Print Prep time 45 mins Cook time 35 mins Dark and rich, this Dark Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream is the perfect centerpiece for your Halloween party. Chocolate lovers will instantly fall in love with this dark chocolate cake! Serves: 20 servings Ingredients Dark Chocolate Cake 3½ cups all-purpose flour 1½ cups dark cocoa powder 3 teaspoons baking powder 3 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons salt 4 cups sugar 1 cup Challenge butter, melted 2 cups milk 4 large eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1½ cups boiling water Nutella Buttercream 1½ cups Challenge butter 3 cups powdered sugar 1 cup Nutella 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pinch of salt 1-2 tablespoons cream 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder Chocolate Spiders (optional) semi-sweet chocolate chips Instructions Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray 4 9-inch round baking pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, then lightly spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a mixer, mix together the sugar and the butter. Add in the milk, eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Pour in the boiling water and gently mix until combined. The batter will be thin. Divide the batter evenly between the 4 pans. Bake in until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. (Don’t be alarmed if your cakes puff up and then fall in the center. They will probably fall a little, but you will even the cakes out and can use the scraps to decorate the cake.) Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the outside of the pan and turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Remove the parchment paper from the bottoms of the cakes. At this point, you can wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate them or freeze them, which will make decorating the cake easier, or you can proceed to assembling the cake as long as they are cooled completely. To make the buttercream, cream the butter in a mixer until smooth and creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix in the Nutella, vanilla and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Add as much cream as needed to make the frosting a spreading consistency, adding a teaspoon at a time. If making the spiders and the spiderweb, transfer ½ cup of the frosting to another bowl and mix in the 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. To make the spider legs, place some chocolate chips in a ziplock bag. Microwave on 50% power in 15 second increments until the chocolate chips have melted. Cut a small corner off the bag, and pipe out legs in the shape of a 7 onto a piece of waxed paper on a baking sheet. Transfer to the freezer until you are ready to decorate the cake. To assemble the cake: Level each of the cake layers, reserving the scraps. Place one layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with some of the buttercream and spread in an even layer to the edged. Top with another cake layer, then more buttercream. Repeat with another cake layer, more buttercream, and then the final cake layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the outside of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 10-15 minutes. While the cake is in the refrigerator, take the reserved scraps of cake and crumble them as best as you can. The cake is very moist, so if the scraps aren’t crumbling, you can put them on a baking sheet and place them in a 250ºF oven to dry them out a bit, which will help. Use the remainder of the frosting to go over the cake, making sure it is covered evenly. Take the reserved ½ cup of frosting and place it in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Starting in the center of the cake, make a spiral for the spider web. Using a toothpick, starting at the center, gently pull out through the frosting to pull the lines of the darker buttercream, forming the spider web. With the remaining buttercream, pipe out the heads and bodies of the spiders. (Make sure you don’t make more spiders than you have legs, though.) Remove the chocolate legs from the freezer and place 8 legs on each spider. Take the cake crumbs and gently press them into the outside of the cake.