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Welcome to my blog. I cook delicious food and take pictures of it. I hope you enjoy!

Halloween Ombré Cake

Halloween Ombré Cake

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I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of Halloween. I hate scary movies - I can't even handle the commercials for horror movies - and I don't like creepy crawly things (did you see they just discovered a puppy-sized spider??..think about that for a second. A puppy-sized spider.). But this year I have been totally loving some of the food-related Halloween ideas that I've been seeing. Some spooky, some adorable, and some just really really fun. So last week I stumbled across Yahoo! Food and discovered these super cute I Scream Sandwitches from Martha Stewart. Sandwitch..get it? Anyways..I started to get the hankering to make a little Halloween treat to celebrate the holiday. And then I ran across this crazy fun Candy Corn Tuxedo Cake from Sprinkle Bakes. With a little tweaking - and a lot of butter - this baby was born:Halloween Ombre CakeFun, right? Two things I discovered while making this cake:

  • There are a lot of tricks to baking cakes..so I'm going to share with you some of the ones I learned.
  • Making a cake like this is not a simple endeavor. So hats off to anyone that makes these on a regular basis. I am impressed.

But first, the tricks. After I purchased all of the butter from our local Costco, I pulled out my old Martha Stewart Baking Handbook and got to work. Not knowing much (anything) about layer cakes, she was really helpful. Thanks Martha. And most of these were learned during the process, so we'll (hopefully) see the learnings on the next cake that I make...so enjoy those wonky layers and that impeccable frosting job. Should be better next time if I remember these:

  • Quadruple check the size of pans. The original recipe called for an 8-inch pan, and I of course only had 7" and 9" pans. Both things that I discovered after greasing and prepping the 9" pans. I ended up using the 7" pans, and they actually worked pretty well.
  • When you add wet and dry ingredients, always begin and end with the dry ingredients. I don't know why, but Martha says to do it that way.
  • After you add all those dry ingredients, don't overmix the batter. Stop about 30 seconds after you add the final dry bits. Same goes for folding in the egg whites. Fold 'em like you love 'em. Be especially careful here because you'll have to do more mixing to get the food color right. See the thinner orange and brown layers? Those were in the second baking batch and they were handled quite a bit more (I blame it on my food die skills).
  • Rotate the cake pans halfway through baking to make sure they cook evenly. This I forgot. I will not forget again.
  • Let the layers cool in their pans for 15 minutes then turn them out upside down on a wire rack. This keeps them from cracking. Don't stack them - they'll stick to each other. Or so I discovered.
  • Trim and frost the cake when it's cold. I made the mistake of frosting a warm cake and ended up with tiny bits of the cake in my frosting.
  • Learn how to ice a cake! This would have been a good way to start things off. Next time!
  • Give yourself time. You're making four little mini cakes and then the frosting and glaze that goes with them. This took me about 5 hours. Budget appropriately. The last thing you want to do is rush the part that people actually see.
  • Decide if you want to go fancy before you start on the cake. Have everything at hand and give yourself a big workspace. You will make a mess.

Halloween Ombre CakeStill with me? Perfect. Here's the recipe. One thing to note: I'm not a huge fan of frosting - unless it's cream cheese, then I'm in - so I halved the frosting recipe. It gave me just enough frosting to lightly cover the cake, but I didn't have leftovers for the cupcakes. So if you love frosting, go big and make the whole batch as stated below. And make sure to save the tops of the cakes once you cut them. They're like a sugary muffin top - perfect for keeping onlookers (ahem..husbands) content while you frost and finish your cake.

Halloween Ombre Cake
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10-12
This Halloween Ombre Cake is a great way to bring a little fun and color to a typically dark and creepy holiday. Before you begin, make sure you have all ingredients on hand, a ton of space, and some time to spare. You'll find the original recipe at http://www.sprinklebakes.com/2014/10/candy-corn-tuxedo-cake.html.
Ingredients
  • For the Cake
  • 6 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) - make sure it's cake flour!
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt (always use fine grain salt when baking)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (that's 3 1/2 sticks!)
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 10 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Golden yellow gel food color
  • Red food color
  • 3 tablespoons dark unsweet cocoa
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons hot water
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened (another 3 sticks, wheeee!)
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Milk or heavy cream, on standby, just in case
  • Chocolate drizzle
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half if you want to save a few calories)
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
Instructions
Prep the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease four 8-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment. If you don't have four pans, you'll need to bake in batches. Grease or line 8 muffin tins.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Beat the butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer running, gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture turns pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low, and starting and ending with the flour mixture, add the flour and milk in 3 additions. Beat until just combined. Don't overmix! Set aside.
  4. In a clean and dry mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in three additions. Start with a small amount of egg whites in that first batch and remember to fold gently.
  6. Now we'll separate the batter so we can add some color. Place two cups of batter in four separate bowls (and set aside the leftover batter for the cupcakes). In bowl number one, add one teaspoon vanilla and mix gently. In bowl two, add one teaspoon vanilla and the golden yellow food color. In bowl three, add one teaspoon vanilla and the golden yellow and red food color (you're looking for orange). In the final bowl, you'll need to add chocolate. First, combine the unsweetened cocoa and hot water, stirring well to create a smooth paste, and add it to the fourth bowl of batter. Add one teaspoon vanilla to the cupcake batter and fold gently.
  7. Spread the bowls of batter into the prepared pans. Use the leftover batter to fill the 8 cupcake liners. Cook for 25-30 minutes. The original recipe called for 18 minutes, Martha said 35, and mine took about 30. So check often and use that toothpick to check doneness. When the cake starts to pull away from the edges and the top springs back, you're good to go.
  8. Let the layers cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Gently turn the pans over and cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Level the tops of the cake with a serrated knife and set the layers aside.
For the Frosting
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Begin on low speed and then increase to high and beat for 3-5 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla extract and beat again for another minute. (If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency.)
  3. Place a nice glob of frosting on your cake stand (or plate) as glue and lay your first layer down.
  4. Spread about 1/3 cup of frosting on the layer and place the next (orange) layer on top. Continue with the yellow and white layers.
  5. If your cake edges aren't perfectly flat, use the serrated knife to trim the edges.
  6. Cover the entire cake with frosting using an off-set spatula. If you love frosting, use the rest of it on the cupcakes. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes until the frosting is firm.
For the chocolate drizzle
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate and heavy cream and warm over medium-high heat. Mix constantly and remove from heat once the chocolate is melted.
  2. Let stand 2-3 minutes and then whisk until everything is smooth and combined. Add the corn syrup and whisk again.
  3. Place mixture in the refrigerator for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  4. Pour over the top of the cake and allow it to overflow and run down the sides. If you have chocolate leftover, feel free to make the cupcakes even more insane.
  5. Refrigerate your drizzled cake for 5 minutes to let the chocolate firm up.

You can store the cake in the fridge, but make sure to take it out and let it warm up before you eat it. It's quite delicious with a glass of cold milk. Here's the non-sliced version. Not too bad, right?Halloween Ombre CakeThis post was sponsored by Yahoo! but all the opinions, thoughts, and recommendations are my own.

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