Think you can only make a theme cake if you have all sorts of specialty pans and cake-decorating equipment? No way. This rich chocolate jack-o'-lantern cake is an easy one-bowl cake that's lots of fun for kids and parents to decorate together. The only pan you'll need is a regular Bundt pan. Let this 3-D cake light up your next Halloween party, birthday or potluck. It will impress everyone and will be as yummy to eat as it is fun to make.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Jack-o'-Lantern Cake
Two Bundt cakes, one on top of the other, form a squat ball shape -- perfect to mimic the shape of a pumpkin. When making your shopping list for the cake, double the cake amounts because you will need to make two Bundt cakes. If you like, leave 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the Butter Icing untinted to use as teeth on the finished cake, as in our photo.
Cake (make two):
2-1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp (10 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each baking powder and salt
2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk
1/3 cup (75 mL) vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips
Butter Icing (recipe on page two)
Green and orange paste food colouring
1 flat-bottomed ice-cream cone
1 tube (120 g) black decorating icing fitted with small piping tip
• Cake: Grease 10-inch (3 L) Bundt pan; set aside.
• In large bowl, sift together flour, granulated and brown sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift again to blend completely. In separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients; stir until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Scrape into prepared pan.
• Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely. Repeat to make second cake. (Make-ahead: Wrap cakes in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day or freeze in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)
• Decorations: In small bowl, stir 1 cup (250 mL) of the Butter Icing with enough green food colouring to tint deep green; cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Tint remaining icing bright orange.
• Level off base of each cake. Place 1 cake, rounded side down, on flat cake plate or cake board. Spread top with 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) of the orange icing; top with second cake, rounded side up, aligning ridges. Using offset spatula, spread thin layer of orange icing all over cake in smooth upward strokes. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
• Meanwhile, spread one-third of the green icing over outside of ice-cream cone. Set, open end down, on small plate; refrigerate until firm. Evenly spread remaining orange icing over cake.
• Using toothpick, draw face on pumpkin. Using black icing tube, trace markings with icing; fill in. Place green cone, open end down, in hollow at top of cake to form stem.
• Transfer remaining green icing to piping bag fitted with small plain tip or plastic bag with 1 small corner snipped off. Pipe into leaves and curls around cone. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate until icing is firm, about 30 minutes. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
Makes 24 servings.
Per serving: about 703 cal, 7 g pro, 29 g total fat (14 g sat. fat), 109 g carb, 4 g fibre, 85 mg chol, 491 mg sodium. % RDI: 8% calcium, 22% iron, 17% vit A, 20% folate.
• You can use a butter knife instead of an offset spatula for spreading the icing.
• Bulk food or cake decorating stores carry black decorating icing with attachable piping tips and paste food colouring, which yields a much brighter colour than liquid food colouring.
• You can use just about any 10-inch (3 L) Bundt pan, but ones with rounded ridges make the cakes easier to ice and look more pumpkinlike. There is a variety of cake pans available at houseware stores and through cooking equipment catalogues, such as Ashton Green and Wilton (or visit their websites at www.ashtongreen.com and www.wilton.com).
• Don't have time to make cake and icing from scratch? Use 1 box (520 g) best-quality chocolate cake mix for each Bundt cake and use 3 containers (450 g) vanilla icing, tinted as directed for the icing. Be aware that cake mixes and prepared icings currently contain trans fats.
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) butter, softened
10 cups (2.5 L) icing sugar
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) whipping cream
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
• In bowl, beat butter with 2 cups (500 mL) of the icing sugar until smooth. Beat in remaining icing sugar alternately with whipping cream, making 3 additions of sugar and 2 of cream, until smooth and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour and beat until smooth and fluffy before using.)
Makes about 6 cups (1.5 L).