Food & Recipes

5 Spooky Halloween Cakes That Are Sweeter Than Candy

There’s a chill in the air, and that means it’s time for fall festivities! We’ve certainly been celebrating in the Woman’s World test kitchen — Halloween is one of our favorite times of the year when our recipe pros, Susan Chiosano, Betsy Jordan, and Charles Grayauskie, get to let their creativity run wild as they conjure up the most spellbinding treats, including this array of Halloween cakes.

Take a look at some deliciously spooky Halloween cakes you can whip up for your favorite ghouls and goblins!

Batty Halloween Cake

Orange cake with candy bats
Bauer Media Australia

This show stopping treat will add even more magic to your celebration.

Servings: 15; Active time: 2 hrs.; Total time: 5 hrs. 30 min.

Ingredients

Decorations:

  • 1/2 tsp. tylose powder
  • 1 cup white fondant
  • Purple, lemon yellow, and leaf green concentrated coloring
  • Corn syrup
  • 1 (3.25 oz.) jar black decorating sugar
  • 2 (.25 oz.) jars purple edible glitter
  • Round pastel confetti sprinkles
  • 1 (4.25 oz.) tube black decorating icing
  • 12″ wooden skewers
  • 1/2 cup white candy melts, melted

Cake:

  • 1 (15.25 oz.) pkg. white cake mix
  • Water, egg whites, and oil

Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temp.
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, from 2 (16 oz.) pkgs.
  • 3 Tbs. milk
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 tsp. orange concentrated coloring
  • 2 orange drinking straws
  • 1 (14 oz.) pkg. black, green, and orange Sixlets candy

Instructions:

Decorations:

  • Arrange 2 to 3 wooden spoons on large baking sheet.
  • Knead tylose into fondant; cover with plastic wrap when not in use.
  • Tint 1/2 cup fondant purple with 1/16 tsp. food coloring. Roll out to 1/16″ thickness; using 4″ and 2 1/4″ bat-shaped cookie cutters, cut out 13 large bats on flat area of baking sheet.
  • Drape remaining bats over spoon handles on baking sheet.
  • Tint remaining fondant lime green with 1/16 tsp. green food coloring. On surface, roll out to 1/16″ thickness. Using 4 1/2″ and 2 1/4″ round cutters, cut out 1 large and 10 small rounds; arrange in single layer on baking sheets.
  • Let bats dry 1 hr.
  • One at a time, brush center of large bats with corn syrup; sprinkle with black sugar, shaking off excess.
  • Brush wings and small bats with corn syrup; sprinkle with purple glitter, shaking off excess.
  • For eyes, attach sprinkles with icing; top with dots of icing.
  • Let all decorations dry at least 2 hrs. or overnight.
  • Attach 2 skewers to back of large fondant round with candy melts; let dry.
  • With candy melts, attach 1 large bat to large fondant round and attach 1 skewer each to backs of 3 large and 3 small bats; let set.

Cake:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat 2 (8″) cake bans with cooking spray.
  • Prepare cake mix according to package directions with water, egg whites, and oil. Divide batter between pans.
  • Bake until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 27 to 30 min.
  • Cool 15 min. Transfer from pans to racks; cool.

Frosting:

  • On medium-high speed, beat butter until fluffy, 2 min. On low speed, gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, then milk, vanilla, and orange food coloring. On medium-high, beat until fluffy, 4 min. Reserve 1/2 cup of frosting.
  • Place one cake later on serving plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting; top with remaining cake later. Spread top and side with remaining frosting.
  • Slide straws over skewers attached to large fondant round; trim straws. Insert fondant round and bats on skewers into cake top.
  • With reserved frosting. attach remaining bats and small fondant rounds to the cake side.
  • Garnish top edge of cake with Sixlets.

Devilishly Good Chocolate Halloween Cake

Orange chocolate cake with bat decoration
Bauer Media Australia

Pudding mix in the batter makes this deep, dark delight even more rich.

