Easy Halloween Layer Cake
Celebrate the spooky season with this Halloween Layer Cake! It’ll be the most perfectly Halloween-inspired centerpiece for your costume party this October. Three cocoa cake layers are separated by vibrant and delicious white chocolate ganache. It’s picturesque, delicious, and is sure to impress everyone who sees it – even the ghosts!
Halloween Layer Cake
Boo! Did I scare you? Let me make it up to you by sharing my most favorite easy Halloween cake recipe! This chocolate layer cake is gorgeous, but don’t let that intimidate you – it’s a real cinch to make and assemble! The most difficult part of the whole process is arguing with your kids about who gets to lick the spoons that stir the ganache.
I love the spooky season, and I really enjoy celebrating the Halloween season with fun desserts like this one. Baking holiday inspired treats always makes me want to celebrate the season, whatever it may be! With that being said, this cake is a special favorite of mine because of how vibrant and fun it is. Plus, the white chocolate ganache is positively dreamy!
As impressive as this cake is (trust me, you’ll get loads of compliments), it’s not too much of a hassle to make. I know that layers and ganache can both seem intimidating, but I’ve included tons of tips in this recipe that will help you understand the simple steps even more. Even the most novice of home chefs will master this recipe in no time!
How to Make It
Start off by baking the cocoa cake layers!
Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C), fan assisted. Line a 6inch cake tin.
Combine the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, sieve the dry ingredients and mix them together: all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
Beat. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.
Make the batter. Add the beaten egg, milk and black food color to the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined but do not overmix.
Pour. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
Note: I place a wet cake strip around the tin. It’s great to avoid a big dome on the top and the edges of the cake are soft.
Bake. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you don’t use a wet strip, your cake may need less time to be baked. Start to watch at 30 minutes.
Cool. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Note: You can bake the cake 1 day in advance. Let it cool, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator overnight.
Time to make the ganache and assemble the layers!
Prepare. Set aside 3 medium bowls.
Melt. Melt the white chocolate (microwave or double boiler). I prefer a double boiler for white chocolate to avoid burning. It’s very easy to overheat.
Heat. In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Don’t allow it to boil.
Combine. Pour the warm heavy cream over the melted chocolate and stir until fully combined and no lumps remain.
Note: Don’t use a whisk to stir as we don’t want to incorporate air at this stage, use a fork or a spatula.
Separate. Separate the ganache into 3 equal amounts in 3 different bowls (approximately 1 cup + ¼ cup – 300g)
Make it colorful. Add in gel food color in each bowl and stir until fully incorporated. It will become lighter when cooling and whipping. Your color should be a little bit darker to be sure to have the desired color at the end.
Cool. Cover your 3 ganaches with plastic wrap, touching the surface of the ganache. It will avoid a film from developing. Allow to cool completely in the fridge for 5 hours or overnight if you want to prepare it ahead of time. The ganache is ready once it’s completely cooled, and the texture is thickened with a smooth finish.
Whip. Whip each ganache with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. Start at low speed and gradually increase the speed. It takes only a few minutes, 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t over whip, the mixture will become lumpy.
Note: The ganache will stiffen up once cold. Use immediately or store in the fridge (covered with plastic wrap) until needed. If you store the ganaches in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, leave them at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. Loosen with a spatula if needed.
Level. Make sure the cake is completely cool. Using a cake leveler, start to level the cake to create an even surface.
Slice. Slice the cake in 3 equal layers.
Frost. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand. Cover the top with the green frosting. I used a piping bag to cover the cake with the frosting and then a palette knife to make a flat surface. Top with 2nd layer cake and cover with the orange frosting. Top with 3rd layer cake and decorate with the purple frosting. I used an open star tip to pipe large rosettes (tip 1M) but feel free to decorate as you wish. I made 2 layers of rosettes to have a generous layer of frosting.
Refrigerate. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before slicing. If you leave the cake for more than 3 hours in the fridge, allow it to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure the chocolate is not too hot before pouring the cream. It will prevent a lumpy ganache. The ideal temperature: between 85°F and 105°F (30°C and 40°C).
- If the ganache looks a bit yellow, don’t worry, that’s the separation from the cocoa butter. It will come back white once cold, and we will use food colors.
- There’s no butter or oil in this cake, but the cake is very moist. It also balances the rich ganache.
- I use an aluminum cake tin.
- You can freeze the cake (without the frosting). Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months. Allow the cake to thaw on the counter.
- Use good quality chocolate to make the ganache.
- Use a heavy whipping cream that contains at least 30% milkfat.
- Use gel food colors for best results. They are super concentrated, just need a small amount and they don’t ruin your batter / ganache.
- Make sure to have enough room in your fridge as there are 3 bowls of ganache and the cake to store before assembly.
- Leave plenty of time for the cake to cool completely before adding the ganache.
Overall, there are two ways to make this cake super simple! First, I highly recommend preparing the cake the day before. Then, once it’s cool, wrap it and store it in the fridge. Secondly, prepare the ganaches the day before and let them cool overnight. Whip it the following day.
Need more treats to spook up your Halloween party? Here are some of my favorites!
- Easy Ghost Donut Pops
- Witch Finger Shortbread Cookies
- No Bake Oreo Truffle Eyeballs
- Gingerbread Mummies
Get the Recipe: Easy Halloween Layer Cake
Chocolate Layer Cake
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons of milk, at room temperature
- Black gel food color
White chocolate ganache
- 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 24.7 ounces white chocolate, good quality
- Green gel food color
- Orange gel food color
- Purple gel food color
- 9 inch cake pan
Chocolate Layer Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C), fan assisted.
- Line a 6inch cake tin.
- In a large bowl, sieve the dry ingredients and mix them together: all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.
- Add the beaten egg, milk and black food color to the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined but do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. ( I place a wet cake strip around the tin. It’s great to avoid a big dome on the top and the edges of the cake are soft.)
- Bake for 35-40minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you don’t use a wet strip, your cake may need less time to be cooked. Start to watch from 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
White chocolate ganache
- Prepare 3 medium bowls. Set aside.
- Melt the white chocolate (microwave or double boiler). I prefer a double boiler for white chocolate to avoid burning. It’s very easy to overheat.
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Don’t allow it to boil.
- Pour the warm heavy cream over the melted chocolate and stir until fully combined and no lumps remain.