We’re a team of cake lovers here at HBH. Birthdays? Cake. Fridays? Cake; we don’t really need much of an excuse, though.
With KitchenAid being our Brand of the Month for October 2023, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to bake a cake, showing off how brilliant a KitchenAid is if you’re into your cooking and baking. If that also meant that we’d get to indulge in a cake in the office the next day? Well, that was just a bonus!
Not all of us are gifted in the baking department, but luckily for this Woolacotts employee, I knew exactly who to ask to help me with the task. I enlisted the help of my wonderful colleague, Jemma, from the accounts department and she kindly agreed. Jemma is also a lover of all things spooky, so when I suggested that the cake might have a Halloween theme, she was over the moon. So, without further delay, I’ll turn this over to Jemma!
October is my favourite month. It always has been! Autumnal colours, cosy evenings and Halloween – what’s more to love! Also, it signals the start of The Great British Bake Off, which is a huge favourite of mine.
The first week was ‘Cake Week’ and, after seeing all the fantastic themed bakes, it prompted me to get my KitchenAid stand mixer out and try and create my own.
I wanted to bake something with an autumnal feel so I decided to “spookify” a classic chocolate fudge cake recipe! I decided to turn it into a chocolate orange fudge cake, adding extract and zest to the chocolate sponge, orange colour to the buttercream and a layer of marmalade between the layers of sponge.
Finally, I decided I’d make some meringue ghosts to sit on top of the cake too, which really added a spooky finishing touch!
Whilst I have made cakes for years, meringue has always been something that has scared me a little bit (Bake Off always like to highlight the broken or deflated meringue disasters)! But, using the balloon whisk attachment on the KitchenAid, I was able to achieve fluffy egg whites in seconds!
I find that it is so much easier using the KitchenAid rather than a traditional electric hand whisk to make meringue as you can slowly add the sugar without stopping and starting – trying to use a spoon in one hand and a whisk in another can be a little tricky!
Next was the buttercream: I don’t know if anyone has tried to make buttercream using a hand whisk but I have in the past with a lot of struggling – the butter always ends up in a ball inside the whisk and I spent most of my time trying to get it out, which often then ends up with lumpy buttercream which no one ever wants! With the KitchenAid, you can beat the butter in a matter of minutes and, even on the maximum speed, the mixer doesn’t move and you can leave it to do its thing knowing that you’ll come back to perfectly whipped butter!
I personally wouldn’t hesitate recommending a KitchenAid stand mixer to anyone – I reach for it regularly whenever I need to do some baking as I know it’s going to make light work of anything I want to make!
Now, this week was ‘Bread Week’ – time to get that dough hook out!
*Only a couple of meringue ghosts were harmed in the making of this cake.
Chocolate Orange Fudge Cake Recipe
Chocolate Orange Fudge Cake with Orange Meringue Ghosts: a Scrummy Bake with a Spooky Twist!
An autumnal take on a traditional sponge cake.
- For the cake:
300ml sunflower oil, plus extra to grease the tin
350g self-raising flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g caster sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
4 large eggs
300ml semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp orange extract
Zest of 1 large orange
- For the filling:
185g unsalted softened butter
500g icing sugar
Orange food colouring
- For the meringue ghosts:
4 large egg whites
225g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
- For the cake & filling:
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and line the base of three 18cm sandwich tins. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into the mixer bowl. Add the caster sugar and mix well on a low speed.
- Add the golden syrup, eggs, sunflower oil and milk to the dry ingredients. Beat well until the mixture is smooth.
- Divide the mixture equally between each of the tins and bake for 30-35 mins until risen and a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack.
- To make the buttercream, beat the unsalted butter on a high speed until it is pale in colour. Gradually sieve and beat in the icing sugar and then add enough of the milk to make the icing fluffy and spreadable. Finally, add food colouring to the buttercream – make is as orange as you like!
- Sandwich the cake together, starting with a layer of marmalade followed by the buttercream and then repeat. Use small amounts of buttercream to stick the ghosts to the top of the cake. Feel free to add as many spooky decorations as you like – icing pumpkins and sprinkles would be fab!
- For the meringue ghosts:
- Preheat the oven to gas 1, 140°C, fan 120°C. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper. Put the egg whites in a clean dry metal bowl and whisk to stiff peaks. Add 1 tbsp of the sugar and whisk back up to stiff peaks. Continue adding the sugar a spoonful at a time until it’s all added and the meringue is silky and firm. (hint: A good way to test the silkiness of the meringue is to take a tiny bit and rub it between your index finger and thumb. If it’s smooth, this means that all the sugar has been mixed in. If it feels grainy, keep mixing!) Finally fold in the cornflour and vinegar on a low speed.
- Use a little of the meringue mixture to stick the baking paper to the baking sheets, a dot in each corner. Carefully spoon the rest into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle, and twist the end of the bag. Holding the piping bag upright, squeeze with even pressure pulling the bag upwards slowly as you do so. You want a round meringue with a pointy peak on the top. Repeat, leaving at least 3cm between each one.
- Bake the mini meringues for 1 hr, until they are crisp to touch and easily peel off the paper. Turn off the oven and leave inside to cool completely, ideally overnight.
- Finally, use a black icing pen to give your ghosts spooky little faces! Get as creative as you want!