A Halloween Dessert That Will Make You Look Twice

Halloween is a fun time of year when trick-or-treating the ones you love is all part of the game. Scary decorations, jack-o-lantern carving and freaky, creepy food make the holiday super fun. This Creepy-Crawly Cake from Martha Stewart (2011) is sure to surprise and delight the Halloween lovers in your house this season. It might even make them think twice about eating it, despite its rich, chocolaty goodness!

Prep: 40 Minutes  Total Time: 2 Hours  Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake/Serves 8


  • For The Cake
    • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
    • 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • Salt
    • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 1/3 cups sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
    • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • For The Ganache
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 cups chocolate malt balls, coarsely chopped
    • Rubber cockroaches, for garnish (fakebugs.com)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Coat two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment, and coat with spray. Dust with all-purpose flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flours, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in melted chocolate. Divide batter between pans, and smooth tops using an offset spatula.
  3. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans set on wire racks for 30 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, remove parchment, and let cool completely.
  4. Make the ganache: Bring cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high
    heat. Pour over chopped chocolates and butter in a bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Let stand until thickened, about 40 minutes. Transfer 1 3/4 cups ganache to a bowl, and fold in malt balls; reserve remaining ganache.
  5. Transfer 1 cake to a serving platter (top side up). Spread ganache-malt ball filling on top, and top with remaining cake (top side up). Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Cut a large wedge from cake to serve on another plate. Pour remaining ganache (reheat if necessary) over cake and wedge, and let drip down sides and into cut center of cake. Garnish cake and platter with rubber cockroaches.

Cook’s Note

Decorated cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, but the ganache will not be as shiny. Bring to room temperature before serving.