Servings: 24; Active time: 45 min.; Total time: 2 hrs. 45 min.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15.25 oz.) pkg. devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 (3.9 oz.) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temp.
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tbs. orange juice
  • Orange concentrated food coloring
  • Orange edible sugar pearl sprinkles
  • Plastic bats (for decoration only)

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat 2 (8″) round cake pans with cooking spray.
  • On low speed, beat cake mix, 1 cup water, pudding mix, eggs, and oil until blended, 30 sec.; on medium, beat 2 min. Stir in zest. Evenly divide between pans.
  • Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 min.
  • Let cool 10 min. Transfer from pans to racks; let cool completely.
  • On medium speed, beat butter until fluffy, 2 min. On low speed, gradually beat in sugar, then orange juice until combined. On medium-high speed, beat until fluffy, 2 min.; tint orange with food coloring.
  • Place 1 cake layer on serving plate; spread top with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread cake top and side with remaining frosting.
  • Garnish with sugar pearls and plastic bats as desired.

Silly Spider Halloween Cake

Green cake with spider decoration
Bauer Media Australia

A bigger-than-life “spider” makes our dark chocolate Halloween cake a real show stopper.

Servings: 16; Active time: 1 hr. 30 min.; Total time: 3 hrs. 15 min.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups butter (1 1/2 lbs.), at room temp
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. + 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups + 1 Tbs. half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar from 2 (16 oz.) pkgs.
  • Black, leaf green, and lemon yellow concentrated food colorings
  • 14 Reese’s Pieces candies
  • 1/4 cup chocolate sprinkles
  • 8 black licorice twists

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat 2 (8″) round pans and 1 muffin cup with cooking spray.
  • Mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; reserve.
  • On high speed, beat granulated sugar and 1 cup butter until fluffy, 3 min. On medium-low, beat in eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla until blended. Combine 1 1/4 cups half-and-half and coffee. On low, in three additions, alternately beat reserved flour mixture and half-and-half mixture into butter mixture, starting and ending with flour.
  • Transfer 1/4 cup batter to muffin cup. Divide remaining batter between round cake pans.
  • Bake until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, cupcake 15 to 17 min. and cake layers 25 to 27 min.
  • Cool 15 min. Transfer from pans to racks. Cool.
  • On high speed, beat remaining butter until fluffy. On low speed, gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, then remaining vanilla and half-and-half; on medium speed, beat 5 min.
  • Transfer 1 cup to separate bowl; stir in 2 tsp. black coloring. Transfer 1/2 cup black frosting to a pastry bag fitted with star tip (Wilton #18). Transfer remaining black frosting to plastic sandwich bag; snip a tiny hole in one corner.
  • Cover remaining 1/4 cup black frosting; reserve for spider topper.
  • Transfer 1 Tbs. white frosting to plastic sandwich bag; snip tiny hole in one corner.
  • Stir 1/4 tsp. leaf green and 1/4 tsp. lemon yellow coloring into remaining white frosting.
  • Place 1 cake layer on serving plate; spread top with 1 cup green frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, spread remaining green frosting over top and side.
  • Using pastry bag with star tip, pipe on spider web.
  • Using sandwich bag with black frosting, pipe 12 lines down from web onto cake side. Press 12 candies onto ends of lines; pipe on legs and eyes.
  • Spread reserved 1/4 cup black frosting over cupcake to cover completely; roll in sprinkles. Place in center of web. For eyes, attach 2 candies with frosting; pipe on white frosting dots, then black frosting dots.
  • Bend licorice twists. Insert one end of each into spider and remaining ends into cake, trimming as needed.

Haunted Bat House Cake

Purple cake in the shape of a haunted house
HBB

Have a howling good time with this off-kilter Halloween cake!

