Chocolate Orange Halloween Cake (100% whole grain)

This chocolate orange Halloween cake is 100% whole grain and sure to be a crowd pleaser!

This Halloween cake is made a little healthier with whole grains! |

I originally posted this chocolate orange Halloween cake shortly after I started blogging two years ago. So why am I reposting it? Because after two years – only a handful of people have actually seen it!

Got time to waste? Here’s your cake! :D I wish I could say that I put this together in a jiffy but that’d be a gigantic lie. I recommend starting it at least eight hours before serving. There’s cooling and chilling time involved so it’s not all active time.

This Halloween cake is made a little healthier with whole grains! |

Have you ever seen Bakingdom’s Halloween Chocolate Orange Layer Cake? It’s amazing and I did my best to recreate it. You can tell that I’m not an expert cake decorator. But I brought it to a party and people freaked out. That was all worth it! :)

This Chocolate Orange Halloween Cake is 100% whole grain!

So. This is half orange cake and half chocolate cake. It has chocolate cream cheese filling, orange buttercream, and chocolate ganache. So, yeah. That means there are five different parts to the recipe. But if you want, you could just whip up your favorite frosting and top and fill the cake with that. It just wouldn’t be as pretty!

Chocolate Orange Halloween Cake (100% whole grain) |

Nobody will be able to tell that this is whole grain. Or made with olive oil. I know because I made the same chocolate orange cake last year, but using white flour and butter. It tastes the same. :)

I know that this was very bad of me, but I used some orange dye in the cake and the frosting. I’ve looked at some alternative “natural” dyes but they’re insanely expensive and the reviews are pretty bad. So I just used Wilton food gel that I got at Michael’s. You can certainly just leave it out.

100% whole grain chocolate orange Halloween cake |

Whatever you do, don’t put the pumpkins on until just before serving! Or if you want to put them on a few hours before serving, that’d be okay. I put my little pumpkins on in the evening, and in the morning, they had fallen all over the place. And they were oozing. It wasn’t pretty.

This chocolate orange Halloween cake is made just a little healthier! |

And here’s the fondant pumpkin tutorial. Honestly, if I can do it, you can too! Even Mr. T was able to make those little pumpkins. If you have kids, I bet these fondant pumpkins would be really fun to make together. :)

So good luck with the cake! And remember… start it well before you want to serve it!

Chocolate Orange Halloween Cake

Rated 5.0 by 2 readers
Chocolate Orange Halloween Cake (100% whole grain)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 16 slices


    Chocolate cake:

  • 2/3 cup (135 grams) unrefined sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (115 grams) whole spelt, whole wheat pastry, or whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (42 grams) cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) boiling water
  • Orange cake:

  • 92 grams (that’s 6.8 tablespoons or .42 cup) olive oil
  • 125 grams unrefined or granulated sugar (1/2 cup + 2.5 tablespoons)
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 125 grams (1 1/4 cup) whole spelt, whole wheat pastry, or whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 43ml (a tiny bit less than 3 tablespoons) orange juice
  • orange food coloring, if desired
  • Chocolate cream cheese filling:

  • 1 8-ounce package (225 grams) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) butter, room temperature
  • 2 – 3 cups (260 – 390 grams) powdered sugar, sifted (I prefer 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (55 grams) cocoa powder
  • Orange buttercream:

  • 6 tablespoon (85 grams) butter, room temperature
  • 5 – 6 cups (650 – 780 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons milk, as needed
  • orange food coloring, if desired
  • Chocolate ganache:

  • 4.5 ounces (125 grams) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) cream


    For the chocolate cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Grease two 6-inch pans. You could use 8-inch pans, but the layers will be thinner and you need to reduce the baking time.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed with a hand mixer. Then stir in the boiling water. Batter will be very thin, almost as watery as water.
  3. Pour evenly into the prepared pans. I use a scale to make sure that they’re even. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. This cake is super super moist. Don’t overbake! Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a wire rack. Clean the pans so you can start with the orange cake.
  4. Source: adapted from the best chocolate cake recipe ever, One Bowl Chocolate Cake
  5. For the orange cake:

  6. Preheat the oven to 340°F / 170°C. Grease two 6-inch pans.
  7. Combine the olive oil and sugar. Add the eggs and orange zest. Beat well. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and then slowly mix in the orange juice. If you want the layers to be orange, you’ll have to use a little food coloring. It doesn’t take much (definitely waaay less than red velvet cake), at least when using icing gel.
  8. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan.
  9. Source: adapted from Sicilian Orange Cake
  10. For the chocolate cream cheese filling:

