Here are the ingredients that you need to gather to complete this recipe:
FOR THE CANDY SPIDER:
- 6 oz red candy coating
- 2 TBSP light corn syrup
- Black pearl sprinkles
FOR THE RED VELVET CAKE:
- 11 1/4 oz all-purpose flour, (2 1/2 cups)
- 10 1/2 oz granulated sugar, (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 8 fl oz vegetable oil, (1 cup)
- 12 fl oz buttermilk, (1 1/2 cups)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp red gel food coloring
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:
- 6 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 fl oz pasteurized liquid egg whites, (1/2 cup)
- 16 oz powdered sugar, (4 cups)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 16 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature (4 sticks)
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- Gel food coloring: I used Americolor Super Black and Super Red
- 6 oz large marshmallows
Here are the instructions that you need to follow to complete this recipe:
TO MAKE THE CANDY SPIDER:
To make the chocolate plastic, melt the red candy coating in a medium bowl in the microwave, until melted and smooth. Add the light corn syrup, and stir it in—it will quickly become thicker, like a paste. Stir just until all of the coating is incorporated and it come together in a ball. Don’t over-mix, or the oil might start to separate. Less is more!
Scrape the chocolate plastic out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and wrap it tightly into a package. Let sit overnight.
The next day, the chocolate plastic will be quite hard at first. Sprinkle your work station with powdered sugar, and knead it until it becomes soft and pliable.
To make the candy spider, break off a piece of plastic about the size of a golf ball, and roll it between your hands to form an oval shape. Pinch one end so that it tapers—this is the back of the spider’s body. Make a second ball of candy, smaller than the first, to be the head, and press it against the spider’s body. Press two black sugar pearls into it for the eyes.
Form 8 legs, with tapered feet. They can either stick straight out, or you can give them a bend in the knee for more of a 3-D effect.
TO MAKE THE RED VELVET CAKE:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line four 8-inch cake pans with parchment circles, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
In the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, red gel food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium-low speed until well-combined.
Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the pan with a spatula, then mix on medium speed until the cake batter is smooth and all the lumps of flour have disappeared.
Divide the batter between the four prepared pans – if you have a kitchen scale, each should get about 12 oz of batter. Spread it into an even layer in each pan.
Bake the cakes at 350 F for 20 minutes, until they spring back when lightly pressed with your fingertips.
TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM:
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl, and melt it in the microwave, stirring frequently so it doesn’t overheat. When the chocolate is smooth and entirely melted, set it aside to cool to room temperature.
Combine the whites, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix everything together on low speed, until the sugar is moistened and no dry patches remain. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, then turn the mixer to medium speed. Beat on medium for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, turn the mixer to medium-low and start adding the softened room temperature butter, 1-2 tablespoons at a time. Once all of the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla extract and mix it in. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides once more. Turn the speed to medium and beat the buttercream for 10 minutes.
Remove about ½ cup of frosting, and add red food coloring until you have a bright red color. Add the melted chocolate to the remaining frosting, and once it is mixed in, add black gel food coloring to the chocolate frosting to get a black color.
The frosting can be used right away, or stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or the freezer for up to two months.
Place a cake round on top of a cake cardboard, and put it on a cake turntable. Place a generous cup of frosting on top of the cake round, and use an offset spatula to smooth it into an even layer, all the way to the edge of the cake. Repeat with the remaining cake rounds. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the sides and top of the cake, to catch any crumbs, and refrigerate for about 45 minutes, until the frosting is firm.
Add another layer of black frosting all over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing it into an even layer. Take the red frosting, and add streaks of red to the top and sides of the cake. Use a spatula to gently smooth it into the black frosting, so that it blends but the red is still vibrant. Refrigerate the cake until the frosting is VERY firm, at least 1-2 hours.
To make the marshmallow spiderwebs, place the marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl and heat them for 1 minute. Stir, and if any unmelted marshmallows remain, heat for another 10-20 seconds. Stir well, and let the marshmallows cool until they’re no longer piping hot, but still warm and melted.
Take a big pinch of melted marshmallow between your fingers, and start pulling it apart between your hands, until the marshmallow strand is quite thin. Wrap it around the cake, going over and around in different directions. Once that strand is finished, take a second strand and wrap it at a different angle. Continue to pull strands of marshmallow all over the cake until it looks the way you want it to.
Top the cake with the giant spider, allow to come to room temperature, and serve!
Note that the marshmallow gets sticky and wet after a while, so for the best taste and texture, serve within a few hours of covering the cake.