Making this cake was a lot of fun. The walnuts, the chocolate, the rum and the coffee flavors are divine and perfect together. The best part of it is that you can decorate it in a million ways. I made it few times now for different occasions and every time was a success.
You can dress it up or down based on the occasion you make it for. For example, on one occasion, the cake was simple, with no decorations:
For the Halloween though, last year, I used fondant and gum paste to make little spooky characters that dressed up the face of the cake in a festive way.
A funny ghost with a really scared pumpkin.
A smiley pumpkin and a candy filled one.
You can also skip the fancy decorations and only make little rosettes out of whipped cream placed on top of the cake. Also, the cake is not very difficult to make and boy, let me tell you, IT IS DELICIOUS!
I hope you are brave enough to try it at least once! Don’t be intimidated, it is totally worth it!
To make the Halloween characters I used:
- 8 eggs
- a pinch of salt
- 8 Tablespoons sugar
- 8 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- orange zest
- 2¼ cups(150 ml) whole milk
- 3½ Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder(no sugar added)
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 10½(150g) Tablespoons butter room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons powder sugar
- 2 Tablespoons rum flavor
- ½ cup ground walnuts
- ⅔ cup(4 oz/100g) milk chocolate
- ⅓ cup(2oz/50g) dark chocolate
- ½ cup(4 fl.oz/118ml) heavy cream
- ½ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- For decoration:
- ½ cup(4fl.oz/118ml) heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon instant coffee powder
- 1 cup ground walnuts
- Start with the cream filling:
- In a small bowl mix cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar and few tablespoons of milk. Set aside.
- In a medium pot, bring milk to a boil and add the mixture of cocoa that you prepared earlier. Lower the heat and stir constantly until it becomes thick like a pudding. Set aside, cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap and let cool down.
- Meanwhile, beat butter with powder sugar until creamy.
- When the pudding is cool, incorporate butter into the mixture, then add the rum extract and the ground walnuts.
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Separate the eggs.
- Mix the flour with the baking powder. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites to a soft peak consistency with a pinch of salt, then add the sugar and continue mixing until sugar is dissolved.
- Incorporate egg yolks one by one, then add the orange zest and mix well.
- Finally, add the flour with the baking powder and mix to incorporate.
- Prepare a 9 inch springform cake pan by buttering the bottom and the sides.
- Place parchment paper on the bottom.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake at 350F/180C for 25-30 minutes.
- Test in the middle with a toothpick to make sure is done. The toothpick should come out clean.
- Remove form the pan and let cool on a rack.
- Cut horizontally in 2 even layers.
- Mix sugar and water in a medium pot and bring them to a boil. Let them simmer for 1 minute, then remove and let cool.
- Add the vanilla extract.
- How to ensemble the cake:
- Place a layer of the cake on the bottom of the same springform cake pan.
- Using a brush, brush the cake layer with the sugar syrup.
- Pour the entire cream filling on the cake layer and spread it evenly.
- On a different plate, place the second layer of the cake and brush it with syrup.
- Place the second layer of cake on top of the cream filling and press gently on each side.
- In a medium bowl, break the milk and the dark chocolate in smaller pieces.
- In a small pot, bring the heavy milk to a boil.
- Remove from the stove and pour over the chocolate. Use a spatula to mix gently until the mixture becomes silky and creamy.
- Pour the chocolate over the cake.
- Place the cake in the fridge to cool down completely for 1-2 hours.
- Take the cake out of the fridge and remove the springform ring from around the cake.
- Place the cake on a platter.
- Whip the heavy cream together with the instant coffee powder.
- Cover with whipped cream only the sides of your cake with a flat spatula. Apply a thick coat around the cake so there is room to press in the nuts without them poking into the cake.
- Lift the plate up over a shallow bowl or baking sheet that’s wider than the plate. With your free hand, scoop up a large handful of ground walnuts. Using just a few at a time means you’re more likely to smudge the frosting, so pick up more than you need and reuse any that fall.
- Gently press your handful of nuts against the side of the cake. Some nuts will likely fall into the bowl or on the baking sheet below; simply collect them to use again. Rotate the cake as you work so you end up with an even coating of nuts all the way around.
- When you finish decorating, chill the cake for at least 20 minutes before cutting into it.
- If you have leftover whipped cream, decorate the face of the cake with little whipped cream rosettes.