Halloween Candy Chocolate Whiskey Layer Cake

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Not sure what to do with all the leftover Halloween candy? Or, just have a ton of candy hanging around?

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Hey, it’s November 1. We won’t tell. Nothing wrong with ransacking the seasonal sale section at Target or CVS.

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I’m talking about this situation, candy corn and all:

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We invite you to hijack your kids’ leftover Halloween candy (*cough* or WHATEVER) and make this cake. It’s a great adult way to put all that sweet stuff to use.

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Hey, call it a Mexican Day of the Dead Cake, if you like. Technically, it’s November first today, the famous Dias de los Muertos, an annual celebration which honors the dead.

Day of the Dead in Salem Massachusetts

(Behind-the-scenes: This is what your kitchen looks like when you’re a food blogger and you’re working on a thing like this.)

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You can decorate this cake with any candy you have on hand.

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If it’s not around Halloween, grab a few bags of whatever’s seasonal at the grocery store. Your friends and guests will surely thank you.

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This time, we used cut-up Snickers, Twix, Kit Kats, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and M&Ms (we discarded the blue ones because we’re both old enough that they’re unnatural…).

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And, of course, Oreo cookies trimmed into tombstone shape. (Use a sharp, non-serrated knife and slice off each side of the round cookie for a gravestone shape.)

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If you’re lucky, you might even have some Halloween Peeps hanging around to round out the look.

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It’s an adult’s Halloween dream.  Four layers of dense, whiskey-scented chocolate cake (the cake itself, not the filling and frosting, are vegan, dairy free, and made with olive oil). Based on my Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe.

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It’s liberally laced with a triple-threat of Jameson’s Irish whiskey (the cake, the filling, and the ganache frosting). Not so bad, eh? (So again, like we said, this cake is for adults, not your wee ones at home.)

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This cake is filled with layers of fluffy, luscious, whiskey-spiked whipped cream.

(Who can argue with that, right?)

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Then, it’s draped in thick, dark chocolate ganache.

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And topped with all that decadent, super sweet, ridiculous candy.

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This cake is built around my Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe, which I spiked generously with Irish whiskey.

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The “graveyard dirt” around the cake is made out of crushed chocolate wafer cookies.

(Just put ’em in a zip-top bag and smash them to bits with a rolling pin. If you can’t find plain chocolate wafer cookies, use regular Oreos.)

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Halloween Candy Chocolate Whiskey Layer Cake

Cake
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened, dark (black) cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
2 Tbls. white vinegar
2 tsp. Irish whiskey
2 cups water
spray oil for the pan

Filling
1 pint heavy cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Irish whiskey

Ganache glaze
1/4 cup heavy cream
5-6 ounces mini chocolate chips (dark or semisweet)
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon Irish whiskey

Decorations
Assorted candy
Halloween Peeps
Chocolate wafer cookies, crushed

Bake the chocolate whiskey cakes

Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and set aside. To make your life easier, use springform pans or pans that have a removable bottom. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

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Put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk to combine until uniform.

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Add the olive oil, whiskey, white vinegar, and water.

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Stir until you have a uniform batter.

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It will be thick, like a brownie batter.

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Divide the batter evenly between your two prepared pans.

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Pop the pans into your preheated, 350-degree F oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned on the top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

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When they’re done, remove the cakes from the oven and place on a rack for 5 minutes to cool.

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Then, run a knife around the inside of the pans to loosen the cakes, and remove them from the pans. Set on a rack to cool completely before slicing, filling and frosting.

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Make the whiskey-infused whipped cream

Put the heavy cream, sugar, and Irish whiskey in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl (if mixing by hand).

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Beat until you have a solid whipped cream with stiff peaks.

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Slice the cakes into layers

When your cakes are completely cool, slice each round in half, so you have four (ROUGHLY) even layers.

To do this, use a serrated bread knife or a wire cake cutter if you happen to have one. Don’t make yourself crazy, just try to get the layers mostly even and symmetrical.

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Fill the chocolate layer cake

Set one layer on your cake stand or serving platter.

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Put 1/4 of your flavored whipped cream on top. Spread around to the edges in an even layer.

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Set the second cake layer on top of the whipped cream. (If one of your layers cracks, carry on, the filling will completely conceal it. Again, no big tragedy here.)

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Set another 1/4 of the flavored whipped cream on top, and spread around until even.

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Set the third layer of cake on top. Spread with 1/4 of the flavored whipped cream evenly.

