It’s been brought to my attention that I’m a candy girl in the truest sense. Meaning, I like all candy. Meaning, I like candy that most people don’t like. Just last weekend I was getting major side-eye from the Mr. for eating candy corn and black licorice at a party. Turns out, that candy was meant to be table decoration, but hey – decorate with candy and expect to come up a few pieces short. Am I right or am I right?
This cake is for both candy corn fanatics and detractors. The only prerequisite is – you have to like cake. I used a tried -and-true white cake recipe and manipulated the flavor with extracts. It’s pretty hard to nail down the flavor of candy corn (it’s mostly just one note – sweet), so I decided to make the cake layers little more interesting. From top to bottom, the white layer is vanilla, the yellow layer is butter rum (I used LorAnn flavoring), the orange layer is flavored with orange extract, and the bottom layer is chocolate, made with dark chocolate cocoa powder. I really love how all the layers taste together – it’s kind of like a citrus-y butter candy with a chocolate wallop at the end.
The chocolate elements of this cake were inspired by the new flavors of candy corn available. I mean, have seen S’mores Candy Corn yet? I’d reckon even the most candy corn-eschewing person would have trouble turning that down.
As for the drippy ganache, it’s quite spooky looking, don’t you think? I didn’t realize how spooky until I saw Kristan’s Scary Cherry Cake. Like Kristan, I tend to lean toward cakes that look cute-spooky instead of scary-spooky, and the ganache is right on point for cute.
You’ll have a little cake batter left over after making the cake layers – just enough for 8 standard size cupcakes. They look really pretty displayed around the cake. I used bat cut-outs placed on lollipop sticks for the cake topper, or, if you prefer an edible topper, you could make your own out of gumpaste as I did (see here), for the “Batty Battenburg” cake.
You can of course top this cake with – what else – candy corn!
Candy Corn Tuxedo Cake
- 6 1/2 cups/789 g cake flour not self-rising, sifted
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 2 1/4 cups/500 ml whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups plus 4 tablespoons/395 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups/490 g granulated sugar
- 10 large egg whites
- Golden yellow gel food color
- 1/2 teaspoon Butter rum flavoring I used LorAnn
- Red food color
- 2 teaspoons orange extract
- 3 tablespoons dark unsweet cocoa
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups/340 g of unsalted butter softened
- 6 cups/730 g confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Milk or heavy cream optional
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate chopped
- 1/2 cup/ 117 ml heavy cream
- 1/4/ 85 g cup dark corn syrup
- Make the cake layers: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease four 8-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment. If you don’t have four pans, then use as many as you have, and plan to wash them between baking cake layers. Line 8 cavities of a muffin tin with paper liners.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar and beat until the mixture turns pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low, and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Beat the egg whites in a clean mixer bowl on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in three additions.
- Place two cups of batter in four separate bowls (you’ll have two cups of batter leftover, just set it aside for now). Tint one bowl with the golden yellow food color, and add the butter rum flavoring. Tint another bowl with golden yellow and red food color (creating an orange hue), and add the orange flavoring. Combine the unsweet cocoa and water, stirring well to create a paste, and add it to a third bowl of batter. Fold together well until the batter is dark chocolate and no streaks of white batter remain. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the fourth batter bowl, and leave it colorless. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into the leftover batter (I made white vanilla cupcakes with the leftover batter, but you could tint and flavor the batter however you’d like).
- Spread the bowls of batter into the prepared pans. Use the leftover batter to fill the 8 cupcake liners. Let the layers cool completely on a wire rack. Bake the cake layers for 18 to 20 minutes, and the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed in the center.
- Run a knife around the edges of the cakes and the pans before turning them out.
- Level the tops of the cake with a serrated knife or a cake leveler. Save the cake scraps for breakfast (smile).and bake, for 15-20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed in the centers.
- Make the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Begin on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
- Add vanilla extract and beat again for another minute. If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency.
- Fill each cake layer with 1/3 cup of frosting. Begin with the chocolate cake layer on the bottom, followed by the orange, butter rum, and end with the white cake on top. Cover the entire cake with frosting using an off-set spatula. Refrigerate the cake until the frosting is firm, about 30 minutes. Transfer the leftover frosting to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe on the cooled cupcakes. NOTE! Use a serving plate or cake stand with a lip – this cake gets a drippy covering of ganache, and it will pool around the bottom edge of the cake.
- Make the glaze: Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a small saucepan and warm over medium-high until the milk begins to steam. Remove from heat and let stand 2-3 minutes; whisk until chocolate and cream and smooth and combined. Add corn syrup. Whisk again until smooth. Place mixture in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour over top of cake and allow it to overflow and run down the sides. You may have some glaze leftover, so dip the tops of the cupcakes into the leftover glaze, if desired. Refrigerate the cake and cupcakes immediately so the ganache will firm.
- Serve: Bring the cake and cupcakes to room temperature before serving so all the flavors are well-developed. Decorate the top of the cake with candy corn (or candy corn and bat cupcake toppers, as I have). I really love how all four cake layers taste together, but if all those layers are a bit ambitious for you to eat, then one piece of cake can easily made into two. Cut a standard wedge of cake and divide it with a knife at the halfway point. You’ll have a piece of white/butter rum, and a piece of orange/chocolate.
- Cover the leftover cake loosely with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.