Haunted Bone Church Halloween Cake: Dark Cocoa Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting, Chocolate Dirt and Meringue Bones
I want to start with these, even tho they are a garnish. I feel like the whole cake comes together with this element. To start off, as any meringue making .. Use glass or steel bowl, wipe clean the bowl, whisk, spatula everything you use with either vinegar or lemon juice. (this cleans the fat out!)
Preheat the oven to 230F or 100 C degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add the egg whites into the bowl (make 100% sure there are no egg yolk bits in it!)
Add cream of tartar and beat for a couple minutes or until soft peaks are formed. Slowly add the sugar and beat for a few minutes (5-6) or until stiff peaks are formed. Add vanilla and give a couple of seconds of whipping.
Use a piping bag with a round nozzle, I used both Wilton 1A and 2A. Pipe the meringue on the parchment in the shape of a bone (just freehand). Mine were about 3-4 inch tall.
Bake for 30-45 minutes. See here is the trick. Generally when you bake a meringue you are not allowed to open the oven, as the heat escapes and doesnt bake it right and end up cracking but thats exactly what we want on these "Bones" the cracks add character :D
Once baked, take them out of the oven and leave them on the sheet until completely cooled. Once cooled, using a small paint brush dry brush the black cocoa powder on the bone meringues. Add couple of layers of dirt (cocoa dust) on the bones as you like to add the depth.
Store in an air tight container until needed. This can be done a week in advance.
(This is Heston Blumenthal's recipe) In a pan add sugar and water on medium low heat. Once the sugar start to caramelize and start turn amber, add the chopped chocolate and whisk.
It will start to look grainy, mix well and spread it on a baking sheet with parchment until it cools. Break off if there are bigger clumps. Store in an airtight container, this lasts for about 3 weeks in refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C degrees, grease and line the cake tin with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, add the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or a hand mixer or good ol spatula, cream the butter and sugars until light and creamy.
Add and beat the eggs one at a time and add oil. Whisk all the wet ingredients together.
In a another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and black cocoa, mix thoroughly. Add the 3 teaspoon of coffee into the cup of boiling water.
Add the dry ingredients and coffee alternatively into the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer to see if completely baked. Once baked, let it cool on a cooling rack.
Melt the chocolate and let it cool till its room temperature.
In a large bowl, add and whisk the butter and cream cheese. Sift the icing sugar in batches and whisk. Add and whisk in the melted chocolate. This can be made also 2-3 days in advance and kept in freezer (thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before you need to use)
Place the cake on a cake board or a cake stand. Add dollops of frosting on the cake, using the offset spatula spread the icing on top and around the cake. you can smoothen the sides with a cake scraper or your offset spatula. Do not fret we don't need the frosting to be perfect.
Sprinkle a layer of the chocolate "dirt" on the frosting. you can also add on the sides if you like.
Place the "bones" around the cake. I also made "tombstone" meringues and creepy tree (which broke :( while i was assembling) I also sprinkled some bats and ghosts on the meringue before baking.
Enjoy this creepy showstopper! Happy Halloweeen BOOO!