A killer bash! Lauren Conrad, Us Weekly's guest Entertaining Editor, taught Us Weekly Video how to throw a murder-mystery party, just in time for Halloween.
Every year since she was a little girl, Conrad has counted down the days to October 31. "I love putting on a costume," the author of Celebrate (out now) tells Us. "I look forward to it every year."
As an adult, the 30-year-old gravitates toward a "glamorous" Halloween. For throwing a 1920s-themed murder-mystery bash, she suggests guests assume roles and follow clues, such as a strategically placed handkerchief, to uncover the "killer." (For that sinister part, she advises selecting a tight-lipped friend.)
"It's fun to take people out of the ordinary," the LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl's designer tells Us. "They can be anyone that night!"
Conrad, wed to lawyer William Tell, also suggests whipping up a festive cake for the occasion. Try the recipe below and watch the video above to see Conrad share her tips. Pick up Us Weekly's current issue — on stands now — to get more of Conrad's Halloween party ideas.
1 1/2 cups salted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup black sprinkles, for decoration
4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
10 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottoms of 3 round 8-inch pans with parchment paper, and grease the sides.
- With a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium in the bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg whites and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
- In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. To the mixing bowl, add the buttermilk and beat until slightly incorporated, about 10 seconds. Add dry ingredients and beat on medium until glossy, 1 minute.
- Divide batter between the 3 pans and spread the tops evenly. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes on plastic wrap and wrap each tightly. Freeze until firm.
- Meanwhile, for the frosting, in a large bowl, beat the butter and salt until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add 5 cups of the powdered sugar and beat 1 minute. Add the remaining 5 cups of sugar, vanilla and heavy cream. Beat the buttercream, scraping down sides of the bowl, until it turns white, 5 minutes.
- Remove the cakes from the freezer. With a serrated knife, cut off the domed tops. Fill a piping bag with butter cream and cut 3/4 inch off the bottom tip.
- Place one of the cake layers on a turntable. With the piping bag, lightly press out the buttercream in a circular motion to cover the cake evenly. Add another cake layer, cut-side down. Cover with icing. Repeat with final layer.
- Spread buttercream on the top layer. With an offset spatula, cover the entire cake with a thin layer of icing. Refrigerate or freeze the cake until the outside layer is completely cool.
- With the piping bag, cover the cake with another layer of icing. Place an icing smoother straight against the side of the cake. Holding your smoother in place with one hand, turn the turntable with your other hand. Continue turning while scraping off excess buttercream until you have a smooth layer.
- Angle an offset spatula about 45 degrees against the top edge of the cake. Pull the icing in toward the middle of the cake, making the edge of the cake level with the top. Repeat, scraping buttercream off the spatula often, around the entire top edge of the cake. With smoother, smooth the entire top of the cake.
- Cover the cake in sprinkles. To cover the sides, pour sprinkles in the palm of your hand and lightly press your hand against the sides. Cover imperfections with more sprinkles. Insert a pair of scissors as a cake topper into the top of the cake.
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