Stout & chocolate graveyard cake

Stout & Chocolate Graveyard Cake
Stout & Chocolate Graveyard Cake

For someone who hates Halloween as much as I do, I’ve baked a pretty good cake for it. Today is the office Halloween Bake Off to help raise money for Mind, a charity that provides advice and support to anyone experiencing mental health issues.
So in the name of charity, Halloween and I have put our differences aside to create this (dare I say it) rather pretty graveyard cake. So let’s enjoy this stupid, nonsensical day and raise some dosh by eating loads of cake… The things I do for charity.

Psst… If you like the look of this cake but don’t want all the bells and whistles, then click here for my regular Guinness Chocolate Cake recipe.

Stout & chocolate graveyard cake
Serves 8-10 / Hands on time 45 mins / Total time 1 hr 30 mins + decorating /
You’ll need: A stand up mixer or electric whisk and a 9 inch round cake tin
250ml Guinness stout
60g cocoa powder, I use Green & Black’s Organic Cocoa Powder
350g golden caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
150ml buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
Cream cheese frosting
250g cream cheese
250g icing sugar
200ml whipping cream
1 packet of Oreos, crushed
8 rich tea finger biscuits
200g Green & Black’s Organic White Chocolate, melted
1 black icing pen
1 small paint brush (optional, although I find a paint brush handy if the icing pen is too thick)
A few sprigs of thyme

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4 and line a 9-inch round tin with baking paper and grease the sides with butter.
2. Pop the Guinness and butter on a low heat in a large saucepan until melted. This could take 5-10 minutes, so use this time to measure and prepare the rest of the ingredients. Once the butter has melted, give it a good stir and take off the heat. Tip in 350g of golden caster sugar and 60g of cocoa powder and beat until combined with a hand whisk.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla and the buttermilk together with a fork then whisk them into the warm mixture using your hand whisk. (You can use an electric and whisk if you prefer but be careful not to over whisk the mixture). By now the mixture should look lovely and glossy.
4. Sieve 280g of plain flour, 2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt, straight into the mixture. Whisk for a final time until combined and the lumps reduced (don’t try and work out all of the lumps out, just whisk until smooth-ish for not longer than a few minutes).
5. Pour the mixture, into your tin and bake for 45 minutes. Leave to cool fully in the tin. (The cake might be raised in the middle when you take it out the oven but as it cools, it tends to level out.)
6. To make the cream cheese frosting you will need either a stand alone mixer or hand whisk. In a big bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth and then sieve in all of the icing sugar. Whisk until fully combined before adding the whipping cream. Whisk on a high speed for 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is thick and spreadable.
7. Turn the cake out and carefully, using a large knife, slice the cake horizontally as even as you can, giving you two large disks. Spread an even layer of buttercream on the bottom layer, before topping with the other disk to create a sandwich (this bit is optional, if you’d rather not have any layers, then simply jump to step 8.
8. Using a spatular or palette knife, carefully spread the remaining buttercream over the whole cake, including the sides as evenly as you can. Put to one side.
9. Pop your Oreos in a sealable plastic bag and give them a good crunching with a rolling pin. Keep working the rolling pin over the Oreos until you have a good soil texture. Sprinkle the soil over the cake and pat down slightly with your hand, making sure they stick to the buttercream.
10. Melt the 200g of white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water. Meanwhile, line a Tupperware with foil and put to one side. Once melted, carefully dip in your rich tea biscuits one at a time, leaving a quarter of the biscuits uncoated (this is the part you’re holding). Once you have an even coating of chocolate front and back, pop the biscuit in the Tupperware by lean it against the side keeping it upright. Repeat with the other 7 biscuits and make sure they don’t touch each other in the Tupperware. Put the biscuits in the freezer for 5-10 minutes or until the chocolate has fully set.
11. Pull each biscuit away from the foil (there’ll be a small chocolate indent on the back of each biscuit but as it’s at the back no one will notice). One by one, pipe on the words RIP onto the front of each biscuit using your icing pen or your pain brush, dipped in a pool of your icing pen. On a chopping board remove the quarter of the biscuit without the chocolate on using a sharp knife and then submerge your gravestone into the cake. Repeat until you have the desired number of graves.
12. Finally, cut several thyme storks and submerge them next to a few graves on top of the cake and Bobs your uncle, you’ve just made my stout and chocolate graveyard cake.

