1teaspoonvanilla bean pasteor pure vanilla extract
1-2teaspoonsorange food coloring gel
For the chocolate drizzle
1cupblack candy melts
1tablespoonextra light olive oil
For the meringue ghosts
Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large (grease-free) bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium high until frothy. With mixer on low, gradually add sugar. Turn mixer up to medium high and beat for 5-6 minutes or until smooth, stiff peaks. Test meringue between two fingers to see if you feel any granules of sugar.
Reserve ½ cup of meringue and place in airtight container. Set aside. Pour remaining meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a ½" round tip. Close bag with twist tie. Pipe dollops of meringue onto prepared pan in varying sizes. Bake in 200°F oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off and let dry in oven with door shut for another 1-2 hours.
To decorate ghost faces, color the remaining with black food coloring gel. Place in small pastry bag, cut a tiny corner and pipe the faces onto the meringue ghosts. Let set while you make the cake and frosting.
For the cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the first 6 cake ingredients in a large bowl (gf flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt). Whisk to combine. Add all of the wet ingredients to the same bowl (eggs, oil, coconut milk, water, orange zest). Stir together by hand with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until completely combined and smooth. Pour equal amounts of batter into the 3 prepared cake pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cakes cool completely.
For the buttercream
Beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy (about 3 minutes). Gradually add the powdered sugar, orange juice, vanilla and salt. Once the ingredients are combined, turn mixer up to medium and beat until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes). Frost cake as directed below. (Note: You will probably have some extra frosting which you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)
Frosting the cake
Cut the dome shaped tops of the cakes off so that they are level. Place first layer on a 6-inch round cake board and place that onto a rotating cake stand. I use Duck Brand drawer liner to keep it from sliding (you can cut a small round piece to put under the 6-inch cake board). Using an angled spatula, spread the first layer of cake with about ¼ inch of frosting. Add the second layer and repeat. Add the third layer, then frost the top and sides of cake with a crumb coat. Use a pastry dough bench scraper to drag along the side of the cake as you turn the revolving stand to create the smooth finish. Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Add the final coat of frosting. Frost the cake smooth and return to refrigerator for 30 minutes.
For the chocolate drizzle & adding meringue ghosts
Place candy melts in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 20 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 20 seconds and stir until smooth and completely melted. Stir in olive oil. Heat for another 10 seconds, if needed, but be careful not to burn the chocolate chips. If it seems too thick, add a little more oil until it flows easily when drizzling. Drizzle dollops of melted candy melts onto top edge of the cake using a spoon or you can pour it into a pastry bag and cut the corner to pipe onto top edges of cake, letting it drip down the sides. Spread most of the remaining melted candy melts on top (reserving a little to "glue" the ghosts) of the cake, working quickly as it hardens fast. Use extra melted candy melts to stick the meringue ghosts to the top of the cake. You should be able to fit about 20-25. Add sprinkles to the bottom edge of cake, if desired. Serve cake immediately or within 24 hours. Do not refrigerate before you serve as the meringue will turn yellow. After serving, store remaining cake covered in refrigerator.
Gluten Free Flour - If you don't want to make your own blend, you can use store bought such as Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.