Dark cocoa powder
Light brown sugar (muscovado)
1 1/3 cup
1 1/4 cups, softened, plus more for greasing
1 cup, chopped
Medium free-range eggs
6, cold, beaten
Vanilla bean extract
1 3/4 cup
For peanut buttercream:
1 cup, softened
Smooth peanut butter
3 1/2 cups
1 cup, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup
The Ultimate Halloween Cake
2 h 0 m
2 h 30 m
- Preheat the oven to 338° F (170° C/Gas mark 3 1/2) Prepare 3 round cake pans.
- Place cocoa powder, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Add boiling water. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- In a pan, melt butter and the remaining brown sugar over low heat until dissolved. Add 1 cup chocolate and melt, stirring.
- Remove from heat. Pour in the espresso mixture, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
- Sift plain flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Pour over the chocolate mixture with 1 pinch salt. Carefully mix until smooth.
- Divide the mixture between baking pans. Level with a spatula.
- 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.
- 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.
- With a serrated knife, level the tops of the cooled cakes.
- 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.
- Then, cover the cake with a smooth layer of the rest of the icing. Return the cake to the fridge.
- 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.
- Pipe the ganache generously around the edge of the cake. Cover the top with the remaining ganache. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Top with Meringue Ghosts if desired. Serve and enjoy your Halloween Cake!