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Set the last layer of cake on top. Spread any extra flavored whipped cream around the edges with a spatula, distributing the filling evenly.

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Make the flavored ganache topping

Put the heavy cream, corn syrup, and chocolate chips in a large mixing cup.

Microwave on high for 15 seconds at a pop, stirring in between, until melted and uniform.

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When the chocolate is smooth and thick, stir in the Irish whiskey. (You can also add it to the measuring cup in the microwave, but the heat will cook most of the booze out of it. Up to you.)

Cool to room temperature. You want the ganache to be really thick.

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Frost the cake

When the ganache is thick and at room temperature, spread it over the top of the cake.

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Spread the ganache to the edges of the cake and let it drip over the sides.

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There is no right away to do this.

It should be organic and gloriously messy looking.

You get the idea:

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Decorate the cake with Halloween candy

Once you have the ganache layer on, go nuts with the Halloween candy.

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Let me stress, again: There is no one right way to do this.

Pile the candy on high. Stick the Peeps on toothpicks or stack them a few up on wooden skewers.

Step back every few minutes to inspect and adjust your work.

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At the end of the day, remember: This is a chocolate cake, laced with whiskey, studded with candy.

Forget about making a Pinterest-perfect creation. (That idea always makes us crazy.) Whatever you do will be AWESOME and your guests will be stoked. 🙂

There’s really no wrong way to do this thing. Have fun!

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Serve and enjoy!

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To get in season, we like to serve fat wedges of this cake with some kind of whiskey or bourbon concoction, like our Autumn Apple Cider and Bourbon Cocktail. That’s this thing here:

Apple Cider and Bourbon Cocktail at The Hungry Mouse

Want to try a crazier, more dramatic cocktail? How about our Flaming S’mores Martini?

Flaming Smores Martini at The Hungry MouseFlaming Smores Martini at The Hungry Mouse

Enjoy!

Halloween Candy Chocolate Whiskey Layer Cake

We invite you to hijack your kids' leftover Halloween candy and make this cake. It's liberally laced with a triple-threat of Jameson's Irish whiskey (the cake, the filling, and the ganache frosting). Not so bad, eh?

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

Cake
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened, dark (black) cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
2 Tbls. white vinegar
2 tsp. Irish whiskey
2 cups water
spray oil for the pan
Filling
1 pint heavy cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Irish whiskey
Ganache glaze
1/4 cup heavy cream
5-6 ounces mini chocolate chips (dark or semisweet)
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon Irish whiskey
Decorations
Assorted candy
Halloween Peeps
Chocolate wafer cookies, crushed

Instructions

  1. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make the cake batter: Put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine until uniform. Add the olive oil, whiskey, white vinegar, and water. Stir until you have a uniform batter. Divide the batter evenly between your two prepared pans.
  3. Bake the cakes: Pop the pans into your preheated, 350-degree F oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned on the top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. When they're done, remove the cakes from the oven and place on a rack for 5 minutes to cool. Then, run a knife around the inside of the pans to loosen the cakes, and remove them from the pans. Set on a rack to cool completely before slicing, filling and frosting.
  4. Make the whiskey-infused whipped cream: Put the heavy cream, sugar, and Irish whiskey in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl (if mixing by hand). Beat until you have a solid whipped cream with stiff peaks.
  5. Slice the cakes into layers: When your cakes are completely cool, slice each round in half, so you have four (ROUGHLY) even layers.
  6. Fill the chocolate layer cake: Set one layer on your cake stand or serving platter. Put 1/4 of your flavored whipped cream on top. Spread around to the edges in an even layer. Repeat, alternating cake and whipped cream, until you have a four-layer filled cake.
  7. Spread any extra flavored whipped cream around the edges with a spatula, distributing the filling evenly.
  8. Make the flavored ganache topping: Put the heavy cream, corn syrup, chocolate chips, and Irish whiskey in a large mixing cup. Microwave on high for 15 seconds at a pop, stirring in between, until melted and uniform. Cool to room temperature. You want the ganache to be really thick.
  9. Frost the cake: When the ganache is thick and at room temperature, spread it over the top of the cake. Spread the ganache to the edges of the cake and let it drip over the edges. There is no right away to do this. It should be organic and gloriously messy looking.
  10. Decorate the cake with Halloween candy: Once you have the ganache layer on, go nuts with the Halloween candy. Let me stress: There is no one right way to do this.
  11. We like to serve fat wedges of this cake with a whiskey cocktail, like our Autumn Apple Cider and Bourbon Cocktail. Enjoy!
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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

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