Coffin Cake

This beautiful coffin-shaped cake is the perfect dessert to add a little bit of class to your Halloween party. In fact, why limit the recipe just to Halloween? This cake would also make an outstanding birthday cake, either for the morbid Goths in your social circle or for an over-the-hill birthday party. Whatever time of year you choose to enjoy it, this rich chocolate cake is to DIE for!

Coffin Cake


  • 2 contrasting colors of icing-for example, chocolate and vanilla, red and black, etc.
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup canola oil (yes, that much! Don’t worry, it’s a big cake)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Heat the water until boiling. Then, add cocoa powder. Stir until the cocoa dissolves.
  3. In a large bowl, combine remaining liquid ingredients (buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla). Mix with a mixer until they are blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (sugar, flour, salt, baking soda). Stir until the dry ingredients are well-mixed.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture and blend with the mixer until a smooth batter forms.
  6. Add cocoa/water mixture and mix until blended.
  7. Pour batter into a greased rectangular cake pan (I used a 7×9 pan that was 3 inches deep, but you can use other sizes as long as the pan is rectangular).
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the size pan you use). The cake is done when a toothpick or knife inserted through the middle comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool.

Decorating the Coffin Halloween Cake:

  1. Once the cake has cooled, turn it upside-down out of the pan and onto a large platter.
  2. Cut the two top corners off, as shown here, in this picture.
  3. Coffin Cake
  4. Then, complete the coffin by trimming the sides as shown in this picture.
  5. Cut the top inch off of the cake and set aside-this will be the lid.
  6. Frost the cake with one of your icing colors.
  7. Set the "lid" on top, and cover it with the same color frosting.
  8. Put 1/4 cup of the contrasting icing into one corner of a sandwich bag. Cut off the corner.
  9. Use the bag to squeeze icing out to outline and define the edges of the coffin and the lid. You can also write a message on the coffin lid-for example, “R.I.P” or “Happy Halloween.”
  10. Decorate coffin cake as desired. You can use Halloween figurines such as bats or skeletons, or experiment with edible flowers like rose petals and violets.

About Chris Molnar


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