Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chocolate Pumpkin Spider Cake

Earlier in the month I celebrated my 25th birthday. Gah! I feel old. I may have gone through a quarter century life crisis. For about a week. Then I decided to buy a brand new car (my first car ever!) and say screw the judgement of others and continue seeing a guy who is younger than me (and I'm not just talking a year here). Who cares? I certainly don't. Life is for living and enjoying, not worrying and stressing!

Back to where I was originally heading with this story. Rewind. Earlier in the month I celebrated my 25th birthday and made a dense, moist and truly decadent cake. However, the presentation was ermm... something left to be desired. Let's just say, it was not the most attractive thing I've ever made.... in fact, it was one of the least attractive things I've ever made. But, I found an amazing recipe in the process. So when the opportunity was presented to me a couple weeks ago to bake up some goodies for the United Way bake sale put on by my mother's work, I immediately had a vision of this cake, and new exactly which recipe I would use.

Because I couldn't cut into the cake to show you the inside, I snapped a few pictures during the process so you can get an idea of how it turned out! They're at the bottom, following the recipe instructions!

Yield: 1 3-layer 6-inch cake

For the cake:
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
scant 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
scant 1 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the ganache:
4 ounces milk chocolate chips
2 ounces heavy cream

For the buttercream:
1 cup butter, room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream

orange food dye
black food dye
size 3-4 piping tip
toy plastic spider

Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Grease 3 6-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease on top of paper and coat lightly with flour, shaking out any excess.

In a small bowl combine buttermilk and pumpkin. Mix together until incorporated. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown and white sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Alternating, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the butter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on low for 1 minute until fully combined.

Divide evenly between the 3 cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into cake. Let rest in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on wire racks.

While the cakes are cooling, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a small bowl. Place the heavy cream in a small glass and heat in microwave until boiling (keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over). Pour hot cream over chocolate chips, whisking until chips are completely melted. Set aside to cool.

Once cakes are completely cool (you may have to level them out, although mine were pretty flat and this wasn't needed), spoon half of ganache over the top of 1 cake, reserving the second half for the second cake. Spread the ganache over the cake, leaving a small amount of space around the edge to ensure the ganache does not drip off (see picture below for clarification if needed). Set cakes aside so that the ganache can set. This takes a couple hours. You can put it in the fridge to speed up the process, and frost once the ganache is firm. I waited until it was firm enough to wrap in plastic, then refrigerated the cake rounds until the following day to assemble the cake (layered cakes are always easier to assemble when cold).

To make the frosting, beat the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and smooth. Add the powdered sugar to the butter and mix on low initially (to avoid a poof of sugar in your face), and gradually increase speed. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of cream into the whipped butter. If the frosting is too stiff, gradually add 1 tablespoon cream into frosting until it reaches your desired consistency. Tint a small amount of the frosting black (if making a spider web) and the remaining a nice bright orange (or your desired colour).

To assemble the cake, frost the first layer of cake, ganache side up, with the buttercream. Repeat with second layer.

Place the final layer on top.

Cover top and sides with a thin layer of frosting (this is called a crumb coat, to catch any crumbs before doing the final frosting). Refrigerate cake for 20 minutes, or until crumb coat has formed a crust and is hard.

Frost the top and sides with a thicker layer, and return to fridge again for a crust to form. Once the frosting is firm (this will help to ensure that black frosting of web does not leach colour into the orange) fill a piping bag fitted with a round tip, size 3-4, with reserved black frosting. Pipe on spider web and find creepy plastic spiders from the dollar store to adorn your cake with!

Source: Cake and ganache from I am Baker, Buttercream by Sweet Treats n' Healthy Eats. Pin It

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