You can use shop-bought biscuits if you like – malted milk, rich tea fingers and bourbon biscuits work well.
Halloween cake By Jayne Cross
- Prep Time
- Cook Time
- Difficulty Level Beginner
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- For the cake
- 250g/9oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 250g/9oz caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g/7oz self-raising flour
- 50g/2oz cocoa powder
- For the ginger biscuit tombstones
- 350g plain flour
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g/3½oz butter, cut into cubes
- 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
- For the decoration
- white icing (such as royal icing), for decorating the biscuits
- 125g/4½oz butter, softened
- 250g/9oz icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp milk
- ½ pack Oreo cookies or bourbon biscuits
- 1 pack chocolate sticks (such as Matchmakers)
- halloween sweets
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Grease and line a 20x30cm/8x12in rectangular cake tin with baking parchment.
- Beat together the butter and sugar with a hand-held mixer until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition, adding the vanilla extract with the last of the egg.
- Sift together the flour and the cocoa powder into a bowl. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.
- Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 30 minutes until firm to the touch (a wooden skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean).
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the ginger biscuit tombstones, place the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar, syrup and egg and mix together until it forms a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out your shapes – you will only need a few for the cake so cut out some other Halloween shapes for extra biscuits.
- Place the shapes on to greased baking sheets and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the sheets with a palette knife and place onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating with white icing.
- For the buttercream, beat the butter in a large bowl with a hand held mixer until creamy then add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time beating well between each addition. Add the cocoa powder and milk and beat again for a further five minutes until light and fluffy.
- Blend the Oreo or bourbon biscuits to fine crumbs in a food processor
- Spread the buttercream over the cooled cake, covering the top and sides – don’t worry if it’s not smooth - a few lumps and bumps will make it more mud-like.
- Break the chocolate sticks in half unevenly, then stick around the sides of the cake to form the fence.
- Sprinkle the biscuit soil over the surface before sticking in the tombstones and decorating with spooky sweets.