Spider Cake

While planning our little Halloween shindig, one of my first food ideas was to make a spider-shaped cake.

He’s made from a dome-shaped cake a’la the famous Barbie skirt cake, which I thought would also work out to be the perfect shape for our little buddy. The idea for Barbie cakes is this: Bake your cake in an oven-safe bowl, plop it out inverted, frost it, and stick Barbie in feet first so that it looks like her billowy dress. Hoo boy. I’m actually kind of surprised I didn’t beg and plead for this one when I was a kid.

I baked a test cake first, in an oven-proof bowl from Crate and Barrel. I used a boxed cake mix, and yay, it baked up fine – after about 60 minutes in the oven.

So as the party neared, I decided to bake the real deal. But the spider’s innards could be no ordinary cake. What would be better than cutting into the spider only to reveal bright red innards, a’la the famous Steel Magnolias armadillo cake? Enter: My first ever attempt at Red Velvet Cake – baked in a bowl!

Unfortunately, this one took about an hour and a half to bake all the way through. So the outside was nice and crisp by the time the inside was cooked. I figured I was SOL (Spider Out of Luck). Note lack of photographs from here until the surprisingly decently happy ending.

The next morning, with barely a glimmer of hope, I hacked off the burned outer layer and, because I was actually left with a reasonable amount of still-dome shaped cake, I decided to give it a whirl. I made yummy chocolate cream cheese frosting (see recipe at bottom), and frosted that dome to within an inch of its life (and actually probably about an inch thick). It worked!

So here’s the deal. I’m just going to give you a few spider cake instructions, and a frosting recipe, and I’m sorry, but I don’t have very many photos. But I promise, this really is super easy once you figure out the dome cake. Make the dome cake in a well-greased oven safe bowl (I hear Pampered Chef batter bowls are perfect), frost it, put on the candy face and some licorice legs! Boom, fresh spider!

Print Recipe

Spider Cake

Bake your cake in a bowl then frost and decorate that sucker! It's that easy to make a spider cake. Note: No actual spiders were harmed in the making of this cake.

Yield: 1 cake

Ingredients:

  • One cooled dome-shaped baked cake (see, I jumped right to the cake. Just prepare your batter that you know will bake up correctly in your bowl (boxed cake worked for me, red velvet cake didn't).
  • One batch Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (below)
  • Two sour apple slice candies
  • Two blackberry gumdrops
  • One red licorice strong
  • Two candy corns
  • Eight strands of black licorice vines
  • Note on the candy: I raided the bulk foods section at my local grocery store. This place is genius for finding pieces for things like this.

Directions:

  • Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the dome shaped cake horizontally into two pieces. Set the larger piece, flat bottom down, on your cake plate, and frost the middle of the cake with about a half inch of icing.
  • Top with the second piece, flat side down.
  • Frost the sides and then the top, making sure the entire cake is covered in a thick layer of frosting.
  • Push the blackberry candies through the sour apple rings from the green side out the white side, in a spiderly eye fashion.
  • Press the eyes into the frosting. Wasn't that easy? He's starting to look like a cute, albeit dorky, spider! He also looks kind of like a legless octopus. (Ooh, I think someday I'll make an octopus cake.)
  • Unroll the red licorice and cut off about four inches or so. This is the mouth. Apply to cake!
  • Press the candy corns into the frosting underneath the red licorice, point down. These are the spider fangs, or whatever those things are on spiders. I sort of like to think of them as buck teeth, too.
  • Fold the licorice pieces in the middle so they're just a little bent. Stick four into the cake on either side. Legs!
  • We added a couple licorice antennas over the eyes, too, just to add to the dorky effect.
  • Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles - I just kept them on the top, mostly, as I was liking the idea of a hairy-backed spider.
  • Refrigerate until about an hour before you're ready to serve.

And here’s the chocolate cream cheese frosting. It’s really really easy, and really really good. Really.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Food Network’s Cream Cheese Frosting recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (I used Scharffen Berger for this one)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, cocoa, and butter on low until it all comes together, then beat on high until light and fluffy – about five minutes.
  • Add the vanilla, then beat again until it’s fluffy.
  • If necessary, you can chill this to make it thicker.

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4 Responses to “Spider Cake”

  1. Sonia posted on October 30, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    SO cute! Even with armadillo like red innards. Because…awe-some! ;)
    I have a dumb question, that I think of every time I read that something needs to be sifted. So I’m just going to ask. Here goes. When a recipe calls for ’4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar’, is the 4 cups measured before, or after, the sifting?

  2. Sonia posted on October 30, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Also, yes. Yes I AM aware that I’ve long surpassed stalker and gone straight to being your groupie. Let’s just get that elephant out there in the open.

  3. Kare posted on October 31, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Laughing. Sonia, the good news is, you’re a pioneer – I’m certain I have no other groupies! Hee hee. I’m just thrilled you find it interesting enough be coming back!
    As far as sifting before or after you measure it – that’s an excellent question. And you’re one step ahead of me, because I’ve always just assumed it’s measure first, then sift. I often just measure and plop the flour, baking soda/powder, spices, etc. into my sieve, and sift directly over the combined wet ingredients.
    After Googling (what did we do before Google) it looks like it can go either way depending on the wording. “2 cups flour, sifted” means you measure after you sift. “2 cups sifted flour” means you measure before you sift. Who knew?!!
    I’m far too lazy to sift THEN measure, personally, though maybe I’ll try it in the future if I know it’s a super persnickety recipe. And then there’s the -most- accurate method of weighing, which I just can’t completely get my head around yet.

  4. Sonia posted on November 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for clearing that up! And um, I suppose I could have googled that myself…..DUR!
    Also, thanks for bringing the word ‘persnickety’ back. It makes me giggle.

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