My life is buzzing with Halloween excitement and busyness with many to-do lists. I've haven't had much time to write a post, but this cake needs an internet space to call home before Halloween is here in case any of you need a little inspiration or a recipe for an amazingly moist chocolate cake. I'm not just saying that, it is physically difficult to stop eating it.
So instead of writing-writing, I decided to make more lists. Halloween lists.
Best Halloween Candy
- Any brand name chocolate bar. Kit Kat, M&Ms, Bounty, Crunchie, Cookies and Cream, Crispy Crunch, Oh Henry, Twix, Milky Way, Wunderbar, etc. No imitations welcome please.
- Chips (except plain. No one wants plain. Unless it's with dip.)
- Swedish berries
- Fuzzy peaches
- Rockets! People either love them or hate them. They get all the love from me.
- Anything sour
- Ring pops
- Candy necklaces forever!!!
Worst Halloween Candy
- Candy corn. Can we just stop making these already?! I have never met anyone who actually like candy corn. Honestly, never.
- Black licorice. Don't ever, for any reason, under any circumstances, no matter what, no matter who they are, no matter where they're from or who they were with, whatsoever, give anyone black licorice. Period.
- Tootsie rolls. They are brown, but NOT chocolate?!?! I have never and will never understand WHAT flavour tootsie roll is supposed to be?! I feel like this candy was the best you could get in the Great Depression but they forgot to stop making it once all the better candy and chocolate came out afterwards. Also. They look like little poops.
Best Halloween Movies
- Hocus Pocus
- Addams Family + Addams Family Values
- The Nightmare Before Christmas. The best part about this movie is if you miss it at Halloween, it also doubles as a Christmas movie.
- The Witch (2015)
- The Witches (1990)
- Edward Scissorhands
- Friday the 13th
- From Dusk Till Dawn
- Sleepy Hollow
- Halloween (duh)
- Practical Magic
- Young Frankenstein
Other Best Things About Halloween
- Pumpkin flavoured everything
- Haunted Houses
- Spooky decorations
- Day of the Dead
- Throwing out candy corn
Worst Things About Halloween
- People who choose “trick" when you say trick or treat at the door. Just give me candy and no one will get hurt, okay?! Okay!
- The stories about staples or needles or poison in Halloween candy. Did this really happen or did someone just make it up so Halloween is scarier? If so, kudos to you, creepy person.
CHOCOLATE + SALTED DULCE DE LECHE GRAVEYARD CAKE
t h e m a g i c
i n s p i r a t i o n : HALLOWEEN + DAY OF THE DEAD
t h e f e e l s : Rich, moist, indulgent + spooky (of course)
e a t w i t h : Red wine, bourbon, espresso, tea, milk
t h e s c i e n c e
I suggest making either the meringue bones OR the cake (and freezing) a day or two in advance just to break things up and make things easier. You can keep the meringue bones in an airtight container.
makes three 6-inch x 2-inch round layers (I only used 2 layers for this cake and froze the other for my next intense chocolate craving).
CAKE (adapted from Rosie Alyea's The Sweetapolita Bakebook)
i n g r e d i e n t s :
- 320 g (approx. 2.5 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
- 520 g (approx. 2.5 cups) sugar
- 120 g (1 cup) dutch-process dark cocoa powder (must be dutch process and not regular cocoa powder, there is a big difference. I buy mine at bulk stores. Click here to have Joy the Baker tell you the difference. She knows all.)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea or himalayan salt
- 1.5 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup hot coffee or espresso
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 can of dulce de leche (homemade or store bought) Learn how to make your own here.
- 1/4 tsp sea or himalayan salt (plus more to taste)
frosting (makes 4 cups)
- 225 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature (if your butter is cold, you can speed this process up by cutting the butter up into cubes onto a plate.)
- 500 g (4 cups) icing sugar
- 120 g (1 cup) dutch-process dark cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp corn syrup (optional, for shine)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
- pinch of sea salt
m e t h o d :
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of three 6 x 2 inch (OR 8 x 1.5 inch) round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
- Add all dry ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt). Sift together with hand whisk or whisk attachment.
- Whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large measuring glass with a spout. Slowly add hot coffee to milk mixture while whisking constantly. Turn electric mixer onto low speed and gradually add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and beat for about one minute, until the batter is smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for 10 seconds if needed. Divide the batter evenly between all three baking pans.
- Bake in the centre of the oven until a wooden toothpick is inserted into the middle of cake and comes out with a few or no crumbs, (between 35-40 minutes)
- Let cake layers cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife or offset spatula and turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Filling + Frosting
- While cakes are baking, scoop out dulce de leche into a bowl and add 1/4 tsp salt. Mix together and taste. Add more to your desired taste. Set aside.
- Add beater attachment to mixer. In bowl of electric mixer, add the butter and beat on medium for about 8 minutes or until very pale and creamy.
- Meanwhile in another large bowl, add icing sugar and cocoa powder and sift together with whisk until evenly blended. When butter is ready, put the mixer on low speed and gradually add the icing sugar mixture. Then gradually add the milk, water, corn syrup, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt. Beat for 1 minute and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes until the frosting is fluffy. *will keep in airtight container in fridge for up to 3 days. If cold and not spreadable, beat on low speed until it reaches a good consistency.
*Unless I am using that day, I wrap my cake layers in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. I remove them to defrost an hour or so before frosting the cake. When the cake layers are frozen, they are much easier to frost and less crumbs during the frosting process.
*This cake and chocolate frosting come from Rosie Alyea's The Sweetapolita Bakebook. Rosie is AMAZING and knows everything about cake. She is always my go to for cake recipes because they are always moist with incredible flavour, (and I'm pretty sure she's magic). The cake is her “Simple & Splendid Chocolate Cake" and the frosting is her “Glossy Fudge Frosting".
i n g r e d i e n t s :
- 280 g (1.25 cups) superfine sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
m e t h o d :
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Secure the whisk attachment to electric mixer. In the bowl for the mixer, add the lemon juice and egg whites and whisk on medium together until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue to whisk until firm peaks form.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag and cut a hole or insert a icing tip (I used a Wilton 2A tip). Start making your meringue bone shapes onto the lined baking sheets. I started with a dot and continuing to pull down making an S shape with another dot at the opposite end. Add a dot beside each of the initial dots to finish each end of the bone.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until set, moving pans around during baking if needed. One side of my oven is hotter so I switched them halfway through.
- Turn off the oven and leave meringues in the oven to cool for another hour or so.
*I used this method from Lily Vanilli who is another cake genius and I was in awe when I saw her beautiful 3 tier creation.