  11. Beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy.
  12. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
  13. Add the cocoa powder. Beat until fluffy! And try not to eat it all. You’ll need some for the cake.
  14. Germans: I used a 300 gram package and drained it a bit. It turned out to be around 225 grams. It’s just too runny if you don’t drain it at all.
  15. Source: My favorite chocolate cream cheese frosting from Cupcake Project
  16. For the orange buttercream:

  17. Cream together the butter and 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Stir in the orange zest and then the juice, and mix thoroughly. Beat in another 2 cups of powdered sugar and then the vanilla. Add the remaining sugar and beat very well. It should be fluffy. If you need a little milk, add it. If you want it orange, use a little food coloring.
  18. There was quite a bit leftover, but I’m worried that 2/3 of the recipe might not be enough.
  19. Source: Bakingdom
  20. For the chocolate ganache:

  21. Place the chocolate in heatproof bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until melted.
  22. To assemble the cake:

  23. Once your layers are completely cool, cut each layer horizontally in half so you have a total of eight layers. I used a cake leveler, but use whatever way you’re used to. You can start with either orange or chocolate on the bottom. I used about 2 tablespoons of filling on each layer, but I ended up with quite a bit leftover. I’d suggest using about 3 tablespoons of filling per layer.
  24. Apply a crumb coat using the orange icing. It can be messy. Look at mine. Notice all the crumbs and how crooked my cake is. I’m just not good at this decorating thing.
  25. I let mine sit in the fridge for a few hours until it was hard. And I mean hard.
  26. Add more orange icing. Make it pretty this time and then let it sit in the fridge again for another hour or so, or until it’s hard or almost hard.
  27. Pour on the chocolate ganache. I just poured all the chocolate in the middle of the cake and hoped it would run down nicely.
  28. Shortly before serving, put on the fondant pumpkins. Here's the fondant pumpkin tutorial.

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79 comments on “Chocolate Orange Halloween Cake (100% whole grain)” — Add one!

  • Rachel Cooks says
    October 21, 2013 @ 2:30 am

    Amazing cake, girl!

  • Anna (Hidden Ponies) says
    October 19, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

    Love your honesty about this not being a quick recipe – but it looks totally worth it for the admiration :) Gorgeous!! Those little pumpkins…*squeee*!

    • Erin replies to Anna (Hidden Ponies)
      October 21, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

      Hehe. Thanks! And yeah, it’d be kind of hard to lie about the slowness of this recipe. :D

  • Becca - Cookie Jar Treats says
    October 19, 2013 @ 2:19 am

    I remember reading about this post! I m so jealous of your artistic skills. This cake really does look amazing! :)

  • Amy @ Sing For Your Supper says
    October 18, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

    Erin!!!! Wow, this seriously looks amazing! You’ve inspired me! :)

  • Kathryn says
    October 17, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

    This cake is awesome! I love those cute pumpkins on top too.

  • Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
    October 17, 2013 @ 8:22 pm

    What a gorgeous cake! Love the little fondant pumpkins!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
    October 17, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

    This cake is so cute and perfect for Halloween. I love the pumpkin toppers!

  • Shawnda says
    October 17, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

    Seriously, what an awesome cake!

    • Erin replies to Shawnda
      October 21, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

      Thanks, Shawnda! And I kind of freaked out when I saw you left a comment over here. :D

  • Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says
    October 17, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

    What a cake! Love the pumpkins on top too.

  • Antonia @ Health Inspirations says
    October 17, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

    I’m glad you re-posted this because this cake is a masterpiece. It looks like a piece of art! This is exactly the kind of cake I’d be serving at a Halloween party :)

  • Katrina @ WVS says
    October 17, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

    Gah!! This cake is absolutely gorgeous! Love the cute little pumpkins on top :)

  • HackneymanUK says
    October 30, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    OK, I am a stay at home dad in the UK and needed something to bake for Halloween – I love the look of this and am off to the supermarket to get the ingredients – I have great faith in this recipe, not least becuase it is a rare and thoughtful person that actually converts cups into grams – I always mess up with cups on account of the large variety of cup sizes in our kitchen.
    I'll let you know how I get on – may not reach the fondant pumkins though, I warn you now

    • Erin replies to HackneymanUK
      October 30, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

      Hi there! I hope the cake turned out to your liking. I have to admit that it's quite a bit of work but I think it's worth it. People rave every time I make it. :) Thanks for letting me know you appreciate the grams – very few people have mentioned that so it makes me happy to learn that someone is using them! Even without the pumpkins, I'm sure people were / will be very impressed. :)

  • cathy @ Noble Pig says
    September 30, 2012 @ 6:31 am

    Gorgeous! I am going to link to this in my upcoming Halloween Recipes post.

    • Erin replies to cathy @ Noble Pig
      September 30, 2012 @ 11:19 am

      Thanks! And thanks for linking to it. Going to go check out what else you have!

