A decadent mix of chocolate brownie and layers of colourful sponge perfect for any Halloween party
This was my attempt to make a large version of my Halloween brownie cupcakes. It’s a bit more effort than a straightforward cake, but still quite easy to bake and assemble.
Ingredients (serves about 10 – 12)
For the brownie layer:
- 100 g / 3.5 oz butter or baking margarine
- 100 g / 3.5 oz dark chocolate
- 2 eggs (medium or large)
- 100 g / 3.5 oz caster sugar
- 65 g / 2.2. oz plain flour
For the sponge cakes:
- 225 g/ 8 oz self-raising flour
- 225 g/ 8 oz caster sugar
- 225 g/ 8 oz butter or baking margarine
- 4 eggs (medium or large)
- Green and orange food colourings.
For the buttercream and decoration
- 115 g / 4 oz butter at room temperature
- 230 g / 8 oz icing sugar, sifted
- 0.5 tsp peppermint flavouring (optional)
- 75 g plain or dark chocolate
- Halloween-themed sprinkles (completely optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C (160 fan)/ 356 degrees F or Gas Mark 4.
If you have any shallow, 8-inch / 20 cm diameter circular tins, use two of them for the sponge layers and another one with a “normal depth” (about 2.5 cm/ 1 inch) for the brownie layer. Three standard depth round tins would also be fine.
Grease your baking tins with butter and line with baking paper.
Make your brownie layer first. Break the chocolate into small pieces into a heatproof bowl. Add the butter and melt either over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. If using the microwave, use 30-second bursts of heat, stirring throughly between bursts until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
In a second large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar until combined. Add the chocolate mixture and stir together until the colour is even. Finally, add the flour and mix until all the ingredients are combined. Pour the brownie mixture into your prepared tin and bake for about 22 minutes.
Take care not to overbake the brownie layer: brownies should be dense and slightly gooey. It will continue to cook a little in the tin after you remove it from the oven. Don’t leave it in too long or you’ll have another layer of cake rather than brownie.
While your brownie is baking, make the sponge cake layers.
Use an electric stand mixer or electric hand beaters if you have them. Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Using the electric stand mixer this takes 3-4 minutes. Then add the eggs, stirring after each addition until combined. Finally, gradually add the flour, stirring gently after each spoonful until the mixture is smooth and all the flour combined.
Divide your sponge cake mixture into two bowls. You can do this by eye, by spoonful, or you can use weighing scales.
Add orange food colouring to one bowl and green colouring to the other. Mix until the colour is even.
Scrape the contents of each bowl into one of the prepared baking tins and spread out evenly.
The cakes are shallow, so will only need about 12 minutes to bake. Keep an eye on them after 10 minutes to check they brown rather than burn.
Leave your two cakes and brownie layer to cool completely in their tins. While you are waiting, make the buttercream.
Buttercream and assembly
Use your stand mixer or hand mixer to make the buttercream.
To get “white” buttercream, start by beating the butter. With a stand mixer this will take at least 4 minutes. When the butter has lost most of its yellow colour, add the icing sugar and beat for at least 2 minutes until you have a smooth white buttercream. Remember to start slowly to prevent the icing sugar blowing out everywhere.
If you would like mint-flavoured buttercream, add a half teaspoon of peppermint flavouring and stir through the buttercream thoroughly to make sure the flavour is evenly spread throughout. Should you find the buttercream is too stiff to spread, add a little milk and stir through to loosen the mixture.
Turn the brownie layer out of the baking tin and put it on a turntable if you have one, or a chopping board if not. Spoon half the buttercream on top and spread out to the edges using a knife or back of a spoon. The cake is for Halloween, so I tried to get the buttercream to appear to “ooze” over the edges slightly. Place the green layer of cake on top of the brownie layer. Spread the rest of the buttercream on top of the green layer and then place the orange layer of cake on top of that.
Melt some plain or dark chocolate either in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water or using the microwave. Pour the chocolate over the top of the cake, using a knife to help it spread out and over the sides. Finally, if you like, add some Halloween-themed sprinkles. I found these little sugar pumpkins and thought they were a cute, final Halloweeny touch.
The brownie layer cake slices well and will brighten up any Halloween party. I recommend serving a small slice (the brownie is rather rich) warm with a scoop of ice cream.
The Halloween brownie and sponge layer cake will keep for a few days if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Looking for other Halloween baking recipes? Try these:
Halloween brownie cupcakes with orange and green sponge with buttercream swirl.
Halloween chocolate fudge muffins with chocolate cobweb spider web frosting.