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This Witch’s Hat cake makes a yummy Halloween statement

This Witch’s Hat cake makes a yummy Halloween statement

By Margaret Maples

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Here’s a cake that will tickle Halloween party guests or offer a big finish for dinner before the kids go out trick-or-treating. It’s a witch’s hat, and it’s edible, right down to the decorative golden glitter.

Cut the cake and you’ll find a vivid tumble of black, green, orange and red. But the cake’s flavor is homey, middle-of-theroad lemon, and the frosting is store-bought chocolate that has been tinted very black with gel food coloring.

This hat requires forethought, but if you divide the project into steps, it’s very doable. If you want to change colors or flavors, or make the cake larger, feel free to be as creative as you like. Here’s the basic plan for the cake pictured here.


You’ll need two lemon-flavor cake mixes, each for a two-layer cake. Butter or spray six round cake pans: two 8-inch, two 6-inch and two 4-inch. Line the bottoms with parchment.

Use one cake mix to make batter for two 8-inch layers. Remove about 1/3 cup of plain batter and divide it into four parts. Tint these black, green, orange and red. Divide the plain batter between the 8-inch cake pans, then add dabs of colored batter on top. Swirl the colors gently — don’t blend them. Bake as directed.

Use a second mix to make the other four layers. Follow the same steps to color the plain batter. Bake as directed.

When all six layers are completely cool, seal in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Carve and frost

Unwrap the layers and set each one on a cardboard cake circle. This helps to protect the tender cake. Use a serrated knife to cut the dome off each layer, leaving it level.

Mix one package of instant vanilla pudding and refrigerate. If you prefer to tint the pudding a wild color instead of leaving it ivory, do that now.

Stack the layers, from largest up to smallest, icing in between with pudding or with cherry pie filling. To keep the cake tower steady, slide a wooden skewer inside a plastic drinking straw and push this little construction element down through the center of the layers. Chill the stack.

Set the tower in a rimmed baking sheet. Now comes the really messy part: Use a serrated knife to trim the layers at an angle, creating a large cone. The pieces of cake and the crumbs should fall onto the baking sheet and not on the floor, your toddler or the cat.

Place two cans of store-bought chocolate icing in a mixing bowl and add black gel color. Mix well to get ebony fit for Halloween. Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer, called a crumb coat, to the cone. Chill the cake. Smooth on a second thin frosting layer.

Prepare the hat band, brim and cake board

Put on plastic gloves and knead orange gel color into a 4-inch ball of rolled fondant. Shape the fondant into a baton and place it between two pieces of plastic wrap. Roll out a long strip about 1 inch wide and 1/8-inch thick. Trim the edges clean.

Add black gel color to a 7-inch ball of fondant; knead until the color matches the crown of the hat. Shape the fondant into a ball and place it between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to make a fondant circle at least 12 inches across and about 1/8-inch thick. A 12-inch cardboard cake circle is a reliable guide for cutting out the hat brim.

Cover a sturdy cake board with orange plastic. Arrange the fondant hat brim in the center of the board.

Put it all together

Set the hat’s crown in the center of the brim. Apply black icing to hide any edges of the crown’s cake circle that might be peeking out. Wrap the orange hat band around the crown. For this ghoulishly festive occasion, add a liberal dusting of edible, star-shaped glitter.


After cutting each piece, spoon cherry pie filling on top. Encourage the goo to dribble down the side. Perfectly witchy!

Our Witch’s Hat cake sets a festive mood as a Halloween party centerpiece. Tint the cake layers with a gentle hand before baking. Add colored batter in a few strokes, but don’t blend it in completely. To help catch debris, stack the cake tower in a rimmed cookie sheet before you begin to trim. Use a serrated knife.


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