Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creepy Crawly Cake & Graveyard Trifle

You all are in for a Halloween Treat! This post consists of two fun, creepy & spooky treats that you should definitely make for your Halloween party this weekend...only 3 more days until Oct you have your costumes and candy for the trick-or-treaters yet? My husband and I are going to be Popeye & Olive Oyl this will have to check back for a picture of us in full costume after the weekend!

So to get a head start on the Halloween festivities, last night I had a few of my marathon running friends over to my house. First we met at the Mellow Mushroom, a local pizza joint for their Tuesday night running club and ran a 5K course...then we headed back to my house for a Pasta & Gel Tasting party. In case you don't know what "gel" is, that is fancy marathon lingo for the type of "fuel" you need to take while running long distances to give you energy to keep running since you are burning so many calories during the course of the 26.2 mile race. We sampled, all different brands and consistencies of fuel from GU, Powerbar, Accel Gel, Clif Bar and Luna Moons. Some were good and some were just plain yucky, it was great to watch everyone's faces pucker as they tasted the different flavors...but enough of the gel talk...lets move on to more important to make these 2 cute and tasty Halloween desserts!

Halloween Dessert #1: Creepy Crawly Cake
This is a 3 layer yellow & chocolate marbled cake with a butter cream icing

Check out this buttercream is similar to a meringe consistency. This was the first time I had made an icing like this which called for sugar, 9 egg whites and guess how much aren't even going to believe how much butter, let's just say Paula Deen would be in BUTTER HEAVEN with the amount of butter in this cake....2 lbs, that's right TWO POUNDS of BUTTER...that equals 8 sticks! WOW, I have never used that much butter in a single recipe before.

I had cut out this recipe from Ladies' Home Journal magazine last year from their October 2008 edition so I have been waiting quite a long time to recreate this masterpiece.

Here goes my first spider web piping...I hope I don't mess this one up. It was nice to have the picture as a point of reference. First I sectioned off the cake by adding black line segments to disect the cake into somewhat equal sections.

Then I just started connecting the sections by drawing the web circles to fill out the spider web.

Now time to add the black, creepy, crawly spiders.

My husband even got in on the action and picked up his first piping bag and added the last 2 spiders to the cake. Maybe I can talk him into being my cake decorating assistant?

Creepy Crawly Cakes is complete! Not too bad for my first spider web.

Creepy Crawly Cake (Chocolate Marbled Spider Cake) - Ladies' Home Journal, Oct 2008

Makes 16 servings

Cake Ingredients:
2 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 3/4 cups milk

  • In small bowl, combine 2/3 cup sugar, the cocoa and warm water; set aside.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; butter paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a mixer bowl, beat together remaining 2 cups sugar and the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 min. Reduce speed to low and bet in extract. Add eggs, on at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl, until combined.
  • Transfer 3 cups batter to bowl and stir in cocoa mixture. Evenly spoon dollops of white can coca batters into prepared pans. Using a knife, swirl batters to marbelize. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40-45 min. Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool 15 min. Remove cakes from pans, peel off paper and place right side up, on racks; let cool completely.
  • Transfer 1 1/2 cups buttercream to a decorating bag fitted wit ha #5 plain tip and set aside.
  • Slice domes off cakes to level. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread just to edges with 1 3/4 cups buttercream. Cover with second layer an spread with another 1 3/4 cups buttercream. Top with a third layer. Frost top and sides, smoothing with a spatula. Using reserved piping bag, pipe dots around cake base. Refrigerate until set, 20 to 25 min.
  • To decorate: Fit a decorating bag with a #2 plain tip. Cut bottom from black icing tube and transfer to decorating bag.
  • Pipe a spiderweb design on top and down sides of cake in varying lengths. To pipe spiders, hold icing tip in one place while squeezing tube to form a thick, round body. Pipe 8 thin legs out from each body. (Decorated cake can be made ahead. Store in a sealed cake container in the refrigerator up to 1 day.)
Touch of Black Buttercream

Makes 10 cups

2 1/2 cups sugar
9 large egg whites
2 lbs unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • In a medium heatproof bowl set over simmering water, combine sugar and egg whites; stir until hot and sugar is dissolved, about 5 min. Transfer to a mixer bowl and beat to firm peaks, about 8 min. While mixer is running, add butter, a few tbsp at a time, until completely combined. Reduce speed to low; beat in chocolate and extract. Use immediately. (Can be made ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature, then beat on low speed until smooth before using.)

Halloween Dessert # 2: Graveyard Trifle
Start out by making a 9 x 13 pan of brownies and cutting them up into small bite size squares.

Check out all these CHOCOLATE ingredients that are going into the trifle: brownies, chocolate pudding, Oreo cookies and Milano cookies...can we say Chocolate coma?

You can't have a graveyard without some tombstones. Milano cookies were the perfect shape with the rounded top to create a tombstone. I had some leftover black icing from the Creepy Crawly Cake that I was able to use to pipe on "RIP" to each cookie.

Time to assemble the trifle...brownie, pudding, cool whip, Oreo cookie crumbs...and then repeat 2 times to fill the entire bowl.

I crushed up Oreo cookies to create the look of dirt for the graveyard, added in the tombstone cookies and then stuck in some ghost marshmallow Peeps. Just in case that was too "spooky" I wanted to add a little color with some orange sugar pumpkins to brighten it up a bit.

Easy Chocolate Trifle - recipe adapted from and then I added all the extra embellishments to create the "graveyard" look.

18 servings

1 box Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix, for 9 x 13 size pan
1 qt (4 cups) cold milk
2 pkg (4 serving size each ) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 tub (8 oz) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
16 Oreos, crushed (I crushed 10 Oreos for the middle layer of the trifle, and then 6 Oreos with the chocolate cookie part only, no cream filling for the top layer of the trifle)

  • Prepare brownie batter and bake in 9 x 13 pan as directed on package. Cool completely and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Add milk to dry pudding mix in medium bowl. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended.
  • Layer half each of the brownie cubes, pudding, whipped topping and crushed Oreos in a large glass trifle bowl. Repeat all layers. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Here's a quick look at my festive Halloween Dessert table. I found these really cute purple/black and green/black striped pails at Target and just couldn't resist...I had to get them because after all the marathon group that I coach for is called Team in Training and our colors are purple and green. I filled the pails with some assorted candy and had them as party favors for everyone to take home with them!

Here's a group shot of everyone enjoying the Creepy Crawly cake!

Stay tuned for another Halloween Dessert Table coming soon that I will be creating for my friend Jennifer's costume party this weekend!



  1. Great job! Looking forward to your next creation.

  2. Oh my goodness, everything looks SOO good! I've been making cookies this afternoon and instead of assisting, my husband wants to eat it all! Haha!

  3. They turned out very good! I bet you had a great time!


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