Recipes·Technical Bake

Spider Web Mirror-Glaze Cake

This week’s Technical Bake is decked out for Halloween.

This week’s Technical Bake is decked out for Halloween

This week’s Technical Bake is decked out for Halloween. (Geoff George/The Great Canadian Baking Show)

What screams fall and Halloween in one delectable dessert and is in the spirit of the holiday with its impressive spider-web glaze? This pumpkin-flavoured sponge cake, encased in a velvety chocolate mousse and sitting atop a crunchy base of peanuts and crispy rice! It’s a culinary marvel as much as a delicious showpiece for your Halloween party.

This Spider Web Mirror-Glaze Cake was the Technical Bake for Celebration Week in Season 5 of The Great Canadian Baking Show.

Spider Web Mirror-Glaze Cake


Pumpkin Sponge Cake:

  • ⅓ cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ⅓ cup (66 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ⅓ cup (47 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch ground allspice

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Crispy Rice:

  • 2 cups (56 g) puffed-rice cereal
  • ½ cup (71 g) salted peanuts, chopped
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup, warmed
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup (113 g) bittersweet chocolate callets (70%), melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter

Simple Syrup:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tbsp (37 g) granulated sugar

Chocolate Mousse:

  • 1 cup plus 3 tbsp 35% cream, divided
  • 3 sheets gelatin
  • ⅔ cup (113 g) milk chocolate callets
  • ⅓ cup (56 g) bittersweet chocolate callets
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ⅓ cup (66 g) granulated sugar

Mirror Glaze:

  • 4 sheets gelatin
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp (173 g) granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ½ cup 35% cream
  • ½ cup (58 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp neutral glaze

Spider-Web Tuile:

  • 4 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Yellow or orange food colouring

Spider-Web Glaze:

  • ⅓ cup neutral glaze
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ to 1 tsp white gel food colouring
  • Orange food colouring


Heat the oven to 350 F. 

Mist an 8-inch round cake pan with vegetable spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper.

Place two layers of paper towel on a small sheet pan, spread the pumpkin purée overtop, and then gently press with another two layers of paper towel to remove any excess liquid. Remove the top layers of paper towel and repeat with fresh sheets. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, sugar and salt until light. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder and spices. Fold until just combined. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until the cake springs back and a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. 

Release the cake from the edge of the pan, invert onto a cooling rack, and then use a second rack to flip right side up. Cool completely.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Crispy Rice:
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the puffed rice, peanuts, corn syrup, sugar and salt, stirring well to coat. Spread the mixture evenly on the prepared sheet pan and bake until golden brown and crispy, 10 to 12 minutes. 

In the same bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and peanut butter until smooth. 

Break up the puffed-rice mixture and stir it into the chocolate to evenly coat.

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Place an 8-inch cake ring inside and line it with acetate, overlapping the edges. Remove 3 tablespoons of the puffed-rice mixture for garnish, and press the rest into the bottom of the pan in an even thickness. Freeze. Spoon the remaining mixture onto a flat surface and refrigerate. 

Simple Syrup:
Boil the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high until dissolved. Set aside. 

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat 1 cup of the cream until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Refrigerate. 

Submerge the gelatin sheets one at a time in a bowl of cold water and let sit until softened, 5 minutes. Strain and squeeze any excess water from the gelatin. Set aside.

Melt both types of chocolate callets, the remaining 3 tablespoons of cream, and salt in a large bowl set over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water. Stir until smooth and hot. While the mixture is still hot, stir in the gelatin until smooth. 

Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks on medium-high for 30 seconds. Reduce to medium and slowly pour in the sugar. Beat on high until very thick and almost tripled in volume, about 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat for 1 minute. 

Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture until incorporated. Gently fold in the chilled whipped cream in two stages until no streaks remain. 

Place a 6-inch cake ring on top of the sponge cake and press to cut out a round. Trim the top to level and set aside. Pour half of the mousse over the frozen crispy-rice base. Gently press the cake into the centre of the mousse, brush with the simple syrup, and cover with the remaining mousse, levelling the surface with an offset spatula. Freeze until the cake is solid. (Overnight is best.) The centre must be completely frozen before pouring on the mirror glaze. 

Mirror Glaze:
Bloom the gelatin in cold water (as in the mousse preparation).

Heat the sugar, water and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high until it reaches 104 F. Add the cocoa powder and whisk constantly, heating to 215 F. Heat for 1 minute more. 

Squeeze the water from the gelatin, then whisk it into the cocoa mixture until smooth. Strain into a 4-cup glass measure. Add the neutral glaze and blend with an immersion blender until glossy. Cool to 80 F. 

Spider-Web Tuile:
Combine the flour, water, oil and salt in a 1-cup glass measure and blend with an immersion blender until smooth and emulsified. Stir in the food colouring. 

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Add part of the flour mixture and heat until boiling and a web design forms. Remove the tuile with an offset spatula and place on a paper towel. Let cool. 

Spider-Web Glaze: 
Warm the neutral glaze and stir in the water and white food colouring until homogeneous. Stir in the orange food colouring and heat to 122 F.

Decor Assembly:
Remove the cake ring and acetate from the mousse cake and place on a small inverted cake pan set on a baking sheet. Use a knife to even out any raised edges on top.

Check that the mirror glaze is 80 F and the spider web glaze is 122 F and have an extra-long offset spatula on hand. 

Pour the mirror glaze over the mousse to evenly cover. Flip the offset spatula so the bottom is facing up and drizzle the orange glaze over it to cover its length. Lightly press the spatula on a baking sheet (or other flat surface) to remove the excess and swipe the spatula across the mirror glaze in one even stroke. 

Clean the excess glaze from the bottom edge of the cake, transfer the cake to a stand and top with the reserved crispy rice and spider-web tuile. 

Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Makes one 8-inch cake