Halloween Cake {with an awesome surprise treat!}

filed under: Cakes on October 6, 2018

What more can you ask for than a decadent chocolate cake covered in a seriously amazing treat??? You will not be able to stop looking at or snacking on this EASY Halloween Cake {with an awesome surprise treat!} Try my Zucchini Double Chocolate Cake for another chocolaty treat!

Halloween Cake {with an awesome surprise treat!}

Halloween Cake

I was testing out an idea for my book and whipped up this cake. It’s my favorite chocolate cake, covered in milk chocolate ganache with chocolate-covered donut holes on top. I couldn’t stop there, so I sprinkled some sugar and stuff on top of the donuts to add more sweetness!

Donut holes to top Halloween Cake

Halloween Cake Recipe

There are two main parts to this recipe that you will have to make–the perfect chocolate cake and the chocolate ganache. Yes, there are three parts to the whole presentation, but I simply went out and bought donut holes to add to the top of the cake. If you are feeling up to it, you can always make your own cake pops, too. I just wanted to have more time to make other delicious Halloween treats, like my Pumpkin Buttercream Cupcakes with Chocolate Halloween Toppers!

What makes chocolate cake recipe so perfect? First off, it is inspired by Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe which is the same recipe my grandma used. They added coffee to their cake which does magical things to chocolate. Second, this is truly a MOIST and flavorful chocolate cake. Is there anything worse than dry cake? Nope. You will never have that problem with this recipe!

I used two 8-inch pans for my cake, but you can also use 9-inch pans. If using 9-inch, you will want to decrease the bake time by up to five minutes. And don’t forget to use GOOP to prepare your pans… it is the BEST!

1. Yes, you cannot leave it out.

2. I mean it.

Ok, ok, so you can if you want. But here is what the coffee does… it enhances the flavor of the chocolate. The cake does not taste like coffee at all… it simply tastes richer.

If you simply must not use coffee, you can substitute hot water.


Overhead of Halloween Cake {with an awesome surprise treat!}

How to Make Halloween Cake

Making the Perfect Chocolate Cake

First, I recommend reading through the ingredients and making sure everything is out and ready. The eggs and buttermilk should be room temperature so getting them out of the fridge ahead of time will solve that for you. If you haven’t already, I recommend making your own homemade buttermilk to have on hand for all your recipes that call for it.

Make sure dry ingredients are sifted and measured properly. When measuring flour, get out your container or bag. Open it and use a fork to stir it, or sift it, loosening it up. Spoon the flour into a dry measure cup then use the back of a knife to level the cup off. (Or you can measure your ingredients on a scale.)

Use the proper tools. For instance, this recipe used a stand mixer. You can use a hand-held mixer (or even stir by hand) but make sure the ingredients are fully mixed and incorporated before moving on to the next step in the recipe.

Use the best quality ingredients if you are able! Dark cocoa’s or high-quality cocoa, fresh eggs, and good quality vanilla make a difference! Feel free to upgrade to all organic ingredients. When it comes to substitutions though, I do recommend making the recipe as-is first, then altering it to make it yours.

Preparing the Ganache

Bring your heavy cream to a boil and pour it over your chocolate chips, mixing it together until the chocolate has melted. Pour the ganache over the cake and top it off with the donut holes.

I ‘faked’ the cake pops on top of the cake because I was too lazy to make another cake just to see how this would look.  The donut balls are a convenient substitution, but as you can see are very lumpy and not as visually appealing as the real thing.

I really enjoyed the flavors.  I mean, it’s chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate-covered devil’s food donuts.  Who wouldn’t like all the chocolate deliciousness?


Halloween Cake {with an awesome surprise treat!}

Looking for More Chocolate Treats?

Dark Chocolate Cake with Buttermilk Pecan Frosting

Chocolate Espresso Cookie

Dirty Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Pound Cake

5 from 1 vote
Halloween Cake {with an awesome surprise treat!}

A decadent chocolate cake covered in a seriously amazing treat, this EASY Halloween Cake {with an awesome surprise treat!} is not one to be missed!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Halloween Cake
Servings: 12
Calories: 399 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke-iambaker.net
  • 1 3/4 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (112g) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (240g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (90g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (237g) freshly brewed hot coffee, (I use decaf)
  • 12 ounces (bag) milk chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces heavy cream
  1. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl and mix until combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  4. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into two 8-inch round prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350°F, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean (not wet).
  6. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely
  1. Bring heavy cream to a boil and remove from heat.
  2. With chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl, pour cream over chips and slowly stir until all chips are melted.
  3. Pour the ganache over the cake, and top with donut holes!

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  • sneige says:

    The colours and texture – just fantastic! I’m not sure about the donut balls though, I would prefer something more decadent like truffles! 🙂

  • Val says:

    This is one of the most adorable and most striking cakes I’ve ever seen. I love it. 🙂

  • Sandra says:

    I am looking forward to making this for my birthday. Very happy to have found your blog.

  • LisaLisa says:

    You are MUCH too hard on yourself. I find it clever and divine!! the lumpy donuts add tons of character and just makes me want to pop one in my mouth even more.

    maybe make the donuts smaller…who gives a rats ass if they have a little lump?

  • Ann Johnson says:

    Please don`t change out the chocolate dripping down over the cake. That`s part of the appeal of this cake….choc til you drop..A:-)

  • Halloween Cake Tin says:

    Stunning cake…ganache icing would probably be too rich and sickly, melted chocolate was definitely a great choice 🙂

  • Laurie in MN says:

    Give Angie a big MN welcome from those of us who can’t be there! So glad she is with us!

  • Paula says:

    Love, love, love it!!!!! Chocolate upon chocolate, cake AND donuts!!! Wish I lived in Minnesota!! But, very cute story; my neighbor’s Dad lives in Minnesota and visits a lot. Whenever I bake, he always gets to be a part of it. I hear that he will be here soon, and is looking forward to what I will be baking…(for him)..how cute is he..I think he is close to 90! Love his smile when I hand him cake or whatever is going…..

    • Amanda says:

      Now that is just about the cutest story ever!! Love it. Sounds like you are a pretty fantastic neighbor! 🙂

  • Kim - Liv Life says:

    Saw your cake on FB and while I’m not particularly a cake person, you have me wanting cake!

  • Laurie says:

    Cake with donuts on top???!!! You are a goddess! I like that idea more than the cake topped with cake balls. Seems like too much cake but I understand you’re going for visual effect. Did you make the donuts or did you buy them? If you made them can you pass along the recipe please?!

  • Janet B says:

    I actually like the slightly lumpy look of the doughnut balls. I like the imperfectness of them.

  • Andrea says:

    Had to stop by just to say that this is so beautiful!! The cascading chocolate, the varied donut holes, just lovely. Love the looks of it, and I’m sure it tastes fantastic!