Spider Web Cake
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- 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 apples, peeled and grated (2 cups)
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 cup raisins $
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Orange food coloring
- 1 tube black icing
- Peanut or almond M&M's
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.)
- 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.
- Stir in milk and cook over medium heat just until mixture comes to a boil, stirring often. Let cool, about 1 hour.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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