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Oil, for pans
1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream, at room temp
Black gel food coloring
Black Sixlets candies
- Heat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil three 8-in. cake pans and line bottoms with parchment; grease parchment.
- Into large bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder. Whisk in sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and whisk until nearly all combined. Gradually add coffee, whisking until smooth.
- Divide among prepared pans and bake until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 28 to 32 min. Transfer pans to wire rack for 10 min., before inverting onto racks to cool completely. Once cool, chill cakes, lightly wrapped, at least 30 min. or up to 1 day before decorating.
- Make frosting: In large bowl of electric stand mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt on low speed until fully combined. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 min. Gradually add cream to reach spreadable consistency and beat until fluffy, about 3 min.
- To assemble, place 1 cake, flat side up, on cake board or serving platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting on top of cake to edges. Place second cake layer on top, rounded side down, and repeat. Add final layer, rounded side up or down. Coat entire cake in thin layer of frosting and chill at least 10 min. or until frosting is no longer tacky.
- Transfer 1/2 cup remaining frosting to small bowl and tint black. Transfer to piping bag fitted with small round tip and set aside.
- To remaining frosting, fold in crushed cookies; avoid over-mixing so frosting does not turn gray. Spread thick layer of frosting over cake and use an offset spatula to smooth evenly around cake. Save any remaining frosting to help stick spiders and webs to cake.
- To make spiders and webs, draw or print a spiderweb template and stick to your work surface. Place waxed paper on top and tape down corners. Place two-thirds of chocolate in bowl and microwave in 30-sec. increments on 50% power, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Add remaining chocolate, stirring until melted.
- Make piping bag: Starting with large sheet of parchment paper, fold one corner over until edges line up to make a triangle. Cut off and discard excess. With folded side toward you, take bottom right corner up to meet top point of triangle, curling paper inward to line up. Holding points together with one hand, use other hand to wrap final point around to meet points. Fold points into piping bag.
- Fill bag no more than halfway with melted chocolate and fold down open end to seal. Cut small point off bottom of piping tip and trace webs onto waxed paper. Let set completely before transferring to cake.
- To make spiders, use black Sixlets candies and pipe legs with black frosting. Let set completely before transferring to cake.