  • Erin says
    July 26, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

    Laura – Thank you. And I think your English is good from the two comments. :) And much much better than my Italian!

  • lauramontagni says
    July 25, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

    haha! well! when you wont came in Italy just tell!!! very good in two weeks, my compliments, my english is very "rustic", but for sure we'll understand each other! you know how italians say: if not with word… gesticulates! hahaha

  • Erin says
    July 24, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

    lauramontagni – Prego! Io studio italiana, ma solo due settimane e parlo solo un po' d'italiano. Thanks for the comment. :)

  • lauramontagni says
    July 24, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

    thank you to specificate the grams and centigrads!!! here in Ilaty is very hard to convert the measure. I found the measured cups and teaspoon..but it makes the difference! grazie!

  • Erin says
    January 31, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

    Lise – I'm delighted to hear that you and your husband enjoyed the cake! It's the same with us – mine really dislikes whole grain baked goods but he doesn't really even notice that this cake is whole grain.

    To be honest, I prefer the chocolate cake alone. The orange cake is good, but it's not as good as the chocolate cake. Nothing beats chocolate cake in my opinion. Thanks so much for the feedback! I can't tell you how happy it makes me to get such comments. :)

  • Lise says
    January 31, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    Erin, thanks for a fabulous cake recipe! My husband, who is not a bug whole-grain fan, raved about this cake, before I told him it was made with 100% whole wheat and olive oil! He said he would be delighted if this was his annual birthday cake :). I just made the chocolate cake (doubled the recipe for two 9" layers), with a cherry jam filling and cream cheese frosting. So moist and tender! I'll have to try the chocolate/orange combo next time.

  • Erin says
    November 17, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    Gretchen – Thanks! I love tall cakes too. It's actually not such a huge cake, but it looks like it because it's so tall.

    Bear – Thank you! I hope your family enjoys it. I like the contrast too. :)

  • Bear Giant says
    November 15, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

    Lovely cake. I really love layered cakes. It gives me joy having different flavors on the cake. Thanks a lot for the recipe. I am pretty sure my family will love the combination of chocolate and orange.

  • gretchen says
    November 8, 2011 @ 2:11 am

    so pretty… i love a ridiculously tall cake. and your pumpkins are perfect!

  • Erin says
    November 1, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

    Sorry for the slow response – I haven't had internet access for the last several days.

    Diane and Soma – Thanks! :)

    Lisa – Aww, thanks. That's really nice of you to say! I can't tell you how happy that makes me. This orange cake is really good in combination with the orange frosting and chocolate cake, but if you want to make a plain orange cake, I suggest using the original recipe (the link's at the bottom of the orange cake section). It has butter and all-purpose flour and is just perect. And very orange-y! I'd double or triple the amount of orange zest, though. Thanks again for the very kind comment and good luck with whatever version you make!

    Anon – I'm so happy that you enjoyed it! My colleagues couldn't tell that it was whole grain either. :) Thanks for the super nice feedback. You've made my day!

  • Anonymous says
    October 30, 2011 @ 10:46 am

    Oh my God, this is cake from heaven! I swear I have never tasted anything so good! Incredibly moist and an incredible flavour combination. It was the most exquisite orange and chocolate icing I have ever had. ! I am amazed that you can get a 100% wholegrain-cake to taste so spectacular. I would never have known that it was the "healthy" version, it tasted so sinfully good.

  • Lisa in Houston says
    October 28, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

    I cannot believe you say you aren't good at cake decorating! I clicked on this from Tastespotting because it has got to be one of the cutest cakes ever- I only hope I can recreate it! Also, I'm excited to try your orange cake– I tried desperately to create a "dreamsicle" cake (but all natural, no jello or whatever people put in it usually) earlier this year to no avail- the cake ended up dry and bitter and my homemade orange marmalade was pretty much the grossest thing ever. Thanks for the wonderful post! Excited to see how to make those adorable pumpkins…

  • Soma says
    October 28, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

    This is splendid!! orange and choc. is a combo made in heaven. Looks very beautiful.

  • Diane {Created by Diane} says
    October 27, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    What a BEAUTIFUL cake!!!

  • Erin says
    October 27, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

    Awesome, thanks! I'm happy you approve. :)

  • cookies and cups says
    October 27, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

    LOVE this! just pinned :)

  • Erin says
    October 27, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    Russell – Thanks! :)

    Mighty Morgan – Aww, thanks! You really can't taste the whole grain and olive oil. It really tastes like "normal" cake!

    rebecaelisa – Thanks! I was thinking about this Texan thing today. Are we just special or do you think other people say, "Oh cool, another blogger from Pennsylvania!"? I think perhaps we're just special (in a good way, though). :) I HATE icing cakes. Baking the cake – fun. Making the icing – fun. Putting the icing on the cake – nightmare.

