This cake is spooky-cute and perfect for a Halloween party. The recipe as written yields an 8-inch four layer cake with 8 cupcakes to serve on the side. Use cake flour for this. I once used all-purpose and had to throw away the entire cake because it was too chewy and heavy (And oh boy, you do not want chewy cake!). If you have a soft winter wheat flour like White Lily, it will work in place of cake flour. Also be sure to use dark cocoa powder. It's important to achieve a deep chocolate color and flavor.
1 1/2cupsplus 4 tablespoons/395 g unsalted butterroom temperature
2 1/2cups/490 g granulated sugar
10large egg whites
Golden yellow gel food color
1/2teaspoonButter rum flavoringI used LorAnn
Red food color
3tablespoonsdark unsweet cocoa
1 1/2cups/340 g of unsalted buttersoftened
6cups/730 g confectioners’ sugar
Milk or heavy creamoptional
1/2cup/ 117 ml heavy cream
1/4/ 85gcup 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.
Keyword butter rum extract, cake flour, egg whites