Servings: 32; Active time: 3 1/2 hrs; Total time: 3 1/2 hrs. + overnight.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp. tylose powder
  • 3/4 cup black fondant
  • Light corn syrup
  • 1/4 black decorating sugar
  • 1 (4.25 oz.) tube black decorating icing
  • 6 round orange sprinkles
  • 12 dragées
  • 3 (5″ long) wooden skewers
  • 2 (15.25 oz.) pkgs. dark chocolate fudge cake mix
  • Water, eggs, and oil
  • 1/4 cup yellow decorating sugar
  • 6 yellow gumdrops
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temp.
  • 1 (2 lbs.) pkg. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. violet concentrated food coloring
  • 4 plastic drinking straws
  • 6″ cardboard cake circle
  • 2 large waffle ice cream cones
  • 10 black Twizzlers Twists licorice, halved lengthwise
  • About 32 pieces giant candy corn
  • About 32 black M&M’s

Instructions:

  • Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper. Knead 1/4 tsp. tylose into 1/2 cup fondant. On wax paper, roll out to 1/8″ thickness. Using 4″ and 2 1/4″ bat-shaped cutters, cut out 3 large and 3 small bats. Transfer to 1 baking sheet.
  • Knead remaining tylose into remaining fondant. Roll into 17 1/2″-long rope. Using rolling pin, flatten to 3/4″ wide. Cut crosswise into 14 (1 1/4″ long) pieces. Transfer to baking sheet.
  • Let bats dry 1 hr. and fondant pieces overnight.
  • Brush one side of each bat with corn syrup; coat with black sugar. For eyes, using black icing, attach sprinkles and dragées. When dry, invert large bats; using syrup, attach skewers. Let dry overnight.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat 2 (8″) round and 2 (6″) round cake pans with cooking spray.
  • Prepare 1 cake mix with water, eggs, and oil according to package directions. Spread 2 cups batter in 6″ cake pan and remaining batter in 8″ pan. Reserve
  • Repeat with remaining cake mix and more pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 28 to 30 min.
  • Cool 15 min. Transfer from pans to to racks; cool.
  • For windows, on yellow sugar, roll out gumdrops to 1/8″ thickness. Cut out 5 (1 3/4″ tall at top peak, 1″ wide) shapes and 1 (2 3/4″ tall at top peak, 2″ wide) shape. Reserve.
  • On medium-high speed, beat butter until very fluffy. On low, gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, then 5 Tbs. water and vanilla. On medium, beat until fluffy. Reserve 1/4 cup frosting. Stir food coloring into remaining frosting.
  • Place one 8″ cake layer on serving plate. Spread top with 3/4 cup frosting; top with remaining 8″ layer.
  • Using long serrated knife, starting at top edge of cake, diagonally cut cake top off at an angle, ending 3/4″ down side on opposite edge; discard cake scraps.
  • Insert straws into center of cake about 2″ apart; cut to level with cake top.
  • Spread 1 Tbs. violet frosting over center of cake circle. Top with 1 (6″) cake; trim top level if necessary. Spread top with 1/3 cup frosting; top with remaining 6″ layer.
  • Using long serrated knife, starting at top edge of cake, diagonally cut cake top off at an angle, ending 3/4″ down side on opposite edge; discard cake scraps.
  • Spread 1 Tbs. frosting over center of 8″ cake top; top with 6″ cake on circle so that tops are angled in opposite directions. Chill 1 hr.
  • Stack ice cream cones together; trim bottoms at an angle so that when placed on cake top, they stand straight; spread with frosting; reserve.
  • Spread cake with remaining frosting. Wrap Twizzlers strips around bases of cakes, trimming as necessary. Chill until frosting is set, about 1 hr.
  • Gently press cones onto cake top; wrap base with Twizzlers. Cut some of remaining Twizzlers strips to trim tops of windows. Cut remaining Twizzlers into 1″ to 3″ lengths.
  • Coat backs of windows with reserved white frosting; press onto house. Using black icing, attach Twizzlers strips to windows and small bats to cake sides.
  • For staircase, insert reserved fondant pieces into cake side. Press candy corn and M&M’s onto cake edges. Insert bats on skewers into cake, trimming skewers as necessary.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Witch Bundt Cake

Bundt cake with green icing and witch decorations
HBB

Witches made a crash-landing in our delicious buttermilk Halloween cake.

