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Westworld Halloween Cake



For Halloween, I like nothing more than to dress up and make a cake. Last year, I dressed up as Melisandre from Game of Thrones and made a three layer cake with House Sigils, famous show quotations, a gum paste Iron Throne and a fondant dragon. This year, I opted to go as Delores Abernathy from Westworld, and make a fun show-themed cake.

For the cake, I decided to use tried and true vanilla and chocolate cake recipes. I didn’t want to make a tiered cake and driving that 3 tiered cake down from Maine to New Hampshire last year for work was an incredibly stressful endeavor. By making 2 8 by 8 inch 2 layer cakes and sticking them together, I created a lower-profile, more transportable cake that still had plenty to serve all my coworkers and clients. 


For a fun filling, I decided to make a white chocolate mousse; this does require refrigerating the cake until serving, as with any whipped cream-based filling. To frost, my classic and foolproof vanilla butter cream is my go to. I used minimal fondant decorations as I never find fondant to be that pleasant tasting. 

The simplicity of this cake’s decorations (just a few well chosen quotes and important images) felt true to the show. While Game of Thrones is full of House Sigils and important crowns and swords and animals and an iconic chair, Westworld’s maze was its most important and meaningful prop. All I added was the setting in which it was found, a few quotations from my character, and the theme park’s logo. 

Feel free to add or change the decorations for your own Westworld cake; this is just a starting point for your own creative and artistic vision. Enjoy the process!

White Chocolate Mousse
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cup white chocolate
2/3 cup whole milk
4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (knox brand)
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 cups heavy whipping cream

Method:
Sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup water and allow it to bloom for 5 minutes. Once bloomed, heat the water/gelatin mixture over low heat until the granules are dissolved; do not boil.
Heat the milk to simmer; add the white chocolate and melt it in the milk. Remove from the heat and add the melted gelatin. Whisk smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar to firm peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate. Refrigerate until use.


Vanilla Buttercream:
Ingredients:
9 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Method:
In a standing mixer fit with a paddle attachment, add the butter and beat until smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until light, white, smooth and spreadable. Add the vanilla and beat until well combined. If the frosting is too thick, add heavy cream once tablespoon at a time until spreadable.

Reserve one cup of white frosting for a crumb coating.

Divide the frosting evenly. Add yellow and black food coloring to one half and beat until the frosting looks like sandy dirt.

In the other, add black food coloring until the frosting is grey.



Chocolate Cake:
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
3 eggs, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature

Method:
Prepare 2 8 by 8 by 2 inch pans with butter, flour and parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add each egg one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder.

In a jug combine the vanilla extract, vegetable oil, sour cream, and milk. 

Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined, Spread batter evenly into the two pans. 

Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Vanilla Cake:
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/12 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Method:
Prepare 2 8 by 8 by 2 inch pans with butter, flour and parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add each egg one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder,  and salt.

In a jug combine the vanilla extract, vegetable oil, sour cream and milk. 

Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined, Spread batter evenly into the two pans. 

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.



Assembly:

The night before decorating, make a wooden cross 4 by 6 by 2 inches out of brown fondant and allow to dry overnight. Using food safe markers or food dye, paint it to age the cross.

The next day, lay one chocolate cake square on a rectangular cake cardboard on side side. Lay a vanilla square next to the chocolate. Spread the white chocolate mousse over these two cakes generously. Top the chocolate cake with another chocolate and the vanilla with vanilla. Spread the white buttercream over the entire cake thinly as a crumb coating and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, roll out 3 one inch by 5 inch rectangles of white fondant. Using a food safe marker, write “These violent delights have violent ends”, “This maze wasn’t meant for you”, and “I choose to see the beauty.” Roll out a 6 inch brown circle and draw the westward maze on it with the food safe marker. Age the maze as before with the cross. Roll out gray fondant and cut out 2  1 1/2 inch tall W’s and 4 1 1/2 inch long straight lines. Smash 12 oreo cookies in a ziplock bag.

Frost the sides of the cake with the grey frosting, making it as smooth as possible. On the short side of the cake, place one W and 2 straight lines on either side (this is the Westworld logo). Repeat on the other short side of the cake.

On one long side of the cake, affix the quotation: “These violent delights have violet ends.” On the other side, affix “I choose to see the beauty,”


Frost the top of the cake with the sandy dirt colored frosting, giving it texture. In the middle, sprinkle the crumbled oreos to look like a disturbed grave. Lay down the maze. Below the maze toward the bottom of the cake, affix the quote, “The maze wasn’t meant for you.” Mount the cross, fallen over, at the top of the cake. Use extra oreo cookies to decorate where the cake meets the cakeboard. Refrigerate the cake until serving. 




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