for a bit of fun!
This Halloween cake consists of three layers of soft red velvet cake all covered in chocolate cream cheese icing. The spooky spiderweb is made from melted marshmallows, and along with a spooky spider or two I’ve added a few chocolatey ghosts for good measure. A bit of fun and a delicious Halloween treat to share with friends and family.
Before you start:
- The cake has three layers, but if you only have one or two tins simply reuse them to make the layers. Just make sure that the same amount of batter goes into each tin so that the layers are even.
- I took inspiration from this tutorial by Juniper Cakery when it came to making the spiders, but you can be as creative as you like and make them however you wish!
- the melted marshmallow is extremely sticky and hardens quickly, so I find it’s best to melt the marshmallows in two batches when decorating the cake and to use gloves.
- applying the melted marshmallow is much easier when the icing on the cake has set, so don’t skip this step.
- to save time the decorations can be made in advance.
SPOOKY SPIDERWEB CAKE
For the cake:
- 4 large eggs
- 400g castor sugar
- 350ml sunflower oil
- 350ml buttermilk
- 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
- 7.5ml (1½ tsp) red gel food colouring
- 350g flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 20ml (4 tsp) baking powder
- pinch of salt
For the chocolate cream cheese icing:
- 130g butter, softened
- 250g full fat cream cheese
- 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
- 500g icing sugar
- 40g cocoa powder
- black gel food colouring
- 70g white chocolate, melted
- 4 skewers
- black fondant icing, for ghost eyes and spiders
- 12 white marshmallows
1.) Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line and grease three 20cm round cake tins.
2.) Beat the eggs and castor sugar together for a few minutes until pale and the mixture has thickened slightly. Add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract and red food colouring and whisk to combine.
3.) Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Whisk together until just combined.
4.) Divide the cake batter between the three tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Set the cakes aside to cool completely.
5.) While the cakes are cooling you can prepare your decorations. Place one of the skewers on a piece of baking paper. Drizzle the white chocolate in a ghost shape over the top of the stick. Use black fondant to make the eyes and mouth and attach these to the chocolate while it is still wet. Repeat with the remaining chocolate and sticks and put aside to set. Use the black fondant icing to mould the spiders.
6.) To make the icing beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla essence. Sift in half of the icing sugar and gently whisk it into the butter. Sift in the remaining icing sugar and cocoa and beat together into a thick icing. Add a few drops of black food colouring to darken the icing.
7.) Place one of the cakes on your serving plate and spread one quarter of the icing evenly on top. Place another cake on top, and spread another quarter of the icing on top of this one. Place the third cake on top and use a quarter of the icing to spread a thin crumb coat over the top and sides of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes (or the freezer for 20 minutes) until the crumb coat has set. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. Place the cake back in the fridge to set.
8.) Place six of the marshmallows in a bowl and microwave them for 5-10 seconds or until melted. Allow the melted marshmallow to cool slightly so you don’t burn your fingers, then take a small amount, stretch it out and wrap it around the cake to create web like patterns. Keep going until you have used all the melted marshmallow, then repeat with the remaining six marshmallows.
9.) Decorate the cake with your ghosts and spiders and serve, BOO!