Whew! Well, I have to admit that this Halloween post is more of a treat than a trick, but after the scary gelatin countdown last week, I figured we could all use a little breather.
So I made a cake.
This is Black Cat Cake!
- ½ cup shortening (I recommend butter)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 squares chocolate, melted
- 1¾ cups sifted flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup orange carbonated beverage
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Orange Frosting:
- ¼ cup butter or margarine
- 2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange carbonated beverage
- 2 tablespoons orange rind, grated
- Yellow and red food coloring
- Chocolate Frosting:
- 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 1 tablespoon orange carbonated beverage
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 square of chocolate, melted
- Cream shortening (or butter) and sugar together. Add beaten eggs and melted chocolate.
- Sift dry ingredients together and add alternated in thirds with the carbonated beverage (mix vanilla into orange soda). Beat thoroughly until batter is smooth.
- Bake in a greased, floured 8x8x2inch or 9 inch square pan in oven at 350 degrees or 40-50 minutes. (*note: my cake was baked in 32 minutes, so check early!)
- For Orange Frosting:
- Cream butter, and add sugar a little at a time alternately with the orange soda. Add orange rind and yellow food coloring. Add a few drops of red until the frosting is orange. Beat vigorously until light and creamy and can spread easily.
- For Chocolate Frosting:
- Cream a small portion of sugar with butter. Add orange soda drop by drop alternately with remaining sugar. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Stir until spreading consistency. Lay cut-out of a cat on top of frosted cake, draw around it with a toothpick. Remove cut-out and outline with thin line of frosting Fill center of cat and spread out with thin knife to the edge of the outline. Add two bits of orange frosting for eyes or use two small green gumdrops.
This recipe is from a cookbook called “Betty Feezor’s Best” that was put out in 1955. I have the 1962 version of this book, which has an extended recipe addendum in the back that includes a series of holiday foods, like this fun cake. If you aren’t familiar with Betty Feezor, she was the host of a fantastic homemaking television show. Ms. Feezor filmed almost 6000 shows from 1953-1977, and she passed away in 1978. You can see a few episodes of her show on YouTube, but most of these shows have sadly been lost. Which is tragic, because she seems like she was a wonderful and very knowledgeable woman. Betty wrote about her battle with cancer in her book, “A Life That Mattered”, which was published in 1978. From the WBT Memories website:
Every weekday at lunchtime, across a large swath of the Carolinas, thousands of housewives would stop whatever they were doing and turn on Channel 3’s “Betty Feezor Show.” For nearly a quarter century, Betty was consistently WBTV’s most-watched personality.
Ah, Betty. This Halloween we all raise a measuring cup full of orange soda to you and your black cat cake!!
The batter even turned out on the orange side!
Though Betty gave directions for a chocolate frosting for the Halloween kitty on top, I had Alex helping me with this cake so I decided to keep it as simple as possible. The original directions have you trace around a pattern with a toothpick and then fill with frosting on top of the cake, but I decided to do a little chocolate work while the cake was baking instead.
Then I just had Alex help me trace over it with some chocolate melts I warmed in the microwave. She really had fun doing it, and I let her make more chocolate designs while we waited for the cake to cool.
I didn’t get a shot of the frosting and decorating phase, mostly because I had my hands full of frosting-and-chocolate covered toddler. But in the end Alex decided that a melted chocolate border would go nicely with our kitty decoration.
“Do you want to try some special cake, Alex?”
“Yes! Special kitty cake, pwease!”
“It’s yummy! It’s yummy special cake!”
“What do you think, Dad?” I asked, “Is it yummy?”
“It is! I especially like the cat decoration!”
“Then why are you coughing?”
“This is really sweet. And very orange-y. What’s in this?”
“About a cup of Orange Crush and two tablespoons of orange zest.”
The Verdict: Delicious, but Very Orange-y
From The Tasting Notes –
If you love the combination of orange and chocolate, then this is the cake for you. Very pronounced orange flavor in the frosting and in the cake. And even though the cake flavoring is just the soda, it still all blends well together with the chocolate. However, the cake was very, very sweet. Which is fine if you like your cake that way. The other issue we had was that the cake, while moist, was very crumbly. Probably due to the shortening. If you are going to make this cake, I would recommend substituting butter in place of the shortening in the batter. And the frosting recipe just barely covered the outside of the cake in a thin layer of frosting. If you like lots of frosting, I would recommend doubling the frosting recipe. Other than that, it was a quick, fun cake to make. Would recommend making it with kids!