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Spin a Spider Web Cake
for Halloween fun

Daily Herald 10/27/98 11:58:38 PM

Scare up some fun at your Halloween party with a Chocolate Spider Web Cake, a moist cake whose flavor comes from unsweetened cocoa powder. It can make a decorative centerpiece as well as an appropriate dessert for this night of fright.

After you spread the chocolate frosting onto the cake, use melted white chocolate chips to create a web. Microwave the chips and shortening in a small, heavy seal-top plastic bag.

Make a small diagonal cut in a bottom corner of the bag.

Starting at the outside rim, squeeze thin lines of white chocolate in a circular motion across the
top of the cake. Repeat so that there are four or five circles inside one another. To complete the web, gently drag a knife or toothpick from the center of the cake to the edge, drawing eight to 10 lines evenly around the cake, to create the look of a spider web.

Garnish the cake with a "spider" - use a peppermint patty for the body, a round caramel for the head and black liquorice for the legs. Or, decorate with a store-bought plastic spider.

Chocolate Spider Web Cake
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see note)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
One-Bowl Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)
Spider Web (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl; add eggs, shortening, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat on low speed of mixer 1 minute, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake about 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Frost with One-Bowl Buttercream Frosting. Immediately pipe or drizzle Spider Web in 4 or 5 circles on top of cake. Using a knife or wooden pick, immediately draw 8 to 10 lines from center to edges of cake at regular intervals to form web. Garnish with a "spider" made from candies. Makes 12 servings.

Note: To sour milk, use 4 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 1/2 cups.
One-Bowl Buttercream Frosting
6 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4-6 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter; add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Spider Web: Place 1/2 cup white chips and 1/2 teaspoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine, oil or spread) in small, heavy seal-top plastic bag. Microwave at High 45 seconds.
Squeeze gently. If necessary, microwave an additional 10 to 15 seconds; squeeze until chips are melted. Make small diagonal cut in one bottom corner of bag; squeeze mixture onto cake
as directed above. Makes 12 servings.

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