Made with a devil’s food cake base and topped with Cool Whip and crushed Oreos, this spooky and fun graveyard cake is as delicious as it is fun to decorate!
This post contains affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy.
Table of Contents
- About Graveyard Cake
- What’s in graveyard cake?
- What other ingredients will you need?
- Do you have to use Cool Whip?
- What type of chocolate should you use?
- Can you make this in advance?
- How long is graveyard cake good for?
- Can you freeze this cake?
- Notes & tips for graveyard poke cake
- More spooky Halloween eats
- How to make a graveyard cake
- Recipe Details
About Graveyard Cake
Halloween is all about spooky fun, and that’s exactly what this graveyard cake is all about: a delicious devil’s food cake topped with all of the best creepy treats that come out only once a year.
What’s in graveyard cake?
To bake up your own spooky graveyard cake, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Devil’s food cake – The rich chocolate cake that forms the base of this dessert. This recipe recommends preparing a box mix cake, but feel free to make your favorite homemade chocolate cake in a 9×13 baking dish instead. You can also make different flavors of cake, but some variation of chocolate is recommended so that it still looks like dirt in a graveyard.
- Cool Whip and Oreos – Used for creating the soft, dirt-like topping on the cake. You can substitute the Cool Whip for chocolate pudding if you’d like.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips and Milano cookies – For creating the cute tombstones on the cake. The chocolate is melted, put into a pastry bag, and piped onto the Milano cookies to write Halloween sayings like “RIP” and “BOO!”
- Instant white chocolate pudding, milk, and food coloring – This recipe is a poke cake, and the instant pudding will be prepared, dyed Halloween colors, and inserted into the holes in the cake to give fun pops of color and a creamy texture. You can use another flavor of pudding if you’d like, but whatever you pick should be light in color so that the food coloring will show up.
- Halloween Peeps (ghosts, pumpkins, and black cats), candy pumpkins, gummy worms, Halloween sprinkles, candy eyes – Fun Halloween decorations for the top of the graveyard cake.
What other ingredients will you need?
To make things easy, this recipe includes using a box of devil’s food cake mix (or whipping up your favorite chocolate cake in a 9×13 pan).
The cake will require additional ingredients to make, and because this can vary depending on the type or brand you buy, any extras you may need are not included in the recipe below.
So before you begin making this cake, check the back of the box you buy to ensure you have the additional ingredients on hand. This will typically include baking staples such as:
- Water or milk (TIP: water can be substituted for milk or chocolate milk for more flavorful cake.)
Do you have to use Cool Whip?
In theory, no – there’s nothing “special” about Cool Whip that would make this cake better (or worse) if you were to use an alternative ingredient, such as homemade whipped cream. Cool Whip does bring additional sweetness and flavor, but most whipped cream is sweetened to a similar amount.
And if you don’t want to use Cool Whip or use a homemade version, you can always substitute it for chocolate pudding instead. The goal is to have a topping that’s loose and fluffy so that it’s easy to insert the decorations.
Please note I have not tested this recipe with whipped cream; I’ve only ever used Cool Whip.
What type of chocolate should you use?
There are many different brands of chocolate chips – even some made by popular candy companies – but from my experience, the best chocolate for baking, fudges, or truffles is Ghirardelli. It consistently performs well while baking, has a great texture (never chalky), and has a delicious flavor. This brand is a little more expensive, but trust me, you’ll appreciate the flavor and consistency you’ll get from the premium quality.
You can find their semi-sweet chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate bar either in the bakery aisle of most grocery stores or you can buy it online.
Can you make this in advance?
This cake can be completely baked and decorated per the recipe instructions up to 24 hours in advance. Just store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
How long is graveyard cake good for?
Once prepared and decorated, graveyard cake can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Can you freeze this cake?
Yes, you totally can!
Once prepared and cooled, this Halloween cake can be stored in a sealed container or freezer bag for up to three months.
Notes & tips for graveyard poke cake
- This cake can be served cold or at room temperature.
