Spider Web Cake

Spider Web Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 2 eggs, at room temperature
  4. 1/2 cup sour cream
  5. 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  7. 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 3 apples, peeled and grated (2 cups)
  12. 1 3/4 cups flour
  13. 1 cup raisins $
  14. 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  15. 2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter
  16. 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  17. 1/4 cup whole milk
  18. 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  19. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  20. Orange food coloring
  21. 1 tube black icing
  22. Peanut or almond M&M's
Instructions
  1. Make cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 (8- or 9-inch) round cake pans; line with parchment, grease again and dust with flour.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream, then cocoa, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Reduce speed to low; beat in apples and flour until blended. Stir in raisins and pecans (batter will be thick).
  3. Spoon batter into pans, smoothing top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, turn out onto racks; remove wax paper; cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Cakes can be made a day ahead, wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated, or up to 3 weeks ahead and frozen.)
  4. Make brown-sugar frosting: Melt butter over medium heat; stir in brown sugar and cook over low heat, stirring, until sugar and butter are blended, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in milk and cook over medium heat just until mixture comes to a boil, stirring often. Let cool, about 1 hour.
  6. Add confectioners' sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until smooth and spreadable. Whisk in vanilla. Add food coloring in small increments until icing is desired shade of pumpkin. Use immediately.
  7. Assemble cake: Spread about 3/4 cup frosting evenly on top of a layer. Place second layer on first and frost top and sides with remaining frosting.
  8. Using black icing, pipe on a spiderweb (see photo). Make spiders with M&M's, adding eyes and legs with icing. (Cake can be loosely covered and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
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