I love reading, or if not reading at least flicking through all the supermarket food magazines. I’m often tempted by the pictures first and that was exactly what happened with this Halloween cake. It’s the cake that was pictured on the cover of this month’s Waitrose Kitchen magazine. Every time I caught sight of the front of the magazine I wanted to make this cake. Well, I wanted to eat it, and if I was going to have a chance of eating it, I had to make it first.
How could I resist it? Three layers of chocolaty red velvet cake sandwiched together with sweet cream cheese icing and smothered in a dark chocolate ganache. It sounded as wonderful as it looked. Normally I just don’t have time to make these type of cakes. I need to be seriously seriously tempted and that is exactly what I was, plus some friends were coming round for lunch and that is always an excuse for cake.
I can’t help saying this but every time I make a cake with any kind of decoration on at all I have such a good time and immediately want to make another cake just so I can play with decorating it. This cake gave me the chance to pipe with chocolate for the first time. I’m glad it was just a spiders web as I know it would have been impossible for me to pipe anything that needed a more controlled design. The chocolate came out really quickly so I just needed to move the piping bag round and round. My web does look a little more spindly than the one in the magazine but it was fun to do and I was impressed by how good the cake looked in the end. Maybe if I’d been a little more ambitious I would also have tried piping a spider climbing up onto the cake but I didn’t want to ruin what I’d done.
Yes, the cake looked good and I was a little proud of myself but it also tasted good. The cake was moist, not just in the middle but all the way to the edges, the icing in the middle was lovely but not too thick and the chocolate ganache coating was like eating chocolate truffle. The only thing that I was slightly disappointed about was that the red velvet colour was very very subtle. I think you’d only know it was red velvet if someone told you. Well, at least that is only cosmetic. Apart from that, this is possibly the best tasting cake I’ve ever ever made. If you have time before Halloween to have a go then do, and if not, why not make it after Halloween anyway.
Ingredients for the cake
350g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2.5 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tsp vanillla extract
1tbsp white wine vinegar
20g red gel food colour
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Icing
120g cream cheese
120g icing sugar
Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache Icing
300ml double cream
250g dark chocolate
1.5 tbsp liquid glucose
50g white chocolate
How to Make the Ultimate Halloween Cake
1. Put the oven on to 170c to preheat. Grease and line a deep 20cm cake tin.
2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt.
3. Cream together the butter and the sugar. I used an electric food mixer. Beat for about a minute.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time and keep beating after each one. Then add the vanilla.
5. Add about 1/4 of the dry ingredients. Beat together then add 1/3 of the buttermilk. Repeat until you have beaten all the dry ingredients and the buttermilk together.
6. Finally stir the food colour and vinegar together and add them to the cake mixture. Beat in until the mixture has all turned a pinky red colour without any streaks.
7. Pour the cake mixture into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about an hour. It is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
8. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
9. Make the cream cheese icing by beating together the butter, cream cheese and icing sugar.
10. Take the cake out of the tin and slice into three layers horizontally.
11. Spread the icing on top of the bottom and middle layers. Put the layers back together and put the cake in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes for the icing to set.
12. To make the chocolate ganache icing put the dark chocolate, cream and liquid glucose in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Keep giving it a stir until all the chocolate has melted. At the same time melt the white chocolate in a different bowl.
13. With the cake on a wire rack, pour the dark chocolate icing over the cake and use a palate knife to smooth it over the top and sides of the cake.
14. Put the white chocolate in a small piping bag or a plastic food bag. Snip off the corner and starting in the centre of the cake, pipe a chocolate spiral onto the top of the cake.
15. Using a cocktail stick or a thin knife, drag it through the chocolate starting in the centre of the cake.
16. Put it in the fridge to set. Before serving, take the cake out of the fridge to come to room temperature.