Spooky Spiderweb Chocolate Cake

Halloween is a great time to be adventurous with your bakes and this Spider-web cake is the perfect recipe to get you started.

Three layers of rich, moist chocolate cake, coated with buttercream and a dark chocolate ganache, decorated with a white chocolate spider-web.

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This cake may look complex but once broken down it’s actually pretty easy.

Start with the sponge. This recipe substitutes butter for sunflower oil and milk and adds a little golden syrup to lock in moisture and create a dense and fudgy texture. I’ve decided on three layers, as personally I think the taller the better! However, if you would prefer two layers it is possible to use larger cakes tins and adjust the baking time.

Next, the buttercream. This is simply butter and icing sugar beaten together with a few drops of orange colouring to add extra spookiness. Use as little or as much colouring until the desired colour is reached.

For the milk chocolate ganache, heat the cream until almost boiling, pour over the chocolate, stir and let sit. Now for the fun part, pour all over the cake to get that dripping effect.

Finally the spiderweb, honestly who ever thought of this idea is a genius. It really couldn’t be easier. Just pipe a spiral of white chocolate on top of the cake, drag a skewer through the pattern, middle to edge, at regular intervals and there you have it, a perfect spiderweb design.

Ingredients

For the sponge:

350g self-raising flour
4 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
300g caster sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
300 ml (1/4 pint) sunflower oil
300 ml (1/4 pint) semi-skimmed milk
4 tablespoons golden syrup

For the orange buttercream:

300g unsalted butter, softened
600g icing sugar
Orange food colouring (I would recommend gel pastes over liquid)
1-2 tablespoons milk

For the milk chocolate ganache

50g whipping cream
100g milk chocolate

For the spider web decoration:

50g white chocolate, broken into pieces

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/350F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line three 8inch round cake tins with greaseproof paper.

Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix together. Make a well in the centre and add the syrup, eggs, oil and milk. Beat well with an electric whisk until smooth.

Divide the mixture evenly between the three tins, giving it a shake to level out the top. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until risen, firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven and leave to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack.

To make the buttercream: In a medium bowl beat the butter until soft and light in colour. Sieve half of the icing sugar into the bowl and mix together until smooth. Repeat with the remaining icing sugar. Add drops of orange food colouring and mix through (repeat until the desired colour is reached). If the buttercream feels too stiff beat 1-2 tbsp milk in the mixture.

To assemble the cake: Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with buttercream. Repeat with the remaining two layers, stacking them as you go. Spread the remaining buttercream all over the top of cake and sides of the cake.

To make the chocolate ganache: Chop the milk chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl. Pour the cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat, stirring until it has nearly reached boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth and completely melted. Let the ganache sit for 5 minutes in the fridge to thicken up slightly. Now pour the ganache over the top of the cake, smoothing it out with a knife and letting it drip down the sides.

To make the spider web decoration: Melt the white chocolate in 10 second blasts in the microwave until smooth, then transfer to a small piping bag fitted with a very small circular nozzle. Starting from the middle of the cake, pipe a spiral on top of the ganache in one smooth movement. Now use a skewer to drag through the circles at regular intervals, from the centre to the edge, to create a cobweb effect.

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