I took part in a coffee morning at work last week to raise money for Macmillan Cancer and as it was almost Halloween I thought this comedy cake would be fun! It was super easy and something that could be done with kids on a Sunday afternoon.
I used an old favourite chocolate cake recipe – Nigella Lawson’s sour cream chocolate cake.
FOR THE CAKE
- 200 grams plain flour
- 200 grams caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 40 grams best-quality cocoa powder
- 175 grams soft unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 150 millilitres sour cream
FOR THE ICING
- 75 grams unsalted butter
- 175 grams best quality dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)
- 300 grams icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup
- 125 millilitres sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- White sugar paste
- Black sugar paste
- Orange sugar paste
- Green sugar paste or Holly green gel colour
- Oblong chocolate covered biscuits (I used Bahlsen Milk Choco Leibniz)
- Icing sugar and tiny water
- Silver sugar balls
- Sugar cake decorations, shaped into cat nose
1) Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees
2) Line and butter two 8 inch sandwich tins
3) I used Nigella’s favoured all in one method, but popping all the cake ingredients into a free standing mixer and letting it do it’s magic, stopping only for a moment to run a spatula around the edge to make sure all was well mixed
4) Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 25-35 minutes, checking first after 20 minutes and keep an eye on it
5) Cool the cake thoroughly on a cooling rack
6) Whilst the cake is cooling, make the ganache.
7) To make the ganache, melt the butter and chocolate and set aside to cool slightly
8) Sieve the icing sugar
9) Mix together the syrup, sour cream and vanilla extract
10) Combine all ingredients, starting with a small amount of cream initially and then add everything else. The key to making a successful ganache is having everything at room temperature, most importantly the cream must not be direct from the fridge, otherwise the chocolate mixture may seize and become impossible to use
11) Once the cake is completely cool, put a generous amount of ganache onto the first sponge, sandwich the next on top. Then pour plenty of ganache on top, smoothing out with a large palate knife on the top and down the sides, until the whole cake is covered
12) For the decoration I put some icing sugar into a bowl with a small amount of water and whisked fiercely until the right consistency to pipe, then piped RIP and BOO onto a few biscuits and once icing was set I pushed these into the ganache on the cake and put in the fridge overnight to set
13) After that I made a number of different items and you can just make whatever you would like to, I made; 2 cats, 4 ghosts (though only used two on the cake) and two pumpkins.
For the cats
I took the black sugar paste and rolled into two balls, one smaller than the other, then I pinched the smaller one in the corners to make ears and stuck on top of the bigger ball slightly to the left. Then I rolled out a thin sausage shape and trimmed it to the appropriate tail length and adhered to the cat.
I then pressed two silver sugar balls into the face of the cat for eyes, a sugar topping shape for the nose and trimmed some wire for whiskers. Then I set aside to dry out as much as possible overnight.
For the ghosts
I took a smaller ball of white sugar paste and dusted the surface with a small amount of icing sugar and roll out (turning each time) into a rough circle, then grab an appropriate sized piece of white sugar paste and shaped it into a large sausage shape, slightly tapering at the end, then draped the thin sugar paste circle over the top, pressing down gently on the top and arranging the folds as artfully as possible.
I then pressed two silver sugar balls into the face of the ghost for eyes, and set aside to dry out overnight.
I made more ghosts than I needed to make sure I would have at least two which would survive travelling on the train to central London(!)
For the pumpkins
I took a ball of the orange sugar paste and shaped into a rough globe shape and then used an apple corer to push down and draw the grooves lightly into the pumpkin but you could do this with a knife or scalpel.
I then took some white sugar paste and coloured it with some holly green gel and worked it in, I then made two small sausages with the green paste and laid over the top of the pumpkin in a cross, and turned up the ends to arrange them in a more natural way, then pinched the top to make a small triangular top to the pumpkin.
I then set aside to dry off.
Setting up the cake
I transported the cake to the office as I had put it in the fridge the night before and took all the bits in fast food containers to arrange on the cake when I got there.
You can arrange you items any way you choose.
This cake was great, because it was one you could you really have fun with and make up as you go along. Something to involve friends, family and children in and just enjoy it!