When the house on the corner of my street pulls out the pumpkins, inflatable Frankenstein, huge tree-covering spiderwebs, and plastic black cats, I know that Halloween is on its way. It's like clockwork. Every year in mid October, the home suddenly becomes a haunted house—eerie lights, creepy noises, and all. I have to admire their fervor, even I don't share the same level of enthusiasm for All Hallow's Eve.
Trick or Treating was easily my favorite part of Halloween (and it's a shame I'm about ten years too old for it). I didn't care for dressing up or even the candy (gasp), it was the simple act of going from house to house that kept me coming back. I looked forward to the anticipation of what awaited on the other side of the door. Snickers? Twix bars? A sneak peek into the lives on my neighbors? I loved it all.
My younger sister and I always fought over who got to ring the doorbell. Arguably my favorite part of Halloween, my sister liked to run up to the door and ring it before me. I imagine it was simply to spite me because that's what younger sisters do. This is all speculation, of course, but I'm certain she wasn't born with the same doorbell ringing affinity as I was. I mean, what are the odds?
At the end of the evening, my family would gather in the living room, the candy buckets would be overturned, and we'd all ooh and ahh over our loot. Then the sorting began. There was very little candy my sister and I actually liked (we were unusual children) and we'd go through our buckets and pick out what we considered edible (like peanut butter cups). I think my father liked this part most of all because he ended up with the bulk of the candy all to himself. Trick or Treating was as much for my father as it was for us.
What is your favorite part of Halloween?
This Chocolate Fudge Cake with Ghost Meringues is a festive Halloween treat. The cake itself is rich, dark, fudgy, and filled with sticks-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth goodness. It features a chocolate cake covered in a thick chocolate fudge frosting with a little chocolate ganache to glaze the top. In other words, this cake means business. If you love chocolate, this is your cake. I thought the ghost meringues were a cute accessory to such a decadent cake and make this cake a fun addition to any Halloween party.
One Year Ago: Apple Tart with Almond Cream
Chocolate Fudge Cake with Ghost Meringues
Yields 2 8-inch cake layers
Adapted from Sweetapolita
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong black coffee (or 1 heaping tablespoon espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup water)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease baking pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Batter will be runny.
Divide batter evenly between baking pans and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs. Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting or glazing.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Yields about 3 cups
3 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
12 tablespoons (6 ounces or 1 1/2 sticks) salted butter
In a medium saucepan, melt together chocolate chips and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes before frosting the cake.
6 ounces (about 1 cup) dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream, stirring until smooth. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, before pouring a large spoonful of ganache on top the cake and smoothing until it just barely goes over the edge and drips down the side. Add more ganache if necessary.
Inspired by Skinny Taste
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a double boiler, stir together egg whites and sugar for 2-3 minutes, or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and place in large mixing bowl. Add vanilla extract and beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.
Place meringue in pastry bag (or plastic baggie with the corner cut off) and pipe ghost shaped meringues directly onto prepared baking sheet. Place chocolate chips for eyes and mouth. Bake for 90 minutes to dry out the meringues. Once cool, place ghosts on cake, cupcakes, or just eat them all by themselves.