- For a more chocolatey cake, substitute the Cool Whip for chocolate pudding.
- When making the tombstones, you can substitute the Milano cookies for Nutter Butters.
- When decorating the tombstones, you can skip the melted chocolate and use store-bought frosting or an edible marker instead.
- You can also use a wide smoothie straw for poking holes in the cake.
More spooky Halloween eats
How to make a graveyard cake
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – Kick things off by preparing your chosen devil’s food cake (whether that be from a box mix or your favorite homemade recipe) in a 9×13 baking dish. Once done, set the cake aside to cool while you prepare the decorations.
Step 2 – In a food processor, toss in the Oreos and pulse until they’re nice and crumbly. Once done, set the Oreos aside for now.
Step 3 – Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl and heat until smooth. Transfer the chocolate to a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with a small cut for piping. Break off the bottom of the Milano cookies (to make them look like tombstones) then use the melted chocolate to write spooky Halloween sayings on them, like “RIP, “BOO!”, or dates. Set the tombstones aside for now.
Step 4 – In a medium bowl, whisk together the instant white chocolate pudding mix and the milk until smooth. Separate half of the pudding into another bowl, then dye both with food coloring as desired.
Step 5 – Use the bottom of a wooden spoon to poke numerous holes in the cooled cake, then spoon in (or use an injector) the pudding into the holes, alternating colors as desired.
Step 6 – Top the cake with Cool Whip, then cover the Cool Whip with the crushed Oreos.
Step 7 – Decorate the top of the cake with the prepared Milano tombstones, Peeps, candy pumpkins, gummy worms, Halloween sprinkles, and candy eyes.
Step 8 – Let chill!
Step 9 – Serve and enjoy!
- 1 box devil's food cake mix, plus ingredients to make it
- 30 Oreos
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3.3 ounces instant white chocolate pudding mix
- 2 cups milk
- green and orange food coloring
- 8 ounces Cool Whip, softened
- Halloween Peeps, ghost, pumpkin, and black cat, etc
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with baking spray, then set aside.
- Prepare devil's food cake per package instructions, then pour into prepared 9×13 baking dish. Once baked, allow cake to completely cool in the pan, about 30-60 minutes.1 box devil's food cake mix
- While cake cools, prepare toppings. Using a food processor (or ZipLoc bag + meat tenderizer), pulse or crush Oreos until cookies become a fine crumble. Set crumbled Oreos aside.30 Oreos
- Add semi-sweet chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power, then stir. Continue to heat for 15-second intervals, mixing in between, until chocolate is melted and smooth.1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Transfer melted chocolate to a pastry bag and make a small cut at the tip (or use a ZipLoc bag with a small cut in the corner). Do a quick squeeze test; chocolate should come out freely in a narrow string. Adjust hole size as needed.
- Break off bottoms of Milano cookies (to form tombstones) and pipe Halloween-themed words or sayings on cookies such as RIP, a date, Boo!, etc. Set cookies aside for now.4 Milano cookies
- In a medium bowl, whisk together instant pudding mix and milk until smooth.3.3 ounces instant white chocolate pudding mix, 2 cups milk
- Separate half of pudding into another bowl. Add a few drops of green food coloring to first bowl, then add orange food coloring to second bowl. Stir and add more food coloring as needed until desired color is reached.green and orange food coloring
- Use bottom of a wooden spoon to poke numerous holes into cooled cake. Carefully spoon in (or use an injector) pudding into holes, alternating colors as desired.
- Spread Cool Whip over top of cake into an even layer, then cover Cool Whip with crushed Oreos.8 ounces Cool Whip
- Decorate top of cake with prepared Milano tombstones, Peeps, candy pumpkins, gummy worms, Halloween sprinkles, and candy eyes.Halloween Peeps, candy pumpkins, gummy worms, Halloween sprinkles, candy eyes
- Transfer cake to refrigerator and let chill for 2 hours.
- Serve immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.