Sunday 22 October 2017

Haunted Halloween Mini Cake #HalloweenFoodFun

Last year I really got into the Halloween spirit, and was making spooky treats for weeks leading up to it.  Check out this Spooky Brownie Haunted House and these Eyeballs, which were just a couple.  Suddenly, I look at the calendar and see that Halloween is just around the corner and I haven't done anything!   I also agreed and have been looking forward to being a part of this Halloween roundup of spooky stuff, as hosted by Family Around the Table.  But I was stumped for a recipe.

I turned to the experts... the kids.  When I asked them what they thought would be a great Halloween food, they both yelled "CAKE!"  In case you're wondering, cake is usually a front-runner answer in my household, so I tend not to consult these experts for all cooking inspiration.  Since we had no real reason to make cake, and no imminent company to help us eat such a treat, I ended up making a mini one.  In the end, I think this is actually a great way to make a themed cake for Halloween or other special days where there are already enough treats.  I mean really, even if I was taking this cake to a Halloween get-together, how much cake does one need?  I already eat my bodyweight in those little mini candy bars at these events.  There is already sugar overload all around you.  So contribute to it responsibly, by making a mini cake.

Since a cake is a blank canvas, how to decorate a mini-cake for Halloween is really up to you.  Halloween is a time of year that offers super fun and decorative candy, so it really can be as easy as just sticking some candy in your frosted cake (my kids love this kind of thing, and then they can actually do it themselves).  Or, you could just use orange frosting and then throw some black sprinkles on it.  I even saw some fun ideas out there where you make an easy stencil (like a spider, or bat), and sprinkle cocoa on a white cake to make a creepy sillouette.   You could also do a ghost stencil on a chocolate cake using powdered sugar to sprinkle and make the sillouette.

On the day I made this cake, my Halloween candy stash was at zero. What I did have were sprinkles, and white candy melts (the exact age of which was questionable).  I also knew I had black food paste....a color I don't really have any use for normally.

With these items, the kids and I concocted this:

First, the kids and I made a super simple chocolate cake.  I have a couple recipes that I use regularly, but this is one that stirs up quickly in just one bowl, and doesn't even require any eggs or milk!   You can find the original recipe I used, here.   I add one extra tablespoon of cocoa.  Because that's what you do when there's chocolate.  You just add more.

Chocolate Cocoa Cake

Two cakes, ready for Halloween decorating
1.5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup water

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, measure water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Switch to a wire whisk and beat out the majority of the lumps. Poor the batter into a parchment lined or greased pan (in this case I poured half into each of two 6 inch round pans). Bake in a 350F oven for approximately 25 minutes.

While waiting for the cakes to cool, we made some candy-melt ghosts, and a batch of our favorite icing.

First, the ghosts.  I had some spare cake pop sticks lying around from back when I thought I'd try making some....until someone told me that you can just buy donut holes (Canadian code: Timbits), put the stick in and decorate them. Then suddenly it didn't even seem like a fun plan anymore.  Anyway, I had these sticks.  I melted about 10 white candy melts and piped them into ghosty shapes on top of the sticks (do this on parchment paper).  Once the ghosts dried, I used some black icing to shape some faces.   There you go....ghosty decorations!  

We made a good old simple buttercream for the icing.  This is one of the simpler go-to recipes for me:

Frost with white, add some black, spin, then smooth out

1/2 cup butter, at room temp
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
4 cups sifted icing sugar
1/4 cup whole milk or half and half
1 tsp vanilla.

Cream the butter and shortening together.  Gradually beat in icing sugar, one cup at a time, adding the milk and vanilla half way through.  Add more sugar or milk to achieve your desired spreading consistency.

In a separate bowl, I tinted 1/4 of the recipe black.  I used the plain white to stack the two layers and do a quick coat of frosting on the outside.  This didn't have to be pretty (thank goodness that's not my strong suit.)  I swirled a few tablespoons of black icing on the bottom and then mixed it slightly onto the whole cake to create a black and white effect.  If you have a cake turntable or even a lazy susan on your table, this takes about 15 seconds of spinning.  Smooth out as best you can using a decorators spatula or butter knife.

We topped it with the ghosts we made, added some bat-shaped sprinkles, and added a couple of quick spiders on the outside.  And there you have it!

Haunted Halloween Mini Cake

Spooky faces?  Or smiling T-Rex?

If you're looking for other Halloween themed inspiration, take a few minutes to check out all these links:


  1. OMG! This is so adorable! I love the look of the frosting and those ghosts! So fun!

  2. This cake is awesome! I love how you decorated it!

  3. I love how you decorated this little treat and I jumped in surprise when those two adorable goblins rawred at us.

  4. That is the perfect Halloween cake - love the way you shaded the icing!! Fun with the kiddos too. :)