  • rebecaelisa says
    October 27, 2011 @ 6:35 am

    This looks beautiful, I am so happy to find another Texan Blogger!

    PS. I feel your pain on icing cakes, I struggle with them so much.

    Keep baking and blogging!

  • Mighty Morgan says
    October 27, 2011 @ 2:53 am

    This cake looks fabulous!!!! I like that you used whole grain AND olive oil..I think you did a great job!!!

  • Russell at Chasing Delicious says
    October 27, 2011 @ 12:53 am

    This cake is sooo cute!

  • Erin says
    October 26, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

    Carolyn – Me too! Unless if were a bag full of Reese's products, which don't exist in Germany. I would happily trade this entire cake for a bag full of peanut buttery goodness! And the cake isn't really as big as you might think. It's the same amount of batter that'd be in a two layer 9-inch cake. :)

    betsy – Thanks!

    Laura – Thanks, that's really kind! But really, everyone else seems to be so much better at it than I am. But it's okay because I think I have super tasty recipes. :)

  • Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) says
    October 26, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    Not good at cake decorating?! I beg to differ. This is beautiful. So festive and fun!

    Love it :)

  • betsy says
    October 26, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Carolyn Jung says
    October 26, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

    Eight layers?!?!? OMG! I'd rather have a big ol' slice of this over a bag full of candy any Halloween! ;)

  • Erin says
    October 26, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

    Thanks Alicia! What a nice comment. I love the matching is for sissies thing! Your mother is very wise. :)

  • Alicia says
    October 26, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    As a fellow Texan, I love reading your blog! Your cake looks beautiful.. I made this cake, too, but didn't do NEARLY as many layers. And the orange-matching: as my mother always told me growing up, "Matching is for sissies." :) The fondant pumpkins look so pro! Keep baking and blogging!

  • Erin says
    October 26, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    Healthy Aperture, Cookie and Kate, Jesica – Thanks! I'm happy you all like it. :)

    Epicurean Mom – Thanks! I tried. But I was just having an awful two days with the camera. It was frustrating. Your pumpkins are very pretty! And you're very good at the piping thing. :)

    Anna – Because I'm awful in comparison to everyone else and I even took all the Wilton cake decorating classes. You know how there's sometimes that one person in class (whatever kind of class) who is just so bad, she sticks out? That was me. Thanks for your kind words. :)

  • Anna says
    October 26, 2011 @ 8:03 am

    How come you say you are not good in decorating? I find your cake really pretty! Even the one with the crumb coat was really well coated. Love the play of colors! Keep posting!

  • {Epicurean Mom} says
    October 26, 2011 @ 5:44 am

    What a great replica!!! Very impressive! Your photos are great!!

    Your pumpkins are pretty similar to the ones I made last year

    Also, I'm glad we both agree about the raw eggs…yuck!! ;-)

  • Jesica @ pencil Kitchen says
    October 26, 2011 @ 5:03 am

    Very very brilliant colours! :)

  • Cookie and Kate says
    October 26, 2011 @ 4:22 am

    My, that is a beautiful cake! Love the dripping chocolate.

  • Editorial Team | Healthy Aperture says
    October 26, 2011 @ 1:47 am

    Brilliant. And beautiful.

  • Erin says
    October 25, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    Sneige – Thanks! I made it last weekend and shared a huge chunk of it, which was then shared with some of our colleagues. Everyone was very pleased. :) It'd be super neat to know my neighbors, but I don't. Good idea, though. :)

  • Sneige says
    October 25, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    The cake is beautiful! And chocolate and orange is a classic favourite! They go so well together!
    As for eating you could probably share with friends or neighbours? :)

  • Erin says
    October 25, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

    warmvanillasugar – Thanks! I struggled with the pictures, but it actually looked pretty neat in real life. I hope it impresses your friends! :)

    Miryam – That's the sad thing. I didn't make it for anyone or anything special. I only made it to see if I could make it whole grain this time and have it taste the same. I was having trouble taking pictures, and so the colors look a little bright in the first picture. The real color (with a little bit of icing gel) is more like the second to last picture. You don't need much, but it definitely helps, especially since the whole wheat flour makes the batter a little tanner than white refined flour would. You could always make a smaller version! I have to admit that there's a ton of sugar in the frosting. We just didn't eat so much of that part (although it's delicious!).

  • says
    October 25, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

    Oh wow….this looks amazing….who is going to eat all of it? I really like the effect of the ganache going down the cake, very pretty. Also, the orange cake has a really deep orange color, did that just come from the orange juice and zest? I love this cake, my kids would go nuts for it….

  • warmvanillasugar says
    October 25, 2011 @ 3:22 am

    This cake is absolutely beautiful! Can't wait to have a group over and show this off! Thanks!


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