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This cake is a fun centerpiece to any Halloween party. After you bake two recipes of the Chocolate Cocoa Cake and whip up three batches of stiff decorator frosting, follow the steps below to finish a ghostly Halloween creation.

Photo of Halloween decorated cake Delight your little tricksters with this Halloween spooky mansion cake.

Chocolate Cocoa Cake

Tools: Two 9-inch round cake pans

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 35 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

3⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

3-1⁄4 cups sifted cake flour

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces

2-1⁄2 cups granulated white sugar

1-1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 eggs

2 cups whole milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the cake pans, and line them with parchment paper. Then grease and flour the parchment.

  2. In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Then whisk in the sifted cake flour.

  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, and continue beating.

  4. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

  5. Melt 3 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate in 2⁄3 cup boiling water. Stir the mixture until smooth and slightly cool. Mix the chocolate into the cake batter after the eggs

  6. With the mixer set on low speed, add the flour mixture and the milk to the egg mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Each addition should be mixed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl twice during beating.

  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached.

  8. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges, and then invert the cakes onto racks to cool completely.

  9. After the cakes have completely cooled, cut one loaf cake in half vertically. Set one half aside, and cut the other half into quarters, keeping one quarter, and discarding the others. (The remaining quarter piece is one eighth-loaf.)

  10. Level the cakes (two squares, one loaf, one half-loaf, and one eighth-loaf). Apply a crumb coat (thin layer) of chocolate decorator frosting to each cake, and refrigerate them for 1 hour. Frost the cakes again, and refrigerate them while you prepare the decorations.

For the decorations you will need:

1 pound of black licorice
Four 2-x-4-inch squares of chocolate (from a 7.5-ounce chocolate bar)
Black food coloring gel
Red food coloring gel
Thirty-six red and purple square-shaped sour hard candies, broken into jagged pieces with a meat tenderizer
14.4-ounce box chocolate graham crackers, finely ground in a food processor
Four skeleton pops
Two ghost cupcake picks
Two pumpkin cupcake picks
One plastic glow-in-the-dark skull-and-crossbones ring
One witch cupcake pick
  1. Prepare a cake board that’s approximately 18-x-24 inches in size. Use plywood or fiberboard that’s wrapped with cake foil or Halloween wrapping paper covered with clear heavy cellophane wrap.

  2. Stack the cakes toward the back of the board as follows: Set the two square cakes one on top of the other to form the bottom floor of the house. Center the loaf cake on top of the bottom floor; set the half-loaf on top of that floor; and set the one-eighth piece on top of the half-loaf to form a witch’s perch.

  3. Lay lengths of licorice around the top and base of each level, except for the witch’s perch.

  4. Using chocolate frosting as glue, affix chocolate bar squares to the center of the bottom layer to make the mansion’s door.

  5. Mix 2 cups of chocolate decorator frosting with black food coloring gel. Outfit a pastry bag with a coupler, a #7 tip, and black frosting.

  6. With black frosting, pipe a square window on either side of the mansion door. Pipe four square windows on the second story of the house, three square windows on the third story, and an oval-shaped window on the witch’s perch. Also pipe a doorknob and an awning on the door.

  7. Mix 1 cup of white decorator frosting with red food coloring gel. Outfit a pastry bag with a coupler, a #4 tip, and red frosting. Along the top edge of the first three floors (not the witch’s perch), pipe a string of pointed red drips to look like seeping blood.

  8. With an icing spatula, spread 2 cups of untinted chocolate frosting in front of the house.

  9. Outfit the black frosting bag with a #10 tip, and, over the chocolate frosting yard, outline a crooked walkway leading to the front door. Fill in the walkway with crushed hard candies.

  10. Spread the chocolate graham cracker crumbs on either side of the walkway. With the black frosting bag, pipe frosting onto the candy tops of the skeleton pops.

    Scatter the skeleton pops to resemble trees in the mansion’s yard, sticking them into the frosting in the front yard, and mound chocolate crumbs at the base of each pop. Refit the black frosting bag with a #67 tip, and pipe drooping black leaves on the skeletons’ hands.

  11. Stick the ghost picks and pumpkin picks on the second and third floors of the mansion, and push the skull-and-crossbones ring into the oval-shaped window on the witch’s perch. Insert the witch pick into the very top of the house.

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