Halloween used to be my favorite holiday…I remember going around town with my sisters, trick-or-treating and coming home with garbage bags full of goodies!! We used to barter the bad ones for the good ones (e.g. 3 eat mores for 1 crunch bar!) and at night hide the evidence under the mattress. GOOD TIMES.
Since I’m obviously now too old to go trick or treating without looking suspiciously creepy, instead, I decided to bake a creepy (or kinda…?) cake to celebrate Halloween this year! It really is the first Halloween that I’ve not dressed up (well…it’s still only Friday, so who knows?) and my last single Halloween!!
ANYWAYS. Back to topic. So. I love love love red velvet cake. Not really sure why, but most likely cuz I’m vain and just love that red color!! Or, maybe because it’s got the right amount of cocoa but not as rich as a full on devil’s cake? Either way, I’m sooooo happy with the outcome of my first go at a velvet cake. Seriously. It’s a red cake. Score for creepy level. Kinda. Hehehehe
I got this cake design idea here since I loved how simple it is with the fluffy sugary ghosts and the shiny chocolate ganache drizzled over. I found it irresistibly adorable and I just had to make it!! And did I say I absolutely adore red velvet cake?! I hope you’ll enjoy this one too 🙂
Red Velvet Cake (adapted from iambaker.net)
Makes 2 x 9″ round pans (note: it might look smaller in the pictures since I baked them in 9″ pans but cut them out into 6″ cakes. Saved the leftovers for snack time!)
– 1 cup margarine (you can substitute with butter or shortening)
– 2 large eggs
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
– 1/2 ounce red gel icing coloring (or 2 ounces red water-based food coloring as per original recipe)
– 2 1/2 cups cake flour
– 1 cup 2% milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar (original recipe called for 1 cup buttermilk but it’s not something staple I have in my pantry!)
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 3 tablespoons baking powder (original recipe called for 1 teaspoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon vinegar. I realized at the last minute that I was out of baking soda! So I did the sub and omitted the extra vinegar below in the recipe with this substitution- it still came out great!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the margarine, eggs and sugar.
3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa and food coloring. Add the paste to the margarine mixture.
4. Sift the flour and salt into the mixture. Start the mixer to blend and slowly add in the milk & vinegar/ buttermilk mixture. Then add the vanilla extract and baking powder.
5. Pour the batter into 2 greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack. Invert the cakes from the pans.
I’ve been having way too much buttercream lately and to be honest, it’s not my favorite icing. I do find it a bit too creamy and sweet and my frosting of choice really is a nice whipped cream frosting, but my only concern was that it’s a bit softer and I was initially worried that it would melt with the ganache poured over. Luckily, I found this site, where it gave me hope and I went for the route of refrigerating the cake after frosting to prepare it for the ganache- it worked amazingly!
To ensure that it won’t melt (since I hate disappoints on Fridays!), I found this stabilized whipped cream icing recipe to help it hold it’s shape a bit more.
Stabilized Whipped Cream Icing (Source: wiltons.com)
Makes 1 1/2 – 2 cups of icing
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 2 tablespoons confectioner’s (i.e. icing) sugar
– 2 tablespoons piping gel (note: I only used 1 tablespoon which seems plenty enough!)
– 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract (I used almond extract)
1. Combine whipping cream and sugar in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add piping gel and vanilla, then continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat!
Note: As an alternative, you can use Frozen Non-Dairy Whipped Topping or Packaged Topping Mix. Thaw frozen whipped topping in refrigerator before coloring or using for decorating. Use packaged topping mix immediately after preparing. Store decorated items in refrigerator until ready to serve. Do not allow either to stay at room temperature, as it becomes too soft for decorating.
I started with the preparation of the ganache so that I could set it aside for several hours before I went to make the cake. While it was cooling, I made my whipped cream icing and frosted it. In between, I dropped by the mall, shopped a bit and the cake was perfectly set to pour the ganache! I got lazy towards the end and instead of piping out buttercream ghosts, I used large marshmallows and mixed some brown icing gel with piping gel for the facial features.
– 8oz semisweet/ bittersweet chocolate chips
– 6oz heavy cream
1. Place chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl.
2. Heat whipping cream in saucepan just to boiling point. DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate.
3. Stir and cover with cling wrap and let it sit for a minimum of 1 hour before pouring.
4. Take frosted cake out from fridge and place cake on cake board cut to fit. Position on wire rack over drip pan. Pour glaze into center and work out toward edges.
Munched this baby tonight with my boo and friends. BOOM.