1 package (18-1/4 ounces) chocolate cake mix
1-1/2 cups water
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
1-1/3 cups water
2 cups shortening
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
Purple and black paste food coloring
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 wooden dowels (2 inches x 1/4 inch)
1 cardboard cake circle (6 inches)
16 wooden toothpicks
8 black twist licorice ropes
20 pieces candy corn
In a large bowl, beat the chocolate cake mix, water and eggs on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into the two halves of a greased and floured sports ball baking pan. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, in another bowl, beat the white cake mix, water and eggs on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool all cakes for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
For frosting, using a heavy-duty stand mixer, combine the shortening, 1/4 cup water and vanilla. Combine confectioners' sugar and meringue powder; beat into shortening mixture.
For base cake: Tint 2-1/4 cups frosting purple. Using a serrated knife, level tops of white cakes if necessary. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining tinted frosting over top and sides of cake.
Combine 3 cups frosting, cocoa and remaining water until smooth; tint black. Combine 1/4 cup black frosting and corn syrup. Using round tip #2 and black frosting with corn syrup, pipe webs and spiders around sides of cake.
With 3/4 cup white frosting and shell tip #18, pipe border along bottom edge of cake. Insert dowels into center of cake. Cut cardboard circle to measure 3-1/4 in.; place over cake.
For spider cake: Using a serrated knife, level the rounded side of one chocolate cake; attach to cake circle with a small amount of black frosting. Spread top with 1/3 cup black frosting; top with remaining chocolate cake.
Using grass tip #233 and black frosting, pipe hair over cake. With white frosting and round tip # 12, pipe eyes and teeth. Pipe pupils with round tip #2 and black frosting.
For legs, insert a toothpick into the ends of each licorice rope. Insert one end into side of spider; insert other end into top of purple cake. Garnish with candy corn. Yield: 18-20 servings.