Wacky Web Halloween Cake

45 minutes + 30 minutes Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 375 g butter, softened
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • 2 Tbsp cornflour
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp red food colouring
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 500 g cream cheese, softened
  • 5 cups soft icing sugar
  • Liquorice strips for web
  • Brown & orange M&Ms or other lollies, for decoration
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Method

  • 1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan-forced). Grease 2 deep 22cm round cake pans; line bases and sides with baking paper.

  • 2. Beat 125g butter (leave remaining for icing), 1 tsp extract (leave remaining for icing) and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined between additions.

  • 3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in sifted flours and cocoa and then combined buttermilk and food colouring, in 2 batches.

  • 4. Combine vinegar and soda in a cup; allow to fizz then fold into cake mixture. Divide mixture between pans.

  • 5. Bake cakes for about 30 minutes or until cooked when tested. Stand cakes 10 minutes before turning top-side up onto a wire rack to cool.

  • 6. Freeze cakes for 40 minutes to make splitting and decorating easier.

  • Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1. Meanwhile, make cream cheese icing: beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

  • 2. Add butter and vanilla, beat until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar.

  • 3. Split cold cakes in half so that you have 4 layers of cake. Place one layer on serving plate, cut-side up; spread with icing.

  • 5. Repeat layering, finishing with remaining icing spread over top and side of cake.

  • 6. Use licorice strips to create web on top. Decorate with spiders and sweets, if desired.

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