It’s that time of year again when the ghosties and ghoolies come out to play, just as the leaves are starting to turn orange and the cold, dark nights draw in. Spiders webs glisten like diamonds in the frost and snarling pumpkins light the way… So why not get into that Halloween mood by baking this delightfully spooky cake to add way more treats than tricks to your day. The webs are marshmallow, the spider, fondant and hidden within is indulgent chocolate butter icing which holds light, moist cake in position. I have added instructions for both a checker-board cake (as shown in the photos below) and a plain sponge cake as well, if you fancy something a little simpler.
400g caster sugar
400g softened butter
6 eggs beaten
1tsp baking powder
2tsp vanilla essence
Two colours of food dye or one colour and 75g of good quality cocoa (optional)
Chocolate butter icing:
250g unsalted butter (Room temp)
200g Icing sugar.
50g Cocoa powder
Icing and decoration:
200g Ready made black fondant icing.
3 Edible eyes
100g White marshmallows
If you are baking just a basic sponge cake, without the checker-board pattern skip numbers 5 and 6.
- Preheat the oven to 200oC and grease three large, circular cake pans.
Cream the butter and caster sugar together in a large bowl, until the butter looks fluffy.
- Add in the eggs, baking powder and vanilla essence and stir until well combined.
- Sift in the flour and stir until the mix is a smooth consistency.
- Move 1/3 of the mix into another large bowl and add a different coloured food colour into each, adding in and stirring until the desired effect is created. I went with green and orange but feel free to use what ever colours you like!
- Place one colour (1/3 of the mix) into one cake pan and fill the other two with the other colour.
- If not doing a checker-board cake then just split the cake mix between the three cake tins.
- Bake for around 20 mins each, checking after 15 mins. When the sponge cake is cooked it will bounce back when lightly pressed and will be golden brown. (If its a child doing this recipe then please ask an adult to do all the parts of the recipe that require ovens or sharp knives).
- When they are cooked, let them cool for 10 mins and using oven gloves carefully tip them out onto a cooling rack. Let them cool fully before icing them otherwise the icing will melt and make a mess.
- This is best done with an electric hand mixer.
Place all of the butter icing ingredients into a large bowl and mix together until smooth.
- Cover it with cling film and place in the refrigerator until 5 mins before its needed.
Making the cake up and decorating:
- If you are making a basic, uncoloured sponge cake then please skip steps one and two.
- Cutting around two different sized bowls (think a ramekin and a cereal bowl for example) cut each cake into three circles. Look at the photos below for guidance. Then sandwich them together so that they are in a dart board like pattern, Colour A in the centre followed by B and the A on the outside.
- Trim the tops slightly so they are quite flat (doesn’t have to be perfect).
- Carefully stick the bottom layer to a cake board using a tiny bit of butter icing and cover the top of that layer in a thin coating of butter cream.Put the next layer on top of the first (colours should be reversed if doing a checker-board cake) and cover that in a thin layer of butter icing. Place on the last layer of cake and make sure that all the edges line up with each other.
- Cover the outside of the cake with the rest of the butter icing, smoothing it as you go. Don’t worry if it’s not completely smooth, it’s a Halloween cake so a few lumps and bumps will add to the spookiness!
- Place the cake in the fridge for thirty minutes so that the icing sets enough to give a good base for the fondant and then remove it from the fridge.
- Open and knead the black fondant until it is soft and then roll it into a ball.
Dust a large work top with icing sugar and using a rolling-pin roll it out so it’s about 1cm thick. Then dust the top of the fondant with more icing sugar. Drape it over the top of the cake and smooth it down gently with either your hand or a fondant smoothing tool so that it covers all the cake. Try and get it as bump free as possible but again don’t worry as it being a bit uneven adds to its spookiness.
- Trim off the excess fondant using a sharp knife.
- Using the left over fondant make a 5cm ball, a 15cm ball and 8 thin sausage shapes. These will be your spiders head, body and legs. Place the little circle on one end of the larger circle and then using a little water stick 4 legs on each side of the larger circle and put the three edible eyes on the smaller circle. Allow to dry.
- Microwave the marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl for 20 seconds and then allow them to cool until they can be easily handled without burning.
- Take small handfuls and stretch them between your fingers (very messy but also very fun) and drape it over the cake at random. Do this several more times until you are satisfied with how it looks, no worries if they are all of different thicknesses. find a place for your spider to live and allow the marshmallow to set. It is best to prepare the marshmallows as close to serving time as possible as they tend to get quick sticky if left out too long.
- Loosely cover with cling film and store in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator).
Now go get spooking….
Thank you for reading.