Blog Archive - October 15, 2012

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October 15, 2012 - Black-Cat Cake
Click here for short instructions

I haven't made many holiday cakes this year, but this was one that I wanted to make since last year for Halloween. As a special bonus, my two-year-old loved having a kitty cake around, even without understanding the holdiay significance.

Black Cat 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 Chocolate-Orange Swirl Cake recipe below or use about 1 1/2 box of cake mix), dark frosting (see the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe below or use about 2 containers of white frosting dyed black), white frosting (about 1/2 container) and food dye.

First, make a Cake-Shaping Strip as described here using eleven sushi-mat segments. It surprised me that this cake needed such a long strip, but there are a lot of curves and turns. Line a sheet pan with a vertical sheet of heavy-duty foil. (This sheet likely won't extend to the bottom of the legs. That's okay.) Shape the strip into a shape of a cat.

After the strip is shaped, wrap the foil sheet around the strip. Cut the foil or use extra foil pieces where needed to wrap around the strip. Slide extra strips of foil under the legs and tail and wrap them around the cake-shaping strip. Pack in extra foil wads (that begin as being loosely packed) around the back arches and between the legs.

Black Cat Cake

Now prepare your cake batter. This is a really easy recipe. I primarily was interested in the colors, but I added in the orange juice to make the flavor a bit more interesting. You can add more orange flavor by substituting orange juice for the water in the chocolate batter and/or by adding orange extract to one or both batters.

Chocolate-Orange Swirl Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 box yellow or white chocolate mix
Water (as much as called for on the chocolate-cake-mix box)
Orange juice (as much water quantity on the yellow-cake-mix box)
Oil (as much as called for on both boxes), divided
Eggs (as much as called for on both boxes), divided
Orange food dye

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

2. Prepare chocolate cake batter as directed on the chocolate-cake-mix box.

3. Prepare yellow (or white) cake batter as directed on the yellow-cake-mix box, BUT substitute orange juice for the water.

4. Mix orange food dye into the yellow cake batter.

5. Spread a thin layer of the chocolate batter into the pan. Spread a medium-thick layer of the orange batter onto the chocolate batter. Drop tablespoons of the chocolate batter on the orange batter. Use a knife to scoop into and out of the stacked batter to swirl the colors. Do not be over-zealous on this.

6. Bake for about 50 minutes or until done.


After baking, carefully remove the wrapped foil and then the strip. If any batter leaked through the strip, cut it away from the cake before trying to remove the strip. While separating the strip from the cake, you can insert a knife between the strip and cake to help with the process (if it doesn't easily peel off by itself).

This cake is somewhat fragile due to the legs and tail. So rather than trying to move the cake off of the foil (which I often do), I slide the foil out from under the cake. This is the point at which my daughter really started to take interest in the kitty cake.

Black Cat Cake

Frosting time. Before concentrating on the bulk of the frosting job, get out some white frosting, dye portions as desired (e.g., some green for the eyes, some pinkish-gray for the ears and nose, some gray for the whiskers, and some remaining white for the eyes). Then pipe or carefully spread the facial features on.

Now, to the real frosting substance. I've been looking to try my hand at a real chocolate buttercream for awhile. Given the desired dark color of this cake, now was the time.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk or water
1 3/4 cups hot fudge topping
Black food dye, optional

1. Place all ingredients in a stand mixing bowl. Start mixing at a slow speed and gradually increase the speed until the ingredients are well-mixed.

2. Mix in the black food dye, if desired.


I love frosting furry-animal cakes, as I don't have to worry about obtaining a smooth appearance. Here, spread a rather thick layer of frosting on the cake (being careful around the facial features). Then take a flat edge of a table knife, press it into the frosting and pull it up. Repeat this process over the chocolate-buttercream layer. Easy, cute and festive.

Black Cat Cake
Chocolate-Orange Swirl Cake


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