Yep. It’s a Halloween mummy cake, a pun and a Doctor Who joke all in one. You have no idea how happy that makes me. It’s also a damn tasty piece of deliciousness with a light, tender chocolate stout cake within and a silky, fluffy swiss meringue buttercream without. What flavor is the buttercream? Well, mostly vanilla, but with a hint of rum and grand marnier. Basically, this cake is a whole bevy of good things.
And don’t let the mummy decorations mislead you, this cake is good at any time of year. It’s just that it’s Halloween and I felt like jumping on the celebration bandwagon. Okay, that’s a lie. Really this post is about a little television show called Doctor Who and the food bloggers who love it. There’s this little group of called Time Lord Chefs, which is hosted by The Perfect Brownie, and every once in a while there’s a call sent out to make a tasty Doctor Who-themed bite. This cake is mine.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the show, the Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and is of a race called the Time Lords. He travels around in his spaceship/time travel device called the Tardis (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) and has lots of adventures. It’s beautiful, inspirational, clever, epic, infuriating and moving. I love it. But as to specifics, the “Are you my mummy?” reference dates back to 2005, the first season of the reboot, and had been referenced throughout the series. Most recently, it showed up in an episode about an actual mummy (Mummy on the Orient Express), which made me immensely happy. And because it’s, you know, Halloween, I just couldn’t help myself. Ergo, the mummy cake.
- Chocolate Stout Cake
- 1 C Chocolate Stout (I used Tarrapin's Moo Hoo)
- ¾ C + 2 Tbsp Butter (14 Tbsp), room temperature and cut into pieces
- ½ C Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder, good quality
- 1½ oz Bittersweet Chocolate (from a bar or feves, not chips), chopped
- 2 C All Purpose Flour
- ½ C Sugar
- ½ C Light Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Ginger
- Pinch Cloves
- Pinch Allspice
- 2 large Eggs
- ¾ C Buttermilk (real, full fat buttermilk, please)
- ½ Tbsp Vanilla
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream (sorry it's in ounces, I always weigh my swiss meringue)
- 10 oz Egg Whites, room temperature
- 20 oz Sugar
- 24 oz Butter, cool but not cold
- 1½ Tbsp Vanilla
- 1½ Tbsp Jamaican Rum
- 2 tsp Grand Marnier
- 1 tsp Salt
- CHOCOLATE EYES & WRITING, optional.
- 1½ oz Bittersweet Chocolate (bar or feves, not chips)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9" round cake pans with parchment paper and grease or spray the pans.
- Combine the stout and 2 Tbsp of butter in small sauce pan and heat until the butter is melted and the stout is simmering.
- Combine the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot stout mixture over them. Whisk until the chocolate melted and the cocoa powder is fully incorporated. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, add the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice to the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment and mix for about 20 seconds to evenly distribute all the ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk in approximately ⅓ of the cooled stout mixture.
- Add the reserved butter to the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl and turn the mixer on medium-low. As the butter begins to incorporate into the dry ingredients, stream in the remaining stout mixture as well and continue mixing until the dry ingredients are moistened. Turn the speed up to medium-high and mix for 30 seconds.
- Turn the mixer back to low and add the buttermilk mixture to the mixer bowl in three installments, mixing on medium-high for 20 seconds and scraping the bowl after each addition.
- At the end the batter should be smooth and ready to pour into the pans.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the two greased and parchmented pans and stick in the middle of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- When the cakes are finished baking, take them out of the oven and set them on a wire rack to cool. I'm usually a big proponent of turning cakes out of the pan after 10 minutes, but these cakes are particularly delicate at that stage, so I advocate waiting until cool. Then run a knife around the edges to loosen and turn them out.
- Wipe down all your frosting tools (bowl, whisk attachment, spatula, hands) with lemon or white vinegar to remove and oils or residues that could prevent the meringue from forming.
- Combine the egg whites and sugar and set over a pot of boiling water (creating a bain marie or double boiler). Whisk the egg whites and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature hits 160 degrees F. (This pasteurizes the eggs.)
- Move the bowl over to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin whisking the hot whites and sugar on low, slowly increasing the speed over the next few minutes. Continue beating the egg whites until the meringue is very thick and the bowl is no longer warm to the touch. This makes a pretty thick meringue, so if you're having trouble getting it cool, you can pack bags of frozen vegetables under or around the mixer bowl to give it a hand.
- Once cool, replace whisk with a paddle attachment and add the butter, mixing until the frosting is smooth. **If the whole thing turns into a weirdly soupy, curdled looking mess, don't worry. Just keep mixing and it will all come back together. That's just the fat in the butter emulsifying into the meringue before the water. Unless the meringue was warm and melted all the butter. In that case you need to stick the whole thing in the fridge until the butter cools down and then keep mixing.**
- Once you have a smooth frosting, add the vanilla, rum, grand marnier and salt and mix until fully incorporated and smooth once more.
- CHOCOLATE EYES & WRITING - OPTIONAL
- Set out a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board or plate that will fit in your freezer. Set out a piping bag, freezer ziptop bag or fold a piping bag out of parchment paper.
- Melt 1½ in the microwave or over a small pot of simmering water and then transfer the melted chocolate to the piping bag.
- Cut a tiny bit of the tip off of the bag and pipe 2 ovals of chocolate for the eyes. If you want to write "Are you my mummy" or some other eloquent message, pipe that out on the parchment paper as well. Stick the chocolate in the freezer to solidify while you frost the cake.
- Set one of the cakes on a cake board or cake plate. Spread frosting over that layer so it is approximately ½ inch thick. Put this in the fridge for about 10 minutes so the frosting sets up.
- Remove the bottom cake from the fridge and set the second cake over the layer of frosting. Spread a thin "crumb layer" of frosting over the entire cake and return it to the fridge.
- When the crumb layer is firm, remove the cake from the refrigerator.
- If making a traditional non-mummy cake, spread a thick layer of frosting over the cake and decorate as desired.
- If making the mummy cake, when you take the cake out of the refrigerator and spread a thin layer of frosting over ⅓ of the top of the cake. Remove the chocolate from the freezer and transfer the eyes to the cake, working quickly to avoid melting the chocolate. Set the eyes in that second thin layer of frosting.
- Return the writing, if any, to the freezer.
- Spread a thick layer of frosting over the entire cake, except for leaving a portion of the eyes uncovered. Using a butter knife or offset spatula, create haphazard lines in the frosting using the tip of the offset spatula to mimic the wrappings of the mummy. Make sure to get the frosting over parts of the eyes.
- If using the chocolate writing, now is the time to transfer it quickly and carefully to the cake.
- Store the cake in the refrigerator until shortly before serving. Make sure to take the cake out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes early to let the buttercream warm up a little.
If this recipe had you yelling “Geronimo,” allons-y check out these other fantastic recipes!
Jammie Dodgers | Peaches Please
Spider Brownies | The Perfect Brownie
Steampunk Cookie Cogs | Vohn’s Vittles
Half-Face Man Cake | Giramuk’s Kitchen