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Haunted-House Cake

You will need to make the Haunted-House Chocolate Cookies to decorate this spooky cake. Plain torrone or nougat can be rolled in cocoa powder and used in place of chocolate torrone. You will also need one 9-inch and one 11-inch round foam board, 11 round wooden dowels (1/4-inch diameter each), and toothpicks for this recipe.

  • servings: 25

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350. Butter three 11-by-2-inch round cake pans and three 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment, then butter parchment. Dust pans with cocoa powder, and tap out excess.

  2. Step 2

    Pour 5 cups devil's food cake batter into each 11-inch pan and 3 cups batter into each 9-inch pan. Bake, rotating pans halfway, until testers inserted in centers come out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks. Invert cakes. Remove parchment. Trim tops of each cake to create a flat surface. Reserve trimmings for another use.

  3. Step 3

    To assemble the cake: Secure one 11-inch cake layer to corresponding-size round foam board with a dab of chocolate buttercream. Spread 2 cups buttercream on top. Stack another 11-inch cake on top of frosting, and frost as before. Top with remaining 11-inch cake. Spread 1 cup frosting over top and sides of tier, scraping lightly to create a crumb coat, and refrigerate until frosting is firm, about 30 minutes. Spread 2 cups frosting over entire tier until smooth. Repeat with 9-inch cake layers, using 1 cup frosting between layers, 1/2 cup for crumb coat, and 1 cup for the final coat. Trim 5 dowels to height of 9-inch tier and 6 to height of 11-inch tier. Insert dowels in corresponding tiers in a circle 2 1/2 inches from the edge of cake.

  4. Step 4

    Center 9-inch tier over 11-inch tier, pressing gently to secure. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip with remaining buttercream. Pipe pearls around bottoms of tiers.

  5. Step 5

    Cut toothpicks in half. Insert into torrone blocks, and push blocks into cake to create steps, starting from top of 9-inch tier and curving to bottom of 11-inch tier. Using a vegetable peeler, shave milk chocolate, and sprinkle over tops of both tiers.

  6. Step 6

    Carefully transfer cookie house to top of cake. Press cookie doors into cake in front of house. Decorate cake with cookie tree, tombstones, and candy cats if desired. Press caretaker cutout onto top of cake, behind house door. Arrange a flashlight behind cake to shine through door and windows. Cake will keep, refrigerated, up to 3 days.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, October 2008

Reviews (18)

  • 16 Nov, 2011

    Devil's Food cake and the labor-intensive buttercream recipe was the best I've ever had. Very difficult to find 11" pan, but the 12" I used worked great. Made only 2 of each layer & the cake was still HUGE. Made the cake & frosting the day before, as well as frosted the layers. On Halloween I made the cookies, which will crack if burned! Accidentally used 1/2 stick too much butter in cookie dough, but it was still delicious. Used brownies for stairs, worked great.

  • 30 Oct, 2010

    The sugar

  • 30 Oct, 2010

    The sugar

  • 30 Oct, 2010

    The sugar

  • 30 Oct, 2010

    The sugar was a real challenge, but after reading the comments about putting the heat higher I turned the sucker up to 1 notch below high and guess what?? After a few excruciating moments of thinking I was going to get crystals again I noticed an amber color beginning. I stirred the sugar so that it would rotate to the bottom where it was burning and therefore turning amber. I have an electric stove if that makes a difference.

  • 15 Oct, 2010

    Every single thing you need for a recipe should be on one page, you should NOT have look through to make sure you got all the links ie. how to make the trees, etc.

    I can think of nothing more frustrating than if one were to begin making a recipe and realized they inadvertently neglected to copy some crucial information for how to add something that really made a difference in looks! There is no real reason why the data simply could not be added to the Haunted-House Cake recipe page.

  • 11 Oct, 2010

    I am going to make this cake for a little girls birthday next week. I am no "Martha Stewart" and I love making things as easy as possible. I purchased a pre-assembled gingerbread haunted house from Wal-Mart ($9) and will be using icing to decorate it. I will be using milky way candy bars (in the freezer for 15 minutes for easier cutting) instead of tarrone. What is tarrone anyways?! II am going to use boxed cake mixes and use my standard chocolate butter cream icing recipe. I know this cake will

  • 11 Oct, 2010

    I am going to make this cake for a little girls birthday next week. I am no "Martha Stewart" and I love making things as easy as possible. I purchased a pre-assembled gingerbread haunted house from Wal-Mart ($9) and will be using icing to decorate it. I will be using milky way candy bars (in the freezer for 15 minutes for easier cutting) instead of tarrone. What is tarrone anyways?! II am going to use boxed cake mixes and use my standard chocolate butter cream icing recipe. I know this cake will

  • 5 Aug, 2009

    Could we have a larger picture so we can see the details please?

  • 18 Nov, 2008

    I made this cake for a halloween party. It turned out beautiful and delicious! I think it was the best cake that I made so far! The frosting was delicious! I didnt have any problems with the cookie breaking, I think others made it to thin. I did have a problem with the windows, but I realized that they left out the caro syrp. after that it was great! Martha you are the best!

  • 6 Nov, 2008

    I made this cake for our Halloween themed wedding reception. I was determined to have a cake I loved after paying an arm and a leg for a wedding cake that looked nothing like what I ordered. I was very impressed that it not only looked incredible, but tasted amazing. It was time consuming, but worth it. This was my first major baking project and it came out perfectly. No one could believe I made it. Thanks for the recipe!

  • 4 Nov, 2008

    Emily,Jill,charlotte are woundering how the birthay cake turned out.we did not have the frosting problem because we bought it.but our cookie dough turned out not in bits instead it made a strong facade and a spooky tree.do not spend 15 hours on the cake and the frosting JUST BUY BUY BUY BUY IT.have fun making the facade and spooky tree.

  • 31 Oct, 2008

    ...side, and if it doesn't look right in the morning from spending the night in the fridge, then I am just going to have to suck it in and add meringue powder. I was wondering if anyone else was having this problem? I followed the recipe word for word. It looked fine, until I added the chocolate to it. Then it started to thin out. Any suggestions?

  • 31 Oct, 2008

    I am in the process of making this cake for a birthday party I am throwing for my friend tomorrow. I have probably spent roughly 6 hours on it already. Not an easy cake to master. I haven't gotten to the cookies yet, that is the last thing I am planning to do, but I am still not sure if I am going to. My only concern is how my frosting turned out. I made some caramel buttercream as well to go with this cake, but I don't think the chocolate buttercream came out quite right. It's on the soupier...

  • 30 Oct, 2008

    I made the haunted house cookie using the recipe provided, very aware that the cookie would be tricky. I stuck to the recipe, I measured carefully, but I have to report the recipe is a disaster. It is just not up for being rolled out for cookie cutting. It is too crumbly. Save yourself a heap of time and curses, ignore this cookie dough recipe and find one that isn't gong to break into bits. When cooked the house is brittle and begging to break when you so much as look at it. Waste of time.

  • 30 Oct, 2008

    Dont make this cake unless you know what you are doing. It took me 15 hours to make this cake following the recipe. It was delicious!

  • 28 Oct, 2008

    Emily 12, Charlotte 11 and Jill adult are having fun making this delicious recipe. We had a blast! We took lots of short cuts! Make the chocolate cookies but don't bother makimg the frosting nor the cake,just buy the cake mix and the frosting!DON'T FORGET to enlarge the templates and make two triangles!!!!! Have fun!!!

  • 26 Oct, 2008

    This looks amazing!