Haunted-House Cake

Haunted-House Cake

This haunted house's towering cookie facade, candy details, and golden caramel windows are guaranteed to become the stuff of legend—that is, should anyone who ventures near live to tell the tale. A winding nougat staircase leads up the chocolate buttercream grounds to the entrance, where a construction-paper caretaker hovers just inside, waiting for the next unsuspecting visitor.



  1. 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 buttercream, and frost as before. Top with remaining 11-inch cake. Spread 1 cup buttercream over top and sides of tier, scraping lightly to create a thin layer, or crumb coat, and refrigerate until frosting is firm, about 30 minutes. Spread 2 cups buttercream over entire tier until smooth.

  2. Repeat with 9-inch cake layers on second foam board, using 1 cup frosting between layers, 1/2 cup for crumb coat, and 1 cup for the final coat.

  3. 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. Center 9-inch tier over 11-inch tier, pressing gently to secure. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (#806) with remaining buttercream. Pipe pearls around bottoms of tiers for a border, as shown below. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days before proceeding.)

  4. Make the steps: Fill a small bowl with cocoa powder. Cut torrone into 2-to 2 1/2-inch-long blocks. Cut toothpicks in half (1 for each block). Roll torrone in cocoa powder to coat. Insert toothpicks into torrone blocks, and push blocks into cake, starting from top of 9-inch tier and curving to bottom of 11-inch tier. Using a vegetable peeler, shave milk chocolate; sprinkle over tops of tiers.

  5. Finish the cake: Carefully transfer assembled 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 door. Arrange a flashlight behind cake to shine through door and windows.

Cook's Notes

You will need to photocopy this caretaker template; trace onto black construction paper. You will also need a flashlight (for illuminating the caretaker); one 9-inch and one 11-inch round foam board; 11 round wooden dowels (1/4-inch diameter each); and toothpicks for this recipe.


Other types of nougat can be used in place of the torrone.

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