I wanted to make a cake to raffle off at our Magical Unicorn School's halloween party and the only thing I knew that I wanted to do was use black food colouring in ganache and drip that down the sides. I found some rubber black mice and and really liked the idea of black on black. Red Velvet cake was the original plan when I came across the most delicious sounding recipe for a pumpkin spice cake and I changed my mind, which is, of course, my prerogative.
I would make a Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Spekulas Cookie Buttercream and Spooky Ink Black Ganache.
The cake, From the blog Use Real Butter, turned out even better than I had hoped and it is going to go straight into the bag of tricks to be made again and again. It's moist and nicely spiced - the only change I made was to sub in 1/3 cup of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter for some of the pumpkin puree but if you don't have that, just follow her recipe to the letter.
Butter cream made with a big glop of Trader Joe's Spekulas Cookie Butter between the layers and spread around the perimeter is topped with a ganache made with a mixture of dark and milk chocolate to finish it off.
For the raffle cake, I only used three layers because if I didn't hold back a layer to use for a little cake to keep at home, I am afraid my son would petition the court to have me fired as his mother. Your cake will be higher than the one up there.
I apologize for the lack of beautiful photos. I worked on it all day and only had a few minutes to snap a picture of it before taking it to school but the recipe was too yummy to not share.
Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake with Spekulas Buttercream and Inky Ganache
I used this recipe by Use Real Butter - it makes 2 - 9" cakes
Spekulas Butter Cream
3/4 cup soft butter
generous 1/3 cup Trader Joe's Spekulas Cookie Butter (I used crunchy)
about 1 1/2 cup of icing sugar
about 1 tbls milk to thin out a bit
Put the butter and the cookie butter into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a deep bowl if you are using a hand mixer)
Beat the butter and cookie butter for 2 or 3 minutes on med high until light and fluffy. Turn the speed to low and slowly start adding in the powdered sugar until it's all added and smooth. Lastly, add in the tbls of milk or almond milk to thin it out a bit and mix for another minute. Set aside
1/2 cup whole milk
black food dye (use a drop by drop until you have the colour you want)
100 grams dark chocolate, chopped up
40 grams of milk chocolate, chopped up
3 tbls of corn syrup
1 tbls butter
Heat the milk until it just starts to bubble around the edges. Add in the chocolate and whisk, off the heat, until the chocolate has melted. After it's completely melted, add in the corn syrup and butter, whisk again and start adding in the food colouring. I used black gel from Wilton and kept dipping a skewer into the gel and adding it to the bowl until it was almost black - it was just the size of couple grains of rice in the end. Set aside and let cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, you have to slice any rounded tops of the one of the cakes so it has a flat top. Now, cut both cakes in half horizontally so you have four layers. Put your bottom layer on a cake plate or a cardboard cake base. Use a spatula to spread some buttercream on the bottom layer (remember it has to go between all the layers and then spread around the sides)
Put the second layer on top, spread more buttercream, add the third layer, more buttercream and top with the last layer (This is the cake that you didn't trim so it doesn't really matter if the top isn't flat).
With the remaining butter cream, use the spatula to spread the icing all around the sides of the cake but don't put it on the top.
Now, starting in the middle of the cake, start pouring the ganache slowly onto the cake, spreading lightly with a clean spatula, until it starts to drip down the sides.
Because it's Halloween cake and we want it to look spooky, don't worry about being too neat or if the ganache pools a bit at the base in spots.
When you have used all the ganache you want to use (i had some leftover because I didn't want to cover all of the icing up), you can add any decorations you want to add. I like my stretchy, rubber mice but you can use spiders or anything else that takes your fancy.
Put the cake in the fridge so that ganache can set up for at least an hour before serving.