Servings: 16; Active time: 3 hrs.; Total time: 7 hrs. + overnight.

Ingredients

Decorations:

  • 1/3 cup black fondant
  • 1/8 tsp. tylose powder
  • 2 Tbs. red fondant
  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. bright white candy melts; 2 cups
  • Violet and black oil-base candy colorings
  • 10 pretzel dipping sticks
  • Stars sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup black candy melts, melted
  • Light corn syrup
  • Black and red edible glitters

Cake:

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temp., cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • Orange concentrated food coloring
  • Neon green liquid food coloring

Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temp.
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Jumbo orange and purple confetti sprinkles

Instructions:

Decorations:

  • Using cake photo as a guide, draw witch’s hat template that is 2 1/2″ tall and 3″ wide at the brim on thin cardboard; cut out.
  • Line rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. Wrap 2 Tbs. black fondant in plastic wrap; reserve. Knead tylose powder into remaining black fondant. Between two sheets of wax paper, roll out to 1/ 16″ thickness.
  • Using template as guide, cut out hats from fondant. Transfer to baking sheet. Let dry overnight.
  • Using red and reserved black fondants, make shoes. For each shoe, roll 1 tsp fondant into ball. Form into teardrop shape. Press indentation into thicker end to later attach leg. For heel, using dull side of knife, make notice on side of each shoe opposite from leg indentation. Press each shoe to shape toe end into point. Transfer to baking sheet. Let dry overnight.
  • Line another baking sheet with wax paper. Divide white candy melts between two tall microwave-safe containers; microwave according to package direction to melt. Tint one container violet with candy coloring. Reserve 1 Tbs. of each color.
  • One at a time, dip pretzels into remaining white and violet candy, leaving 1/2″ end of pretzel undipped, and letting excess drip off. Transfer to lined baking sheet.
  • For star decorations, attach sprinkles while candy is still wet. Re-melt candy as necessary. To decorate with black stripes, let pretzels dry completely. For black stripes, tint black candy melts with black candy color. Transfer to disposable pastry bag; snip tip. Pipe lines on pretzels; dry.

Cake:

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat Bundt pan with baking spray with flour.
  • On low speed, beat flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined, 30 sec. Add butter; beat until crumbly, about 3 min.
  • In separate bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and almond extracts. on medium, in three additions, beat egg mixture into flour mixture, beating well after each addition.
  • Divide batter in half. Stir 1 tsp. orange coloring into one half and 50 drops neon green food coloring into remaining batter. Spoon orange batter in pan; top with green batter. Using spoon, fold to swirl batter lightly. Bake until pick inserted 1″ from center comes out clean, 60 to 70 min.
  • Cool 30 min. Transfer from pan to rack; cool.
  • Working with one at a time, lightly brush reserved hats and shoes with corn syrup, then sprinkle hats and black shoes with black edible glitter. Re-melt reserved candy melts. Dip ends of pretzels into candy; insert into shoes. Transfer to wax paper. Chill until set, 10 min.

Frosting:

  • On medium-high, beat butter until fluffy, about 3 min. On low, gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, then milk and vanilla. On medium0high, beat until fluffy, 3 to 4 min. Transfer 3/4 cup frosting to each of 2 separate bowls.
  • Tint one bowl violet and other bowl orange with food colorings. Transfer 2 Tbs. orange frosting to plastic sandwich bag, snip small hole in one corner. Pipe lines on hats.
  • Transfer remaining orange and violet frostings to separate pastry bags each fitted with medium star tip (such as Wilton #1M).
  • Tint remaining white frosting neon green with food coloring. Transfer cake to serving plate; spread neon green frosting over cake.
  • Pipe 5 (2 1/2″) rounds of purple or orange frosting onto cake. Pipe slightly smaller round of alternating color of frosting on top of each 2 1/2″ round.
  • Press pretzel legs into centers of frosting rounds. Decorate cake with hats and jumbo confetti.

These recipes originally appeared in our print magazine, Celebrate! Woman’s World Halloween Treats.

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