Everybody loves a Red Velvet Cake, but this Halloween version is a spook-tacular centerpiece that your guests won’t forget!
Don’t be haunted by all the components, there are a lot but each one is simple to make. Just focus on making one component at a time and then assembling the cake.
Red Velvet Cake:
125g butter, softened
300g castor sugar
2 large eggs
5ml vanilla extract
20g cocoa powder
5ml bicarbonate of soda
15ml white vinegar
Red food colouring (gel, not liquid)
Cream Cheese Icing:
200g smooth cream cheese, softened
100g butter, softened
5ml vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
Black Chocolate Ganache:
250g white cooking chocolate
200ml whipping cream
Black food colouring (gel, not liquid)
2 large egg whites
100g castor sugar
2ml vanilla extract
2ml lemon juice
For the Red Velvet Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease 3 x 20cm cake tins and line with greaseproof paper.
- Cream together the butter and castor sugar with an electric/stand mixer for 2-3 minutes, until light and creamy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until well combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Sift together the dry ingredients, then add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Beat well after each addition.
- Now add the vinegar and mix well.
- Lastly add in the red food colouring (a little at a time until you have a bright red coloured mixture).
- Divide the cake mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins and bake for 25 minutes.
- Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes in the cake tins, then remove from the tins and cool completely on cooling racks.
For the Cream Cheese Icing:
- Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Both should be well softened to avoid lumps. Mix in the vanilla.
- Gradually sift in the icing sugar and beat well after each addition until you have a gorgeously glossy and smooth icing.
For the Black Chocolate Ganache:
- Chop the white chocolate into small pieces, then place in a heatproof bowl.
- Heat the cream until almost boiling, then pour over the chocolate.
- Allow to stand for a minute, then stir until well combined.
- Add in enough black food colouring (see TIPS) to get a glossy black coloured ganache.
- Refrigerate until thick but not solid, about 2 hours.
For the Meringue Ghosts:
- Preheat the oven to 110°C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Place your egg whites into a clean, dry glass/metal bowl. Whisk with an electric/stand mixer until frothy, then add the lemon juice.
- Continue whisking on medium until soft peaks form and the egg whites have doubled in volume, then up the speed to high and start adding the castor sugar, one tablespoon at a time.
- Continue whisking until all the sugar has been added and the meringue is glossy, smooth and forms stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. If you rub a little of the meringue between your fingertips, there should be no grains of sugar. If there are, continue whisking a little longer.
- Fold in the vanilla extract.
- Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with either a plain 1cm nozzle (or snip off the tip of a disposable piping bag to leave a 1cm wide opening).
- Pipe ghost shapes about 2cm wide and 4-5cm tall.
- Bake for 1 hour, then switch off the oven and leave the meringues inside for another hour to dry out.
- Carefully lift the meringues off the paper and leave to cool completely.
- Once the ghosts have cooled, use a little of the black gel food colouring or the black chocolate ganache and a toothpick to make little faces on the ghosts.
- Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
To assemble the cake:
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, sandwich the cakes together with a thick layer of the cream cheese icing, then ice the top and sides of the cake (see TIPS).
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours until the icing has set, then use a teaspoon to drizzle a little of the black chocolate ganache over the edge. Repeat this to form the drips down the side of the cake. Then spread the remaining ganache over the top.
- Allow the cake to set in the fridge again for an hour.
- Before serving arrange the meringue ghosts on top of the cake.
– For a more detailed explanation on how to make perfect meringues, click here.
-First ice the sponge cake roughly with a ‘crumb coat’ of icing, refrigerate of 30 minutes then ice again. A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing that seals in the stray crumbs before the second layer of icing is applied. This takes a little extra time but ensures the icing is perfectly smooth.
– The black food colouring should be specifically for colouring chocolate (either in a gel or powder form, available from baking stores).