This post was created for #HalloweenTreatsWeek! I was sent products by some of the sponsor companies but as always, opinions are 100% mine.
This Halloween layer cake has three layers of rich chocolate cake, and is covered in orange-tinted Swiss buttercream, a ganache glaze, and Halloween Sweets and Treats sprinkles.
When celebrating anything—a birthday, a wedding, a holiday—it doesn’t really feel like a celebration without cake. Which is why I made this Halloween layer cake.
So, the cake. Three layers of chocolate cake. And not just any chocolate cake. The most decadent, moistest chocolate cake you’ve ever had. The coffee in this recipe helps to bring out the flavor of the chocolate, without actually adding any coffee flavor.
Then, it’s iced in the best buttercream: Swiss. There are five types of buttercream, Italian, French, Swiss, German and American. American is also referred to as “simple” buttercream because there’s no cooked sugar syrup in the frosting.
Italian, Swiss and French all require a cooked sugar syrup. Italian buttercream uses a sugar-and-water syrup that is gradually added to beaten egg whites before adding the butter. It is the most difficult buttercream to make, but it is the most stable (holds up well to heat; doesn’t melt easily).
Swiss buttercream is less technically difficult, but nearly as stable as Italian buttercream. It’s also less sweet than American buttercream, so if you find American buttercream cloying, this is a good one to try.
Swiss buttercream also holds up really well when used for piping. Between the orange frosting and the chocolate glaze, this Halloween layer cake doesn’t need any fancy decoration, just a few quick rosettes and shells.
After frosting the cake, the cake gets a glaze of chocolate ganache, just to add to the over-the-top richness. The chilled buttercream sets the ganache as it drips down the sides of the cake. A few pipes of buttercream and scattering of sprinkles, and you have a gorgeous, party-ready cake!
Sweets and Treats has a few Halloween sprinkle mixes to choose from. I used the Haunted House mix, but the Monster Mash mix would look great, too. You could also sprinkle on a few shaped candy sprinkles, like bones or pumpkins.
For the cake
- 3 cups (12.75 oz) all-purpose flour
- 3 cups (21 oz) sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (4.5 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups strongly-brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream
- 9 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 cups (14 oz) sugar
- 1 lb unsalted butter, soft but still cool
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 oz white chocolate, melted
- 20 drops orange gel food coloring
- 5 drops red gel food coloring
- 5 drops yellow food coloring
For the glaze
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 7 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
- Sweets and Treats Haunted House Sprinkle Mix
Make the cake
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 9-inch cake pans with baking release spray (nonstick cooking spray with added flour).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, vegetable oil and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir on low speed until all of the dry ingredients are moistened, then beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl about halfway through mixing.
- Divide the batter between the three prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on the wire rack completely.
Make the buttercream
- Bring about an inch of water to a simmer in a small saucepan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and sugar.
- Set the mixing bowl over the simmering water. Use a handheld mixer with beater attachments (or whisk by hand) to continuously beat the mixture while heating the whites and sugar, until the sugar dissolves (you should not feel any grittiness when rubbing the whites mixture between your fingers).
- Once the sugar dissolves, place the mixing bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy, and the outside of the bowl reaches room temperature.
- Lower the speed to medium-low, and begin adding the butter, 2 tbsp at a time at first, mixing until fully incorporated before adding more. As you get closer to the end, reduce the additions to 1 tbsp chunks.
- Once all of the butter is added, return the speed to medium-high, and beat until the buttercream becomes smooth and silky (about 5 minutes of mixing). If it doesn't, chill the mixing bowl and whip attachment for 10 minutes, then continue whipping until the buttercream comes together.
- Beat in the vanilla, then the white chocolate, and beat until fully and evenly incorporated.
- Begin to add the food coloring, a little at a time, beating to fully incorporate before adding more, until it reaches the color you want (remember that the color will darken as the frosting sets.
- Level each cake by using a serrated knife to cut off any domed parts from the top of each cake.
- Place one cake, cut-side down, on a cake board. Frost with 1/2 cup of the buttercream.
- Place another cake, cut-side up, on top of the first cake. Frost with another 1/2 cup of frosting.
- Place the third cake cut-side down. Spread a very thin layer of frosting on top, and around the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until well-chilled, about 30 minutes.
- Spread a thicker layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate about 15 minutes, then use the plain side of a cake comb to smooth the icing.
- Refrigerate while you make the chocolate glaze.
Make the glaze
- Place the chocolate chips in a glass or metal bowl.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Watch it carefully and bring it to scalding (small bubbles form at the edge of the pan). WIth this small amount of cream, it will happen quickly.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let stand for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth.
- Place an offset spatula near the cake. Pour the glaze over the center of the cake, and use the offset spatula to guide the glaze to the edges of the cake and allow it to spill over. Work quickly, because the chilled cake will quickly set the ganache.
- Fit a piping bag with an open-star piping tip. Fill halfway with orange frosting. Pipe rosettes all around the edge of the top of the cake, and pipe shells around the bottom edge of the cake.
- Shake the sprinkle mix over the top of the cake.
- Chill until ready to serve.
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Ateco 1447 Decorating Comb & Icing Smoother, 4 Sided
Wilton Excelle Elite 3-Tier Cooling Rack for Cookies, Cakes and More
Wilton Disposable 16-Inch Decorating Bags, 12 Pack
Ateco Professional Offset Spatula Set
KitchenAid 7-Speed Digital Hand Mixer
KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 693 Total Fat: 49g Saturated Fat: 26g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 20g Cholesterol: 128mg Sodium: 663mg Carbohydrates: 55g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 25g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 12g
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