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The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil two 20cm round cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Combine the flour, bicarb, spices and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl. Whisk the sugars, oil, eggs, pumpkin purée, milk and vanilla together in a second large bowl using a wooden spoon until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then whisk until smooth. Divide the batter between the tins and shake gently to level the surface.
Bake for 30 mins until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the ghosts and icing. For the ghosts, break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave in short 30-second bursts, stirring between each, or over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Line a baking tray with parchment. Make the ghosts by spooning a teaspoon of melted chocolate onto the parchment, then dragging the spoon through it to make the ghost’s tail. Repeat until you’ve used up all the chocolate, then chill for at least 30 mins. Draw on eyes and mouths using the icing pen.
To make the icing, beat the soft cheese and butter together in a bowl until creamy and smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar and vanilla, beating until light and fluffy. Divide the icing between two bowls. Colour one with a drop of orange food colouring and the other with a drop of pink colouring.
Once the cakes are completely cooled, put one sponge on a serving plate or cake stand. Spoon a dollop each of pink and orange icing on the cake, spread to the edges, then put the second sponge on top. Use a palette knife to dot blobs of the two icings over the cake, then spread evenly over the top and sides, creating a marbled effect. Gently press the spooky ghosts and sprinkles, if using, into the icing. Leftover cake will keep chilled in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Can be kept frozen, un-iced, for up to two months.