Cobwebs and ganache drips are super spooky. Try not to get too scared. # 145: Spooky Chocolate Drip Cake
Happy Halloween! Welcome to the only time of the year that I’ll allow spider webs in my life. I’ve never been the biggest Halloween fan. I get startled way too easily and I’d rather have a cookie than a bucket of candy. But there are definitely a few things that I look forward to every year:
- Hocus Pocus – need I say more?
- Adorable dog and baby costumes! My parents get upwards of 900 kids at their trick-or-treating at their house every year, so there’s a fair share of cute toddler costumes waddling through.
- Puns! Oh so many Halloween puns. I’ll sprinkle a few in here, hoping to catch you unawares. Muahaha.
I finally FINALLY tried making a drip cake (with Thida Bevington’s fudge frosting and ganache recipes, of course.) I’m not sure when drip cakes began taking off, but I’ve been eyeing them for several years as an unattainable decorating challenge. I was hesitating mostly because you need to have perfectly straight edges and smooth sides to achieve the desired look. I’ve found that to get those perfect edges and sides, you either have to glob on way too much frosting or use fondant, which is no fun to eat.
I also wanted the cake to be fluffy, luscious and moist, which wouldn’t necessarily hold up if I was encasing it in dense frosting. Gotta avoid the dreaded Great British Bake Off “style over substance” slap. But I thiiiink I nailed it on this one. I chose a passion fruit mousse filling to keep it as light and airy as possible, and just look at that slice – floof to the max!
*Excuse my terrible half mise en place.* When I’m feeling lazy, I just do an ingredient police lineup on the skinny part of my kitchen counter. To distract you: what is a ghost’s favorite fruit?
Told ya it was a skinny counter: my regal mixer has to ride side-saddle.
This recipe called for “blooming” the cocoa powder in boiling water before adding it in to the batter. It has two main benefits: avoiding pockets of raw powder in your finished cake and releasing the rich chocolate flavor better!
On the count of three, into the sauna we go. Do you prefer to use spring-form or regular cake pans? They both worked fine for this recipe, but getting the cake out of the regular pan took more effort.
I was so excited about how easy the chocolate fudge frosting is to make, I couldn’t hold the camera steady! Melt the butter and chocolate, and mix it in with a combo of milk, powdered sugar and vanilla. Voila! I was a lil worried about my chocolate seizing, so I tempered the chocolate/butter mix first by add a few tablespoons of the milk mixture to bring down the temperature slowly. I also made sure my milk was room temperature when I started, so the tempering was probably unnecessary. Better safe than sorry!
Glossy gorgeousness. It thickens as it cools, so make sure to let it sit before attempting to use it! On a completely related note, why didn’t the skeleton go to the party?
*drum roll please*
He had no-body to go with!
I trimmed the mountain tops off my cake layers and saved them to make cake pops. Here’s my very unofficial recipe for cake pops:
- Crumble any leftover cake you have on hand
- Soften any leftover frosting or ganache (ideally room temperature)
- Mix mix mix (use your hands – it’s easier!)
- Scoop into walnut-sized hunks and roll into a smooth ball
- If you have the round paper pop sticks, put one upright in each cake ball (if you don’t, you just end up with yummy cake truffles; it’s a win-win)
- Pop them into the fridge for 30 minutes
- Melt chocolate or candy melts
- Dunk your chilled cake pops and let them dry at room temp for 20 minutes or so before storing them in a tupperware. They last for several days if they aren’t all eaten immediately!
If you’re using sticks, place them gently in a water cup so they dry without getting a flat side. If you’re doing truffles, sans sticks, line them up on a piece of parchment so they’re easy to move once dry.
I still have passionfruit curd in my freezer (hallelujah) so I whipped up some cream and folded it in to make a mousse for the filling. Put a hefty amount between each layer so the chocolate doesn’t feel lonely.
Pat yourself on the back for being patient and waiting until the fudge frosting is thick enough to use. As a reward: what is a ghost’s favorite dessert?
Yes, you will get frosting EVERYWHERE. It is worth it. (I plopped my cake stand on a tiny turn-table so I could spin it while I frosted.)
Ooo, aaahh. Not perfect, but smooth enough to get away with it.
A blank canvas, just begging for a ganache cobweb.
But first – ganache drips! Melt equal amounts of dark chocolate and heavy cream and test the consistency (drip speed) on a water glass. If it’s too runny, pop it in the fridge and ask yourself, where does a werewolf like to hide?
In your claws-it!
This is the speedy part: you gotta get the ganache on top and pipe the white circles and feather them before the ganache sets. If it sets before you’re done, you won’t turn into a pumpkin, a la Cinderella, but you’ll be annoyed at your cobweb.
The white frosting is a mix of sifted powdered sugar and cream.
Feathering icing is just so cool. *Yes I am aware of how much a baking nerd that makes me.*
Take a deep breath – you’re done! It was definitely a full day project, since you want your cakes to be cool before you frost and the frosting and ganache both need to chill before use.
So worth it!
Why didn’t the monster eat the crazy person?
He was allergic to nuts!
You made it through all my puns with minimal eye-rolling, congrats! Have a piece of cake. Happy munching!
Frosting & ganache recipe and techniques from: Thida Bevington’s instagram highlights. If you don’t follow her already, go fix that!
Cake recipe from: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/230453/sour-cream-dark-chocolate-cake/