This cake! Oh my gosh!! Where do I begin?
Well, for one, I think it’s no secret around here that I am both Harry Potter and Halloween obsessed, so you guys had to have an idea that Halloween inspired treats were coming. Every October I have way too much fun baking up spooky Halloween goodies. I’ve never really gotten into making spooky dinner type food because, to be completely honest, eyeballs in my pasta just weirds me out too much. SO I’ll just stick to making creepy cheese boards, desserts and fun drinks!
This forbidden forest chocolate butterbeer cake is just the beginning of the Halloween treats to come, but I have to say, it will probably be my favorite for the month.
I mean, just look at this cake! I get excited just thinking about its butterbeer insides and all of its chocolately goodness… it. is. the. BEST!
I know some of you might be thinking that after spending three days at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this last week that I came right home and made this cake. Nope, I’ve actually been dreaming about this cake since August. Yes, like for real. I think about holidays way too far in advance, but I mean, I love it, so whatever.
Anyway, I’ve been planning this cake for the longest time and when I finally made it the other week, I was pretty ecstatic with how it turned out. Sometimes I can have these grand pictures of how recipes should look in my head and then they just kind of fall flat. But this cake actually turned out better than the picture in my head and it tastes far better than it looks. <–truth.
OKok. Since I feel like there’s a ton to go over with this cake, let’s just dive right into the details. Chocolate lovers unite, cause this is totally your kind of cake…
Sooo, everything starts out with my favorite chocolate cake recipe. I did a three layer cake because I figured, it’s Halloween and I mean, why the heck not?! Next we move onto the frosting. This frosting is everything, it’s chocolate butterbeer and it is addicting. Think whipped chocolate buttercream with the addition of rich butterbeer sauce…aka butterscotch sauce. It’s simple, perfect and well, I could totally just eat it with a spoon and be happy. YUM.
Ok, but it doesn’t end there. After you layer the cakes with frosting, you then add a generous drizzle of butterbeer sauce. Once the cake is all frosted and looking good, then comes the super fun part… you ready?
A marshmallow spider wed. Um, yes. I first learned of this idea here, and the second I saw it, I knew it had to be part of my butterbeer cake. Then I could call my cake the Forbidden Forest Cake and add black spiders.
Done and DONE.
If you guys know anything about Harry Potter than you know that the Forbidden Forest is full of black spiders, so it makes sense if you’re a Harry Potter freak like me. If you’re not, just think of this cake as a cute Halloween Spider Web Cake. Either way, the cake is going to be fun, cute and just plain awesome.
Ahh, but wait, there’s still more, I know, I know! So once you add the marshmallow spider web, you need to make the chocolate pretzels spiders and the weeping willow chocolate trees. Both are cute and kind of DELISH. I mean, chocolate + peanut butter + pretzels? Yup, I’m totally down with that!
Now, I know this cake sounds like a lot of work, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it can be made in thirty minutes, because it can’t, BUT what I will say is that this cake is a really fun one to make, and while it has a few components to it, none of them are hard or extremely time-consuming. AND the best part about this cake is that it’s meant to be a Halloween Cake. Meaning perfection is not what we are going for. Creepy one-legged spiders will work, and crooked trees are totally what we are going for here!
Bottom line, perfection is not what you want…what you do want is spooky! 🙂
Also, after trying the butterbeer at Harry Potter, I can now officially say that this cake has legit “butterbeer flavors”. Not going to lie, the butterbeer drink itself was way too intense for me. Meaning, way too much sugar in a cup. It was delish, but I was done after a couple sips. Whoa sugar rush!
And done… Happy Friday everyone!! Hope your weekend is filled with October things like picking apples, hunting for perfect pumpkins and baking butterbeer cakes!
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup cream soda or ginger beer
- Whipped Butterbeer Frosting
- 1 (11 ounce) bag butterscotch chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 sticks (2 cups) salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- For decorating
- 1 (8 ounce) bag marshmallows
- 8 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 cups crushed pretzel sticks + 1 cup whole pretzel sticks
- candy eyes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the eggs, buttermilk, greek yogurt, canola oil and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the cream soda (or ginger beer) and mix until combined. The batter should be pourable, but not super thin. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 cake pans. Transfer to the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Grab 3 large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting. Add the butterscotch chips and cream to a small saucepan. Set over low heat, stirring often until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. Set the butterbeer sauce aside.
Add the butter and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer). Beat the butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar together until the butter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat, scraping down the sides as needed another 2 minutes or until there are no streaks of white. Add 1/2 cup of the butterbeer sauce and whip the frosting for 2-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.
To assemble the cake. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Drizzle with 2-4 tablespoons butterbeer sauce. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting. Drizzle with 2-4 tablespoons butterbeer sauce. Add on the final layer, rounded side up, and top with the remaining frosting, evenly spreading on the top and sides of the cake. Drizzle the cake all over with the remaining butterbeer sauce.
To make the web: Melt the marshmallows in the microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Let cool 3-5 minutes and then use your hands to stretch/pull the melted marshmallow around the cake to create a spider web. Go in as many directions as possible. It will be messy, but fun! Cake should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.
To make the spiders. Melt together the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave or over a double broiler. Stir in the crushed pretzel sticks. Mound the pretzels into tablespoon size balls and place on a parchment or wax lined baking sheet. Take the remaining pretzels and toss them through the melted chocolate. Attach 3 pretzel legs on either side of the pretzel balls and then add 2 candy eyes to create eyes for the spiders. Place in the freezer to harden for 5-10 minutes.
To create the chocolate trees, melt 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and let cool 5 minutes. Transfer the chocolate to a ziplock bag and snip a small portion of the corner off the bag. On a parchment lined baking sheet, pipe out skinny leafless trees. Place in the freezer to harden for 5-10 minutes.
Just before serving the cake, stick the trees around the top of the cake and decorate with chocolate spiders. Serve the cake at room temperature.
*Marshmallow spiderweb adapted from [The Cake Blog | http://thecakeblog.com/2012/10/diy-marshmallow-cobweb-cake.html].
*Spiders adapted from [Food Network | http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/spider-bites-recipe.html]
And then proceeding to eat ALL the cake…cause I mean, do you see that piece? NEED IT.
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