Last week I was so thrilled to share my haunted Halloween table with you. You may have noticed the centerpiece: a very eerie but totally delicious Chocolate Skull Cake. Today I want to show you how to make that cake. Let’s get going.
As I mentioned, the idea for this cake came from a skull cake pan I found at HomeGoods. As soon as I spotted it, I knew it would be the crowning jewel in my tablescape. (In case all of the skull cake pans have already disappeared from your local HomeGoods, you can buy the same pan via Amazon. I should warn you, though, it will be a bit more expensive.)
I knew I wanted a chocolate cake with some sort of dripping chocolate glaze. I got this Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod and made a few changes for this application. Maria is an amazing cook and baker, so I knew that any recipe she shared would be delicious.
After whipping up the cake batter, I filled my skull cake pan. If you purchase the same pan, you’ll notice that in the directions that come with it, you are told to only fill the pan about three-quarters of the way full. However, since this recipe doesn’t rise very much, you’ll want the pan to be about 90% full.
My goal when baking this cake was to get it to rise to at least the top of the pan so that when I put the two halves together, everything would line up nicely. I’m happy to report that it worked.
Since the cakes did slightly dome, I used a sharp serrated knife to level them off so I had flat surfaces to sandwich together.
To hold the two cakes together, I used some of the chocolate glaze mixed with a little powdered sugar to make a thicker frosting to act as glue.
Once the two pieces were sandwiched, I used more of the frosting to patch the seam. I also added some extra frosting randomly around the cake, so that the seam didn’t seem so obvious or out of place.
After allowing the cake to cool in the refrigerator, I “painted” the cake with a mixture of powdered sugar and milk. I opted to do this to give the cake a white appearance. I felt that a thick frosting or lots of chocolate glaze drizzle would hide the important details of the skull.
To incorporate the delicious chocolate glaze, I dribbled some on top of the skull and from the mouth, eyes, and nose.
I recommend placing the extra glaze in a dish and serving it with the cake. That way your guests can spoon more of it on their individual slice if they wish.
And that’s it. The resulting cake is not only moist, chocolatey, and delicious, but it’s a dessert befitting the season. While it does take a few extra steps to bring this to life, I think everyone will agree it’s worth the effort and time.
Here's what you will need:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Powdered Sugar Glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour your skull cake pan and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, heat the butter, cocoa powder, salt, and water over medium heat. Cook and stir just until melted and evenly combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking soda to combine. Add half of the melted butter mixture and whisk until blended. The mixture will be thick. Add the remaining butter mixture and whisk to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking in between until completely blended. Finally, mix in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth.
Add the batter to the prepared pan, filling each side to about 90% full. (You may have a little extra batter.) Bake until a wood skewer inserted near the center comes out clean (45 to 50 minutes). Let the cake cool completely in the pan.
While the cake cools, prepare the chocolate glaze. To a large bowl, add the chocolate and corn syrup. Set aside. In a small sauce pan, combine the heavy cream and granulated sugar. Stir over medium heat until the cream is hot and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the prepared chocolate glaze with 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar until combined.
In another bowl, prepare the powdered sugar glaze by whisking together the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. For a thinner glaze, use additional milk.
Once the cake is cooled, trim off any cake that has domed above the top of the pan with a serrated knife to create a flat surface on each piece of cake. Use the chocolate glaze mixed with the confectioners sugar to sandwich the two cake halves together. Fill in any cracks with extra glaze. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Place the cake on a baking rack that's on top of a baking sheet. Use a pasty brush to apply the powdered sugar glaze. Allow any excess glaze to drip off onto the baking sheet.
Move the cake to a cake stand or serving platter. Drizzle with some of the chocolate glaze. Serve the cake with any additional chocolate glaze in a bowl on the side.
I hope you enjoyed this Halloween dessert idea. As always, if you give it a try this All Hallows’ Eve, please let us know. In case you missed my Haunted Halloween Table, you can check that out here.
So, who wants a slice?