Halloween Ginger Cake

Halloween Ginger Cake

Halloween Ginger Cake

Densely spiced, rich cakes are warm autumn and Halloween flavours that everyone enjoys. This lovely hearty ginger cake is delicious layered with buttercream, or served with nothing but a scraping of butter and a pot of tea. The cake mixture is very liquid and easy to stir, so no need for a mixer, although in truth a mixer is always useful for buttercream icing.

Ingredients

 

For the cake:

 

300g black treacle

225g golden syrup

450ml milk

350g light muscovado sugar

375g salted butter

765g plain flour

3 tbs ground ginger

1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2tsp baking powder

6 free range eggs

Small quantity of royal icing or melted chocolate

 

For the icing:

 

500g softened butter

650g icing sugar

Orange, purple and black food colouring

Green and silver sprinkles

300g ready-to-roll icing coloured orange

250g ready-to-roll icing coloured black

2 packets of fruity flavoured sweets (I chose Skittles with the yellow and red ones taken out)

Equipment

20cm square, deep cake tin

15cm round, deep cake tin

greaseproof paper

saucepan

large mixing bowl

medium mixing bowl

rubber spatula

wooden spoon

whisk

wire cooling rack

cake leveller

6-inch round foil-covered cake card

8-inch square foil covered cake card

12-inch foil covered cake drum/board

4 cake dowels

sharp knife

1 metre of green ribbon at least 12mm wide

non-toxic glue stick

scissors

mini rounded spatula

pastry scraper

cake decorating turntable

mini rolling pin

circular cookie cutter

small piping nozzle (any kind)

piping bag

No 4 writing nozzle

fondant smoother

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Line a 20cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper, and place a 6-inch circle of greaseproof paper into the bottom of a 15cm round baking tin.
  3. Place treacle, syrup, milk butter and sugar in a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring now and then until combined. There is no need to bring the mixture to boiling point.
  4. Mix flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking power and ground ginger in your largest mixing bowl.
  5. Break the eggs into a bowl and keep them close to hand.
  6. Stir the treacle mixture into the flour first with a wooden spoon, then with a large whisk, taking great care to smooth out any lumps or pockets of flour.
  7. Whisk in the eggs until the mixture is smooth.
  8. Divide the mixture between the two deep cake tins, so that each is roughly filled to the same level.
  9. Bake for twenty minutes before turning and baking for another 20 minutes. Then bake for another twenty minutes, testing the smaller cake now and then, to see if it is ready. (When cooked, the cake will spring back when pressed gently in the centre.) The larger cake may need a further twenty minutes in the oven.
  10. When baked, allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes or so in their tins before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving them to cool entirely.
  11. While the cakes are cooling, press on with the buttercream icing. Cream softened butter with icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
  12. Colour approximately one third of the icing a bright Halloween orange and set aside.
  13. Colour the remainder of the icing  a spooky purple colour and also set it aside.
  14. Using the cake leveller, take the smaller round cake and cut off the major part of the dome (though not all of it) so that the cake is around two inches high.
  15. Split the cake in half, horizontally, then adjust the cake leveller so that each split cake is cut in half again, horizontally. You should now have a cake split into four layers of equal height.
  16. Repeat the process with the larger square cake.
  17. Place a greaseproof paper circle, larger than the diameter of the smaller cake onto a flat surface. (I have used the removable base of a larger cake tin.
  18. Spread a layer of orange buttercream onto the paper and spread it out to form a circle slightly bigger than the top of the smaller cake. 

19. Layer the cake on top of the circle, pressing down slightly, and spreading buttercream evenly between each layer. 

20. Spread a little buttercream onto the foil side of a 15cm diameter cake card and place on top of the cake, foil side down

21. Lift the cake onto a decorating turntable

22. Using a rounded spatula roughly spread orange buttercream onto the sides of the cake. 

23. Hold a pastry scraper steadily at 90 degrees to the side of the cake, and carefully rotate the turntable so that the scraper smooths away excess buttercream, creating a perfectly smooth 'wall' on the side of the cake. 

24. Chill the cake for an hour or so and then repeat, so that the dark sponge is no longer visible

25. While the cake is chilling, repeat with the square cake, this time layering and filling it with purple buttercream. Reserve a little purple buttercream for later.

26. Chill the cakes for as long as you can in the fridge as it will make them far easier to handle. It also provides a great opportunity to get on with the bats!

27. Colour a small amount of ready-to-roll icing black (or buy ready coloured icing if you prefer).

28. Dust the your work surface with icing sugar and roll out to a thickness of about 3mm. 

29. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the bottom of a circle shape, as shown.

30. Use the same cutter to cut the other way on either side of the first cut, describing two wings

31. Then use the cutter, to cut out two more large 'bites', this time at the bottom of the bat. 

32. Use the small nozzle (dusted first with icing sugar) to cut little circular 'bite' shapes out of the wings, for an authentic bat wing shape! 

33. Cut a full circle with the little nozzle, as shown. 

34. Take a small 'bite' out of the circle with the edge of the nozzle to make the bat head and pointy ears. 

35. Have the head ready to place on top of the wings. 

36. Repeat, making as many bats as you need on our cake – try experimenting with different sizes and shapes!

37. Leave the bats to dry for a few minutes.

38. Cover the cake board by rolling orange coloured ready-to-roll icing very thin and then rolling over the top of the board and polishing with a fondant smoother. Set it aside to firm up

39. When the smaller cake is chilled and firm, turn it over so that it's the right way up and peel off the greaseproof paper to reveal the nice flat top.

40. Put sprinkles around the top of the cake and press them in gently with your fingers, leaving the centre of the cake unadorned. 

41. Give the square cake the same treatment, covering the edges of the top of the cake with sprinkles in the same way.

42. Lift the square cake onto the cake board and fix in position with a dab of royal icing or melted chocolate.

43. Dowel the larger cake using exactly the same technique as use for the naked cake tutorial.  Four dowels will suffice.

44. Spread a small amount of buttercream on top of the dowelled cake and, using a large offset spatula (or your fingers if your cake is still sufficiently firm and cool), position the smaller cake on top of the larger one, as centrally as you can.

45. Now that your icing bats have dried a little, they will be easier to handle. Pick them up carefully and attach to the sides of the cake in an arrangement that pleases you. The condensation from the cake should provide enough moisture to stick the bats on without extra water – try not to add more water if you can possibly help it.

46. Spoon leftover purple buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large writing nozzle, a number 4 tip would be ideal, and pipe the word, 'BOO!' onto the top of the cake

47. Pipe little pearls of buttercream around the circumference of the top tier, as shown.

48. Push alternating coloured sweets all around the base of the cake to disguise the join between the cake and the board.

49. Cut the ribbon to the correct length before running a non-toxic glue stick around the sides of a 12-inch cake board, then attach the ribbon, making sure the join is at the back of the cake.

Happy Halloween 

 

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