Stout & Chocolate Graveyard Cak

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V– Vegetarian  – Once cooled, wrap individual slices in a few layers of clingfilm and freeze. Consume within 3 months.

HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloween sugar skull cupcakes

It’s Halloween week, hurrah! So, why not have a go at making Lily Vanilli’s Mexican sugar skulls? Don’t mind if we do. Grab your edible glitter pens and get stuck into some serious cake decorating.

Day Of The Dead Skulls
Makes 12 cakes
60g unsalted butter at room temperature, 140g caster sugar, 1 large egg, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 115g plain flour, 30g unsweetened cocoa, ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda, ¼ tsp salt, 80ml sour cream, 4 tsp strong espresso, cooled
Decorations: 1kg white fondant, tubes of coloured frosting or icing pens, lustre dust (edible shimmer), rejuvenating spirit (vodka, lemon juice or clear vanilla extract) silver dragées (silver balls)
Optional: Flower sprinkles, edible wafer flowers
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy (about five minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly mixed.
2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the sour cream. Then slowly add the cooled coffee.
3. Spoon the batter into the cases and
bake for 15 minutes.
4. Leave to cool in the muffin pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
5. Remove cases and cut hollows in the muffins for eyes. Roll out some fondant to a thickness of 1⁄4 inch and wrap the cake so it is completely sealed. Use your hands to sculpt a skull shape.
6. Decorate the skull however you wish. Create the main features using tubes of ready-coloured frosting or icing pens. You could also use coloured frosting and a piping bag with a very small tip.
7. To paint on further details, use lustre dust mixed with rejuvenating spirit. The liquid evaporates, leaving the powder in place.
8. Finish your skull cakes with silver dragées, flower sprinkles and edible wafer flowers, then serve.

Heat’s Verdict:
Corrie says, “Don’t let these little bleeders intimidate you. If you can’t get hold of edible wafer flowers or lustre dust, don’t panic. Just go to the baking section in your local supermarket and stock up on writing icing, sprinkles, silver balls and glitter. Anything goes with these, so invite a few friends round, open a bottle of prosecco and get creative.”

HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloween Sugar Skull Cupcakes
HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloween Sugar Skull Cupcakes
HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloweed Sugar Skull Cupcakes
HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloweed Sugar Skull Cupcakes

If you fancy trying this or any other of Lily Vanilli’s recipes, then why not treat yourself to her book A Zombie ate my cupcake.

Also, if you have a taste for the good, the bad and the unmissable, check out the brand spanking new heat magazine.


Lentil & pumpkin soup

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: Pumpkin & Lentil Soup
HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: Pumpkin & Lentil Soup

Let’s all buy pumpkins and spend hours angrily peeling, deseeding and chopping them. YAY!… Okay, so pumpkins are a pain in the arse, but we all know we’re gonna end up putting one in our basket – until we realise it’s too heavy so try and get a trolley but can’t, because you don’t have a pound, so instead throw it on the floor, and walk out the shop.

If you did however manage to purchase a pumpkin, then why not make a delicious soup with it? Don’t mind if I do.

Lentil & pumpkin soup
Serves 4 / Takes 20 mins / Total time 40 mins / V Gf*
You’ll need:
A hand blender or food processor
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
3 garlic cloves, crushed
800g pumpkin, de-seeded, peeled and chopped
Small handful fresh thyme leaves
500ml gluten-free vegetable stock, I use 1 Knorr
1 can of low-fat coconut milk
3 handfuls red lentils
2 handfuls pumpkin seeds
4 tbsp of Greek yogurt

1. Add a tsp of oil to a large heavy bottomed pot and sweat the chopped onion on a medium heat until soft. Add the chilli, garlic, pumpkin, 2tbsp of water and the thyme leaves.
2. Continue to cook for a further 5 mins before adding the stock, coconut milk and lentils.  Season well with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 mins.
3. Meanwhile, heat a small non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat and toast the pumpkin seeds for a couple of minutes.
4. Take the soup off the heat and blend with a hand blender or food processor. Serve topped with the toasted pumpkin seeds and a dollop of yoghurt.

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: Pumpkin & Lentil Soup
HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: Pumpkin & Lentil Soup

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V – Vegetarian.
*Gf – I use Knorr vegetable stock pots because they are gluten free but other stock pots/cubes may not be.