Halloween Spider Black Velvet Cake

I volunteered to make a cake for a Halloween-themed party. Kids would be there and adults.  Something scary would not work.  Something too kiddy-like also would not work.  I settled on an orange-black themed cake with a spider-web top.

There were a lot of steps to get through, though luckily, the steps were pretty easy,  A moist chocolate layer cake was what I was after, plus some orange color for the frosting and a slimy looking, drippy chocolate topping.  Most of all, I wanted a tasty cake!  I also wanted to try out some cake decorating skills.  The results?  Yes, it was a tasty cake.  As for the decoration–it’s supposed to be spooky, so the messier the spookier, right?  In any event, it worked for the party.  Both kids and adults tried out the cake–whew.

The first step was to make the batter with eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vinegar.  If using black coloring, add it now–which I actually I didn’t do in this case.  I had dark cocoa and wanted to stick with that for the cake to have a deeper color.  (OK, so I cheated this time.)

I added in a melted chocolate-espresso mixture.

I divided the batter between two 9-inch pans and baked the cakes in the oven for about 30-35 minutes.

Then it was time to make the cream cheese frosting.  For a future, non-Halloween-themed cake, I could just leave out the coloring and stick to white frosting.

But for this cake, I needed to add orange gel coloring.

I cut the cakes in half to make four layers.  It’s always tricky to cut the cakes evenly all the way around!  I had to trim off the tops of the cakes to take off the dome so that there would be a flat top.  This step gave me a chance to taste the cake to make sure it was OK.  After getting my fill of cake scraps, I frosted the layers.

I then frosted the top and sides of the cake.  Despite my best efforts, the cake was still lopsided and my frosting job wasn’t the smoothest.  Luckily, some of these imperfections would be covered up by the next step:  the ganache.  Notice my cake plate was the oh-so-elegant cake carrier that I was going to use to take the cake to the party!!

To make the ganache, I first heated heavy whipping cream and butter, brought it just to a boil, and then poured it over the chocolate chips.  I started stirring from the middle and worked my way outward until the mixture was smooth and shiny.

 

 

I let the ganache sit a bit so that it thickened.  Then I poured it over the cake.

I used a spoon to push the ganache from the top of the cake so that it flowed down the sides.  This way, I was able to get a gooey, drip effect.

Then it came time to prepare the glaze to make the spider web.  It’s just a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and milk.  I piped a spiral (an uneven spiral).  Shaky circles are creepy looking, so I wasn’t worried about it!

Using a bamboo skewer, I lightly drew “lines” starting from the middle and going outward.

I did this all the way around the cake.

And that’s it!

It’s a semi-creepy cake ready to get packed up to go to the party!

 

Print Recipe
Halloween Spider Black Velvet Cake
2017 © HollyTrail.com
Course Dessert
Cook Time 30-35 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
For the Cake
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (e.g., canola, but not olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon black gel food coloring (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/2 cup grated semi-sweet chocolate (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, dark
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (8 ounces or 2 sticks) room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (regular, not fat free or light) room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • orange gel food coloring (amount dependent upon desired color intensity)
For the Ganache
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped)
Icing
  • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 3 teaspoons milk
Course Dessert
Cook Time 30-35 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
For the Cake
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (e.g., canola, but not olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon black gel food coloring (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/2 cup grated semi-sweet chocolate (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, dark
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (8 ounces or 2 sticks) room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (regular, not fat free or light) room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • orange gel food coloring (amount dependent upon desired color intensity)
For the Ganache
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped)
Icing
  • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 3 teaspoons milk
Instructions
Make the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 320°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add oil, vinegar, buttermilk, and black food coloring (optional).
  2. In a small bowl, vigorously mix by hand the hot, dissolved espresso and grated chocolate until smooth and pour into egg mixture. Mix briefly with electric mixer to combine.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda.
  4. While mixing egg mixture at low speed, add in flour mixture in 3 additions and mix until just combined and batter is smooth. Divide batter among prepared baking pans.
  5. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Invert cakes onto wire rack and remove parchment paper. Let cool completely. Trim the tops off the cakes to remove the domes (if any).
Frosting the Cake
  1. Using an electric mixer, whip butter until fluffy. Add cream cheese and whip until fluffy. Add confectioner's sugar in two additions on medium speed until incorporated. Whip on high speed until fluffy and pale. Add vanilla extract and orange food coloring (start with a half teaspoon of color and add more until the desired color is reached).
  2. Cut each cake layer in half horizontally so that there are a total of 4 layers. Place one layer on a cake platter, and spread the layer with about 3/4 cups of frosting using an off-set spatula. Place the second layer on top and frost with another 3/4 cups of frosting. Repeat with the third layer. Top with the fourth layer and use remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Make the Ganache
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream and butter until reaches a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes. Stir cream and chocolate vigorously until the chocolate has fully melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool to thicken, about 7-10 minutes. While cooling, prepare glaze for the spider web design.
  2. Pour ganache over the center of the cake and, with the help of an off-set spatula, spread the ganache to cover the top of the cake and then drip down the sides. Do not spread the sides of the cake. Immediately make the spider web design.
Spider Web Design
  1. By hand, vigorously mix confectioner's sugar and milk until smooth. Add a small amount of milk if too thick (1/2 teaspoon at a time). If too thin, add some more confectioner's sugar (no more than 1/4 cup at a time).
  2. Fill a pastry bag or squeeze bottle with icing.
  3. Starting from the center, pipe a spiral around the top of the cake. Using a bamboo skewer or toothpick, and starting from the center, draw a shallow line from the center to the edge of the cake, dragging some of the white icing into the ganache. Repeat around the cake in regular intervals, like spokes on a wheel, to make a web effect. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.
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