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Thursday 31 October 2013

Let Her Eat Cake: Halloween Chequerboard Cake

Happy Halloween DS-ers! Whilst I'm sure many of you will be rushing about this evening, eating as many jelly spider / fang / ghost / eyeball shaped sweets as possible, let us remember that there is always room for CAKE. In honour of the day, we've embraced the classic combination of orange and black to create a chocolate, orange and whiskey chequerboard cake that'll have party guests oooooohing and arrrrrghing (sorry, sorry) and trying to eat a second slice through their latex zombie masks.

I used a splash of bourbon in here for a good, warming kick but you can replace with whatever liqueur or spirit you fancy, or indeed with more orange juice for a kiddie friendly version.

Halloween Chequerboard Cake
You will need:
For the orange batter:
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp orange food colouring (optional, but it'll be much more dramatic!)
For the chocolate batter:
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 2 squares dark chocolate, grated
For the ganache topping:
  • 175g good-quality dark chocolate
  • 200ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp whiskey (or rum, or cointreau, or ALL)
Make it!
The cakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas mark 5. Grease and line two 20cm baking tins. 
  2. Place the butter and sugar for both cakes in a bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. 
  3. In a separate bowl, beat all of the eggs. 
  4. Add into the butter and sugar mixture a quarter at a time, with a tablespoon of flour each time to stop the batter from curdling. 
  5. Spoon half of the mixture into a separate bowl, and set aside. 
  6. In one bowl of batter, sift in the self-raising flour and baking powder and fold in gently. Add the orange zest, half the juice and the orange food colouring and stir until combined. 
  7. In the other bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa, folding in gently. 
  8. Stir in the grated chocolate. 
  9. Take two piping bags, and fill one with the orange batter and one with the chocolate batter. (Placing them in a tall glass and folding the tops over the rim helps with this!)
  10. Carefully pipe a ring of orange batter on the outside of one tin, followed by a ring of chocolate. Continue alternately until there are six rings, the middle one being chocolate. 
  11. Repeat with the other tin, beginning the other way around (e.g. chocolate first, orange last). 
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and a skewer comes out clean. 
  13. Cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
The ganache:
  1. Roughly chop the chocolate into small shards and place in a bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, gently heat the cream until it is hot, but not boiling. 
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate, stirring quickly until all of the chocolate has dissolved. 
  4. Stir in the liqueur or whiskey to taste. 
  5. Cover and set aside somewhere cool for half an hour or so to set slightly. 
  6. When it is ready to use, spread the underside of one of the cakes with ganache, then place the other layer on top. Cover the top and sides with the rest of the ganache, using a palette knife to get a smooth finish. 
  7. Decorate however you fancy! I did a spiderweb pattern on mine by mixing 50g icing sugar with around 1 tbsp of water (add it a little at a time) until it reached the right consistency, then piped on using a piping bag. 


  1. This looks incredible! I don't like chocolate orangey things, but this would work with a vanilla sponge as well, wouldn't it? Even though it would be less Halloweeny. Maybe I could make a green one.

    1. Sure would, or you could make a chocolate raspberry one? Red and black! Then it'd still look creepifying when you cut into it.


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