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Blog Archive - October 1, 2011

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October 1, 2011 - Witch-on-a-Broom Halloween Cake
Click here for short instructions

The supermarkets' parade of candy is telling me that Halloween is coming up. Time to start thinking of a costume for my daughter! But that's for tomorrow. Today - it's all about cake. I tried to think of some classic Halloween images, and the witch flying high in the night propped up on her broomstick was what came to mind. This cake is a little advanced, due to all of the twists, turns and corners, but I'll help you thorugh it. Also, I gave the cake a kick - by adding a bit of homemade pumpkin pie spice here and there to the chocolate cake and icing.

Witch-on-a-Broom Halloween Cake

To make this cake, you'll need a Cake-Shaping Strip (look here about how to make one), heavy-duty aluminum foil, a sheet pan, prepared cake batter (see the Mexican Chocolate Batter recipe below or use about 1 box of cake mix), chocolate ganache/frosting (see the Mexican Chocolate Ganache recipe below or use 2 (16-oz.) containers of chocolate frosting), and white frosting dyed orange (about 1/2 (16-oz.) container of white frosting).

First, make a Cake-Shaping Strip as described here using ten sushi-mat segments. Line a sheet pan with 2 sheets of aluminum foil, and shape the strip into a shape of a witch on a broom. I had a bit of trouble trying to figure out how to shape her head. So eventually, I just cut out how I wanted her head to look, shaped the strip around the paper, and removed the paper once the strip was formed. Make sure to exaggerate any spatial features, as they'll seem smaller after you unwrap and ice the cake.

Wrap the bottom foil sheets around the strip, tearing it where needed to wrap it. Slide extra small strips of foil under the strip and wrap those around where needed (if your original foil sheet didn't cover a portion of the cake). And push small loosely packed balls of foil along the bottom outer perimeter wherever you think that the batter might leak due (e.g., where you tore the foil). Essentially, just add foil however you need to fully wrap around the bottom of the strip.

Witch-on-a-Broom Halloween Cake

In this picture, you can see the above-referenced cut-out that I worked with.

Witch-on-a-Broom Halloween Cake

Now prepare your cake batter. You can make the batter using about one box of cake mix or you can use this recipe:

Mexican Chocolate (Cinnamon-Chocolate) Cake Batter
Ingredients:
1 box of chocolate cake mix, and oil and eggs as called for on box
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brewed coffee

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine the cake mix, oil, eggs, cinnamon and coffee. NOTE: do not add any water to the cake mix. Beat the batter for a couple of minutes or until there are no lumps in the batter.

3. Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until done.

*****

Bake the cake and let it cool. Cut away any leaked batter from the outside of the strip. Then carefully separate the strip from the cake. She's coming to life now!

Witch-on-a-Broom Halloween Cake

Now it's time to decorate the cake. As some of you may have noticed, I've really been excited about ganache lately. It's just so delicious. I have tried to give it a little twist each time I make it though. This time, I added some home-made pumpkin-pie-spice ingredients. The cinnamon really gives it a kick. A friend asked if I added chili powder!

Mexican Chocolate Ganache (Lower Fat)
Ingredients:
1 (11.5 ounce) bags of dark chocolate chips
1 cup fat-free half-and-half (or regular or heavy cream)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger

Directions:
1. Pour the half-and-half into a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave until it just begins to boil.

2. Stir in the chocolate chips. Stir for two minutes. If not completely melted, microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth. Stir in about half of each spice. Add the rest (or more) to taste.

3. Let the ganache cool at room temperature or in the refrigerator until it is of your desired consistency.

*****

I had read that you can put small sheets of wax paper under your cake before covering it in ganache. This allows for easy clean-up of the spills. I forgot, but I'd recommend this. After you prepped your serving tray with the wax paper, pour/spread on the ganache. Let the ganache at least slightly harden, and then clean up the ganache from the tray (by removing the wax paper, or carefully wiping the tray).

Use orange frosting to pipe on outlines of the witch and the broom. Microwave remaining ganche for 15 seconds at a time until it is soft enough to pour/spread. Pour/spread a second layer of ganache inside the witch's cape's outline. Happy early Halloween!

Witch-on-a-Broom Halloween Cake

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