Servings: 20
Dark cocoa powder 
3 oz
Light brown sugar (muscovado)
12 oz
Espresso powder
1 tbsp
Boiling water 
1 1/3 cup
Unsalted butter 
1 1/4 cups, softened, plus more for greasing
Dark chocolate 
1 cup, chopped
Medium free-range eggs 
6, cold, beaten
Vanilla bean extract 
1 tbsp
Plain flour 
 1 3/4 cup
Baking soda
1 tsp
Baking powder 
1 tsp
1 pinch
For peanut buttercream:
Unsalted butter 
1 cup, softened
Smooth peanut butter 
1 cup
Icing sugar 
3 1/2 cups
Vanilla extract 
1 tsp
Sea salt 
1/2 tsp
2 tbsp
For ganache:
Dark chocolate 
 1 cup, finely chopped
Double cream 
1 1/2 cup
The Ultimate Halloween Cake
30 m
2 h 0 m
Ready in:
2 h 30 m
  1. Preheat the oven to 338° F (170° C/Gas mark 3 1/2) Prepare 3 round cake pans. 
  2. Place cocoa powder, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Add boiling water. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. 
  3. In a pan, melt butter and the remaining brown sugar over low heat until dissolved. Add 1 cup chocolate and melt, stirring.
  4. Remove from heat. Pour in the espresso mixture, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  5. Sift plain flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Pour over the chocolate mixture with 1 pinch salt. Carefully mix until smooth. 
  6. Divide the mixture between baking pans. Level with a spatula.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until the sponges have risen. Use a skewer to check for doneness: insert it in the center and check if it comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the baking pans. Turn out onto a wire rack to let them cool completely.
  8. Peanut buttercream: In a mixing bowl, whip 1 cup butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer until the mixture is fluffy. Gradually, add icing sugar, whisking between every addition, until the mixture is smooth and stiff. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp salt, and milk. The mixture should spread easily; add more milk if necessary. 
  9. With a serrated knife, level the tops of the cooled cakes.
  10. Place 1 tsp buttercream in the center of a cake plate. Place 1 cake in the center. Top with a thin layer of buttercream. Repeat the process with the remaining cakes until the cakes are stacked on top of each other. Smooth a layer of buttercream all over the cake. Then, refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.
  11. Then, cover the cake with a smooth layer of the rest of the icing. Return the cake to the fridge. 
  12. Meanwhile, make the ganache. Put 1 cup of dark chocolate in a large bowl. Pour double cream in a pan set over medium heat. Bring the cream to a boil. Pour it over the dark chocolate. Allow to stand for 2 minutes. Stir until melted. Transfer to a pastry bag.
  13. Pipe the ganache generously around the edge of the cake. Cover the top with the remaining ganache. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
  14. Top with Meringue Ghosts if desired. Serve and enjoy your Halloween Cake!