Halloween Witch Hat Step By Step Process

Monday, November 1, 2010

I recently posted a blog on Paula Deen's Witch Hat Cake for Halloween, but some of you expressed concern on it being too high maintenance to do, and a little confusing on how to put it together. So I took pics while I  made the cake myself and here is a step-by-step illustrated instructional on how to construct the cake.

Prepare your cake as instructed. To achieve the orange color inside, I used a yellow box cake mix and then added red and yellow food coloring to achieve the orange hue I wanted. The more red you use, the deeper the orange. And a word to the wise: do NOT use the natural red food coloring stuff -- it doesn't turn out red, but rather more purple. Just use the synthetic stuff!

Ok, so you've baked your round cake in a separate round cake loaf pan, and then your sheet cake portion in the rectangular pan.

1. Take the round cake one and trim off the top, leaving a nice even layer. Using a serrated knife works best for this. Then flip the cake over so the bottom of it is now the top, and place it on a cake pedestal or whatever serving platter/plate you're going to use. Then frost this layer completely, top and sides with chocolate frosting:

Now let's work with the sheet cake portion. You're going to cut out different sized rounds from this rectangular cake to build up your hat.

2. I don't have larger cookie cutters like Paula, so I make do with what I've got. A dessert plate works perfectly for size. Flip the plate over and then run a sharp knife around the edges, cutting out a circular form.  

 You'll see the perfect circle will just slide right out like this.

 3.  Gently layer the cut out circle on top of the base cake. Try to get this layer roughly in the middle, but if you're a little off-center then don't worry about it -- it's just the difference between a straight hat and crooked one which is probably even better for Halloween!

4. Cut the next two circles, repeating the process above. To make a circle a little smaller than the dessert plate, use an upside down tea cup plate. Or, eyeball a smaller version of the dessert one. Then cut out a third and final circle of cake, this one the smallest of the rest. Using an upside down tea cup works great for this.

5. Place each cake circle on top of the base, starting with the largest on on bottom and ending with the smallest one on top. If you like, you can layer in between each of these but frankly I think there's so much frosting that's going to go on top of this entire cake, it would be a little overkill. If you wanted to get fancy and introduce different flavor layers or colored layers (like purplse frosting would be great or even green!) then you can do that in the above steps. Every time you place a layer down, top it with that new frosting/jam and then top with another smaller circle of cake, top that again with the new frosting, etc. until you end with the top little circle frosted with your colored frosting/jam (or just plain like below).

6.  Now it's time to make the pointy top. Take a sugar ice cream cone and fill it with the extra cake leftover from the sheet cake. Then take a wooden skewer (like the ones you'd use to do kabobs with) and trim about 2 inches off with scissors or a flower cutter. Stick the skewer into the cone and then stick the other end into the main body of the cake. The skewer is going to help keep the cake together, and the cone from being knocked off accidentally during decorating or the festivities!

7.  Now it's time to frost the cake! Using an obscene amount of chocolate frosting, very carefully go around the body of the cake, dapping generous amounts of frosting then smoothing it out. When you get towards the base of the cone, spread your frosting "up" towards the tip of the cone. If you see you're starting to pull the cake away from itself, you're pressing too hard with your knife. You want to work lightly with the frosting. Using room-temperature frosting will also help you spread it around easier. Continue to frost the ever-loving-shit out of the cake until you get one uniform chocolate hat.

8. Now decorate your cake! You can use any candy or fruit strips or whatever you think would look good. Candy corn, worms, and other confections work great. I like using Halloween colors as well (orange, lime green, purple). Kids usually love this part, so break out the sprinkles and candies and let them join in the fun as well!

The cake (if you use the skewer!) is actually pretty stable. You can transport it to a party or school or office no problem. Just make sure to bring some extra frosting and candies just in case it needs a cosmetic touch-up. You can serve the cake immediately, or make it even up to 8 hours before. I like putting the cake together and then laying out a bunch of candies for the kids to decorate if having a kids Halloween party.

Happy Halloween!

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