15 October 2009

Graveyard Cake

This cake is easy, quick, fun, and kid-friendly. Let your kids help you crush up the Oreos to make graveyard dirt, shape the gravestones, write the epitaphs, and add the decorations. I used cupcake toppers for decorations, but candy corn pumpkins would be even better. Peep marshmallow ghosts, gummy worms, fake blood, the possibilities are endless. Let your kids decide!

I made my go-to quick and easy chocolate cake. I halved the recipe to make enough for one 8-inch square pan. I topped the cake with Cookies 'n' Cream buttercream icing and then added another layer of crushed cookies (without the filling) to simulate dirt. The gravestones are sugar cookies with two drops of black coloring so they would look aged. You can make them from scratch, like I did, or just use the tube sugar cookie dough in the refrigerated biscuit section of the grocery store.

You will need:

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup and 2T all-purpose flour
1/4 cup and 2T unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup whole milk (important that you use whole and not skim)
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tsp instant coffee

(I forgot to add the cocoa powder when I took the picture. I used Hershey's Special Dark.)

Mix the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a large mixer bowl and thoroughly combine.

Add the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla.

Mix for two minutes on medium speed.

Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water.

Pour into the cake batter and mix until just combined. Batter will be thin.

Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

To make the buttercream you will need:

1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 T whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
6 crushed Oreos (with filling)

This buttercream recipe is my all-time favorite. I use it exclusively whenever I make buttercream. It's not too sweet, not too thick, holds up beautifully for my sculpted cakes, and has NO shortening flavor. Nothing worse than taking a big bite of beautiful buttercream and getting a mouthful of Crisco. (Nice alliteration in that sentence!)

Mix together the butter and sugar. Then add the cream and vanilla and beat on high for 3 minutes.

Add the crushed up Oreos (I used generic cookies) and mix until combined.

I added about a half a tablespoon more cream because the icing got a little too thick after adding the cookies.

After the cake has cooled completely, spread the Oreo buttercream on top.

I used my mini chopper to crush up 8 more Oreos without their filling. I thought that the graveyard needed more "dirt."

Shape and bake your cookies according to package (or recipe) directions. When they are cool write on them with a food-safe food coloring pen or with a bit of icing or gel. I had such fun thinking up epitaphs to write on the stones! There is one in the back that is hard to read. "Dracula--Fangs for the Memories" I used mini popsicle sticks to hold up the gravestones.

Have fun!!

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