For the cake
For the buttercream frosting and decoration
You’ll need a medium crank handle palette knife for frosting
Side scraper (optional, but helps for a neat and flat finish)
Cake leveler or large bread knife
8” round drum or cake stand/plate to support the cake
Cake stand or plate/board for display
Microwave safe bowl
3 x 8” round sandwich tins, base, and sidelined (or do in batches)
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan.
Grease, base and side line 3 x 8” round cake tins (or do in batches)
In a stand mixer bowl with a paddle beater attachment or a large bowl using a hand whisk (or you can use a bowl and wooden spoon but it will take longer), beat the butter, vanilla, and sugar at fast speed until really light, pale, and creamy.
Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl down as needed throughout.
Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until combined at a slow speed.
Add in your food colouring to make your sponge a bright Halloween colour and mix well.
Lastly add the flour and baking powder in increments of 3, beating very slowly until only just mixed. Do not overbeat.
Divide the batter mix into three tins equally, and bake for around 20-25 minutes until the sponges are springy, light golden, and cooked in the centre completely.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack, remove the paper and allow to cool.
While the cakes are cooling, make your frosting.
For the frosting
Place the butter and vanilla in your stand mixer bowl with the paddle beater, or use a bowl with a hand whisk and beat on high until very creamy and smooth (for a minute or so).
Gradually add the icing sugar, about a quarter at a time, beating each addition on slow first so the icing sugar doesn’t puff up everywhere.
Once combined, turn to high speed for a minute or so each time.
A good tip to ensure your buttercream is creamy and fluffy – add a tablespoon of recently boiled water into the bowl with each addition of the sugar, mix it on slow then turn up to high.
Add the food colouring until you get a lovely Halloween colour.
Set aside, covering with cling film or a damp clean cloth to prevent it crusting over.
To assemble and decorate
Level off any uneven humps from the top of each cake to make the layer flat. You can do this with a cake leveler or bread knife.
Place your first layer onto your stand, board, or plate and spread over a layer of frosting.
Add the second sponge onto the frosting layer, line it up neatly, and add a further layer of frosting.
Add the last sponge, turn it over so it’s cut side down and the smooth part that was in the bottom of the tin is uppermost.
Press down on the top sponge gently with your palm to secure the sponges and frosting together.
Use a palette knife; generously spread more of the frosting all around the sides of the cake first (this allows you to be able to hold the top of the cake still while you work around the cake).
Place gentle pressure against the side of the cake with the palette knife and use a back and forth motion to spread the coating over the sides.
Once the sides are covered, spread a nice even layer over the top of the cake.
Once the whole cake is covered, clean the palette knife and go around the cake again to smooth off the excess, spreading it until you are happy that it’s nice and neat. This is a crumb coat, which is a good base to work on to give a neat second coat finish as it locks in any crumbs and holds the sponge together firmly once chilled.
Pop this into the fridge to chill and firm up for an hour.
For your final second coat layer or frosting, repeat the crumb coating process as above, but using a slightly thicker coating.
Paddle around the side and over the top until you are happy with the covering.
If you have a side scraper, use this to neaten around the side and top of the cake.
Place in the fridge to chill for a further 30 mins.
For the web decoration, microwave the marshmallows for about 30 seconds.
Stir well and make sure they aren’t too hot to handle.
Using your fingers (you can dampen them to help prevent being so sticky), grab some marshmallows and begin stretching it right out to create long thin web-like strands.
Place all over the top and sides of the cake, including the stand if you are using one, to create a web effect.