Heart and Skull Cake

Halloween - it's coming!!! 

Finally the time of year when we all get to make creepy, gory, ghoulish cakes - like this Heart and Skull Cake - and nobody bats an eye. 😉

Haha, bats. Pun not intended. But I'm not going to edit it out either! 😉

Okay, back on track. I love making center-filled cakes, and I reeeeally wanted to fill a Halloween Cake with red jelly. I saw an Instagram video last year (@chelsweets) of a cake filled with red jelly, and ohhhhh man - soo crazy cool!!!  It looks kinda like blood spilling out of the cake – hence this cake’s semi-cheesy name 😉 

Recipe for this Heart and Skull Cake below!


“How do I store this cake?”
  • Before serving, I prefer storing cakes in cake boxes – they help keep the cake from drying out without any plastic wrap touching the sides of the cake and potentially messing up the decorations! I place cakes in the fridge if storing overnight but allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

  • Cover any remaining cake well after serving to keep it from drying out - it will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

“Do I have to make the cake / frosting from scratch?”
  • Absolutely not if you don't want to! You can substitute 2 of your favorite red velvet cake mixes plus the ingredients the mix calls for; keep the baking pans the same! The cake layers will just be a little less rich. Substituting butter for oil, buttermilk for water, and adding an extra egg will help! (That's actually how I made the cake layers in the video; I'd run out of red gel food coloring and craft stores weren't open at 10pm when I was baking the cake layers) 
    Store bought frosting is usually a little thinner than my recipe; add a 1/4 cup of extra powdered sugar at a time until you reach a consistency that spreads and stays in place on the cake well.

“Can I make the cake / frosting ahead of time?”
  • Definitely! Wrap the cake layers well and refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. Transfer the frosting to a zip-lock bag and squeeze out the extra air, and again - refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.

“What if I've never added a drip to a cake before?”
  • Don't stress! It's easier than you probably think it is! 🙂 

  • My biggest tips - make sure you measure your chocolate and heavy cream accurately. Too much/little of either may affect your drip consistency. 

  • Make sure you try a test drip first! Don't pour the ganache over your whole cake until you're confident in the consistency of your ganache. You can adjust the consistency by warming or cooling slightly (warmer = thinner). If that’s not enough you can adjust more by adding 1 teaspoon of whipping cream (thinner) or 1 Tablespoon of chocolate chips (thicker) at a time, stirring until smooth.

  • I loved this YouTube tutorial by Sugar&Sparrow when I was new to cake drips! 

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Heart and Skull Cake

A creepy black-frosted raspberry jelly-filled Red Velvet cake that 'bleeds' when you cut into it!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time37 minutes
Decorating time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 52 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Halloween Cake, Halloween cake recipe, Halloween desserts, Halloween Drip Cake, Heart and Skull Cake
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 778kcal
Author: Sarah H



Red Velvet Cake Layers

  • 3 cups flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Red gel food coloring - to desired color

Black Cocoa Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake filling

  • 1 cup red raspberry jam
  • crumbled center from one of your cake layers

Black Chocolate Ganache Drip

Red ganache drip (optional)


Red Velvet Cake Layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8 inch round pans with baker's floured spray (or grease and line with parchment rounds).
  • Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  • Pour in eggs, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla, oil, and red gel food coloring, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.
  • Divide evenly between prepared cake pans. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired. (This is a great time to make your frosting!)
  • Once your cake layers have cooled, level them and use a glass or medium-sized biscuit cutter to remove the center from two of the three cake layers.

Black Cocoa Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with cocoa powder and milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla, food color, and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
  • Note – frosting’s color will deep if left to sit for several hours or overnight – this lets you get a deeper color with less gel food coloring!

Assembly time!

  • Your two cored cake layers will be your bottom two – center your first layer on your cardboard cake circle, and spread a layer of frosting over it. Fill with raspberry jam and add crumbled cake crumbs – the most cake crumbs you add, the more solid your center will be and the slower it will drip out of your cake. If you want it to run out quickly, leave the cake crumbs out.
  • Add a layer of frosting over the second cake layer, repeat the filling process, and put the final layer on top!
  • Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like - a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
  • Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.
  • Okaaaay......on to the drip(s)!

Black Chocolate Ganache Drip

  • Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky. Add gel food coloring and stir until color is even.

Red ganache drip (optional)

  • Place heavy cream and white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between. Stir in gel food coloring.


  • Allow ganache mixtures to cool to a moderate temperature - they should still be liquid but feel only lightly warm. Use a squeeze bottle or spoon to drizzle black chocolate ganache around the upper edge of your cake, pausing every inch or so to let more ganache fall in a drip down the side of the cake. Return cake to the fridge or freezer to set the drips.
  • The fun part!! Turn the glass upside down, and press it into the top of your cake – it should be in deep enough to stay upright in the top of the cake, but leave at least a bit of the glass rim above the cake top so you can drizzle the red drip mixture underneath it. With a squeeze bottle or spoon, drizzle red ganache mixture under the rim of the glass and away from the glass toward the edge of the cake, letting it fall over the edge to make another set of drips.
  • Stand back and admire your work! Refrigerate until ready to serve – this cake is *super* fun to cut for a big group so they can watch all the jam ooze out everywhere!



Please note nutrition information is an estimate and may not be exactly accurate.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 778kcal | Carbohydrates: 103g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 38g

Did you make this Heart and Skull Cake? 

Send me an email and let me know how it went – or make my day and find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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Mentioned in post - 
Black Cocoa Cream Cheese Buttercream

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