My favorite costume party every year is just around the corner so I’m getting ready with all sorts of festive treats. This year, I decided to forgo the ghoulish, spooky and haunted desserts for something a little more high brow. That’s right, I made a classy halloween cake!
A few years ago I made Halloween macarons. They were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, everything I love about a good macaron. Now that I live in an old apartment building with an unreliable oven, macarons aren’t really an option anymore. I know I’m years away from owning a home but I am so excited for the day I can invest in a really high-quality oven that helps rather than hinders my baking.
I’ve gotten really into cake decorating so Halloween felt like the perfect challenge for my next cake. I’ve been seeing some fun black buttercream on cakes but since I’ve been loving the look of watercolor icing, I decided to go that route instead. There are so many ways to make a ‘classy’ halloween cake so the sky’s the limit if you want to take this buttercream and go in your own direction.
The Box Cake Dilemma
I should probably start by saying that this cake is SUPER EASY. Icing is always my favorite part of cake so when I’m rushing to get a buttercream-decorated cake done, I sometimes cheat and use box cake. That’s right, I said it. I know people hate on box cakes but honestly, my skill doesn’t lie in cake baking, it lies in cake decorating. Since I’m always one to play to my strengths, I decided that baking cake from scratch was a battle I wasn’t prepared to fight.
Orange Color AND Orange Flavor
When I set out to make this cake, I knew that I wanted it to have a white buttercream frosting with a pastel orange watercolor effect. As I started testing out what this might look like, I realized that orange flavor goes really well with chocolate and vanilla cake so why not have the orange frosting actually taste like orange! It felt like an ah-ha moment. As soon as I decided that everything made so much more sense. Obviously if you for some reason hate orange as a flavor, feel free to leave out the orange extract and the orange zest from the icing recipe.
- 1 box chocolate cake
- 1 box white cake
- ~7 drops orange food gel
- 2 cups butter, softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange extract
- zest of one orange
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Make the cake according to the box instructions. For the white cake, add 4-5 drops of orange food gel before baking. Let cool completely before assembling the finished cake.
- When you are ready to make the frosting, cream the butter. When smooth, mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until fully combined. Beat the sugar and butter on high for five minutes until it gets really fluffy. Mix in the orange extract and the orange zest.
- Mix in the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time until the icing is a consistency you like.
- Start layering the four cake layers with one cup of icing between each later. When it comes time to ice the outside of the cake, do a light coating of frosting before putting the cake in the freezer to set for a few minutes (~15).
- Finish frosting the outside of the cake but save ~ 1/2 cup worth of frosting. Use the orange food gel to color it. spread the orange frosting in patches over the outside of the cake to create the watercolor effect. Top with halloween sprinkles.