Poison Apple Cake

Poison Apple Cake

I can't remember who said it...

I can’t remember who said it, but a comment somewhere I posted a ‘Halloween Slime Cake’ topped with a Erlenmeyer flask said ‘You should do a poison apple cake!’ 
Whoever you were – you’re a freaking genius and credit for this cake goes to you!

Since I use black cocoa to make black buttercream rather than a ton of black food gel, I opted to not flavor these cake layers with apple – but if you’d like to give it a shot go for it! I’m totally trying out mixing in apple schnapps if I come up with a way to make black buttercream that tastes good without cocoa powder! 😉

Recipe below – enjoy!
"You used boxed mixes in this recipe - can I use a scratch cake recipe instead?" 
  • Absolutely! You use my Favorite Vanilla Cake recipe, or even your own favorite white or vanilla cake recipe - just add 3-4 large drops of bright/lime green gel food color to the batter before baking. 
"Do I have to make the frosting from scratch?"
  • Not if you don't want to! You can substitute chocolate store-bought frosting and add black gel color, though the shade of black may be a little lighter.
    Store-bought frosting is usually a little thinner than my recipe; add 2 Tablespoons of regular or black cocoa powder at a time until you reach a consistency that spreads and stays in place on the cake well. 

“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. 

“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 candy melts 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. Adjust by warming or cooling slightly, or adding 3-4 candy melts or 1 teaspoon of whipping cream at a time and stirring until smooth. 

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

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Poison Apple cake pinterest pin

Poison Apple Cake

Poison Apple Cake - a 'poisoned apple' take on my most popular Halloween drip cake! Black cocoa makes it beautifully-black and delicious!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Decorating time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Halloween Drip Cake, Halloween Poison Apple Cake, Halloween Poison Cake, Poison Apple Cake
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 752kcal
Author: Sarah H



Poison Apple cake layers

  • 2 white cake mixes
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 16 Tablespoons or 2 sticks, melted & cooled - use instead of oil
  • 8 egg whites no yolks-you can use egg whites from a carton to avoid wasting the yolks
  • 2 cups buttermilk room temperature - use instead of water
  • 2 tablespoons clear vanilla extract
  • 3-4 large drops bright/lime green gel food coloring I used Americolor Electric green

Black Cocoa cream cheese buttercream

  • 8 ounces cream cheese one package, softened
  • 1 cup butter 16 Tablespoons or two sticks softened
  • 5 ½ -6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup black cocoa powder Available on Amazon; this post explains why I love it so much!
  • 4-6 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter
  • 3-4 large drops black gel food color use 5-6 large drops if using regular cocoa powder. I use black gel color pretty frequently especially around Halloween, so I bought this large bottle from Americolor!

Green cake drip & Decorations

  • 6 ounces White Candy Melts (I used Wilton Bright White)
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream (My favorite brand is very thick; you may need a bit less depending on the thickness of your cream)
  • 2-3 drops lime green gel food coloring (add last; after candy melts are melted with whipping cream!)
  • 1 medium/large apple (I used a green Granny Smith apple)


Poison Apple cake layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with baker's floured cooking spray, or grease and line with parchment rounds.
  • Mix together all wet ingredients (butter, egg whites, buttermilk, vanilla, and gel food color) in a large bowl with a mixer or wire whisk. Blend in cake mixes for 30 seconds until moistened, then beat for 2 minutes until well combined.
  • Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans – it helps to run an offset spatula or knife around the perimeter of the pan first. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.

Black cocoa 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, black gel color, and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
  • Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler.
  • Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting.
  • Add your next cake layer on top, and repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
  • Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading 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. (This is a great time to make and color your ganache drip mixture!)

Cake Drip & Decorations

  • Place heavy cream and candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl (don't add the color yet!) and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between. Once the mixture is completely melted and smooth, add in the gel color and mix until the color is even.
  • Once your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature - it should be liquid but not hot so it doesn't melt your frosting - transfer about half to a squeeze bottle or piping bag. You can use a spoon; it just won't give you quite as much control.
  • Slowly drizzle candy melt ganache around the upper edge of your cake, pausing every inch or so to let more fall in a drip down the side of the cake. Use a bit more of the mixture to cover the top of the cake, then transfer back to the bowl.
  • Holding it by the stem, dip apple into drip mixture, turning to all sides until well coated. Transfer to the cake top.
  • And you're done! Serve and enjoy!



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


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 752kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 38g

Did you make this Poison Apple Cake?

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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Black Cocoa Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

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9 thoughts on “Poison Apple Cake

  1. I’ve been tasked with making a Beatle juice cake for a birthday coming up and I’m going to make your Poison Apple Cake (minus the apple) and go from there. If it turns out I will put a photo on your site. Looks delish

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