Hocus Pocus Cottage Cake

READY IN: 50hrs




  • Chocolate Cake:
  • **note: this chocolate cake recipe makes 10 servings based on the quantities listed above. If you are trying to recreate the full cake, you'll need to make this recipe 6 times - which will yield 60 servings.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 3 cups of water in a saucepan and set on the stove with a high heat. In a stand mixer, blend sugar, milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients. Slowly mix into wet and when just incorporated pour in one cup of boing water. Lastly, mix in the Oreo cookie crumbles into batter then pour into two buttered and floured 10x10 square baking pans. Bake 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Wrap and chill well before cutting and assembling cake.
  • Cookies and Cream Buttercream Frosting:
  • **note: If making the full cake, make this recipe 6 times.
  • In a stand mixer beat the room temp butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time blending each addition before adding the next. Add vanilla, whipping cream, salt and ground Oreo cookies. The Oreo cookies add a touch of flavor and give the frosting a lightly speckled look which will tone the frostings color and give it the right shade.
  • Chocolate Cookie Wood Trim:
  • **note: If making the full cake, make this recipe 3 times.
  • Additional tools: Parchment paper, Cardboard cutout stencils, Large cookie sheets.
  • In a stand mixer beat butter and sugar until creamy, add chocolate syrup and eggs. In another bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Once done slowly mix into wet ingredients and stir until dough ball forms. Wrap softball sized portions in foil and chill until ready to use.
  • Heat oven to 360 degrees F.
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment and roll dough directly onto cookie sheets. Using flour to prevent sticking. Cut out shapes using homemade stencils and save scrapes for the next sheet. For planks and strips use a long ruler and a craft blade to cut 1/4 inch strips. Bake 8.5 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven (and here's my secret to getting a smooth cookie -- immediately after removing a batch from the oven, place a sheet of parchment over the top and using a slightly smaller baking sheet press, slide and swivel the smaller sheet on top until perfect. Allow cookies to cool before removing and place on paper towels.
  • Candy Glass:
  • Important note: You will have very little time to work with the candy glass so have everything as close to the stove as possible to ensure everything goes smoothly. I always set up a fully prepared table directly next to the stove and it was the easiest and least messy time I've had working with candy glass :).
  • For the Eye mold: Gently press aluminum foil in a half a tablespoon measure. This gave me just the right shape for the eye on my house. You’ll pour the candy glass into the aluminum foil-lined half tablespoon, so do not remove the foil yet.
  • Mix sugar, water, corn syrup and tartar in a large pot on medium/high heat. Stir constantly until mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring and place candy thermometer on the edge of the pot with the temp gauge submerged into sugar syrup. This part takes a while (20 or so minutes) so keep an eye on the thermometer. Allow to heat to 300 degrees and immediately remove from heat. Stir and mix in two drops blue food coloring.
  • Have cookies and eye mold clean and resting face up on a very flat surface covered in aluminum foil. Pour candy glass into your cookies using a bent teaspoon or small ladle. Once poured, immediately clean up any sugar strands that occurred.
  • Royal Icing:
  • **note: For the full cake, make this recipe 3 times.
  • In a stand mixer beat egg whites until frothy and incorporate sugar until smooth. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients little bits at a time until the color you desire is achieved.
  • Advice and pointers: Because you're using raw egg whites and salmonella is a risk, always use fresh eggs from a reliable source and don't allow unused frosting to sit out for more than an hour or so. Any unused frosting can be covered with a damp towel to prevent drying and retain freshness. Keep in mind the longer you work with a single batch the darker the color will become, so when initially mixing, keep that in mind. I usually make one batch at a time, mixing more as needed.
  • Royal Icing Fall Leaves:
  • **note: This recipe will make 1 1/2 cups of the fall leaves.
  • In a stand mixer beat egg whites until frothy and incorporate sugar until smooth. Separate into three bowls and add color to each in a fall array of your choice.
  • Take a basting brush and paint a thin layer of each color onto a large parchment lined baking sheet. Allow each color to dry at room temperature. Once completely dry, crumble all colors together making sure nothing is too large. If the final product is too vivid you can add a bit of coca powder to it to give it a more natural appearance.
  • Additional Materials Needed:
  • Cake board, Wooden dowel rods, Battery operated tea lights, Electrical tape.
  • Note: Remove the light element and battery from these and use electrical tape to adhere them together for a fun light to place in each window cavern. The light stays lit for roughly three days and should be removed before cutting and serving.
  • Various colors of powder paints and ice-cold vodka (to use as a liquifying agent for the paints). I used these minimally on this project to give the house some deeper tones and shading where needed.
  • Purple smoke bombs -- This was an adventure! I ordered them off Amazon and used roughly 12 until I got all the shots I needed. One at a time they were placed in the chimney cavity and lit. They emit smoke for only about 10 seconds or so and the chimney portion should *NOT* be served, but instead discarded.
  • Assembly of cake:
  • I kept all cake elements cold at all times. This was an extremely heavy cake and allowing it to fully come to room temperature would have caused it to sag and lose it's correct shape.
  • After studying the house from the movie, I cut out cake board sheets in the necessary shapes using a craft blade. Every third layer got a sheet of the board between and 4-5 cut dowel rods placed variously through the layer to give the needed support.
  • Once the structure was built, it received a generous crumb coat before getting a polishing final coat of buttercream. It was then allowed to chill fully over night before the next step.
  • The following day, the large window frames were placed in their respective places using royal icing to 'glue' all cookie pieces to the house. I used a bread knife to cut small pockets in each window and door frame to allow for a light to be placed before photographing. Once these pockets were cut out, I coated all their inner walls with a bit of butter cream to prevent the cake from drying out.
  • My secret weapon for cookie sculpting: I used a dremel tool (which I only use for baking) to perfect each edge and to cut every accent and roof strip to align with the next.
  • Once the cake was fully assembled it received a few accents and shading done with powder paints and then the surrounding ground was coated with brown sugar and a sprinkling of the royal icing leaves. As an additional touch I used shredded wheat to add bails of hay in the front and used the remaining cookie dough to create surrounding trees.
  • As a final step I hand painted a large tri-fold presentation board as a background landscape :D.