A Dark, Dark Room: Black Velvet Cake

October 26, 2015


My favorite week is just about to get started! If you don’t know me well, I’m a sucker for Halloween. It may be partly because my birthday is 4 days after the infamous Day of the Dead. Or possibly (and most likely) because my father is a huge Halloween fanatic (phantomatic?), and Halloween typically meant fun costumes, my dad dressing up like a scary evil apeman in hopes of scaring every child in the neighborhood, and of course the exciting trick-or-treat hunt for the house with the biggest candy bar. Now, that I’m an adult, I have to admit Halloween just isn’t as magical! And in New York City, it’s really a whole different kind of ball game.

I still dress up. And YES, my birthday party will be the weekend of Halloween. It is, indeed, a Halloween Birthday bash. I will be making tons of fun things this week for that, so keep track of everything that is going on in my life via Instagram . I’m definitely hallowing the shit out of Halloween this year.

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Kicking off my favorite week wouldn’t feel right without a creepy cake to start. I figured I’d go Southern Gothic and give you guys a cake inspired by a tale, called The Green Ribbon, in one of my favorite childhood books, A Dark, Dark Room. So this is a fairly creepy bedtime read. Here is a link if you want to be read to like a childSeriously, I don’t know how I ever read anything on tape, the awkwardly long pauses while narrators read children’s books are terrible! 

Anyway, if you want the condensed milk version, there’s girl named Jenny who has always worn a green ribbon around her neck. She never takes it off. She marries, and her husband is always like, “Girl, what is up with that ribbon?” and Jenny always tells him “Um this is my look, don’t worry about it!” So finally, Jenny gets old and eventually she brings her husband to her bedside and sweetly says, “Baby, I’m going to tell you the story behind my green ribbon.” He’s so excited because he’s been waiting like 80 years to figure out what the deal is with this ribbon. Jenny doesn’t say one more word. She untiles the ribbon, and as the ribbon falls from her neck, her head falls off too! See told you it’s a pretty morbid bedtime read. ND-BlackCake-Top

So in honor of Jenny, let’s get this spooky cake going. I highly suggest a black velvet cake, with black cream cheese icing, and dark dark chocolate fondant (if you choose to fondant your cake). That way you’ll have a very dark, scary, but still sexy cake. But if you insist on breaking the mold, go ahead!


makes 2, 9 inch cakes or 3, 6 inch cake


Cake Batter

2.5 cups cake flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup dark cocoa powder

1.5 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs at room temperature

1 tbsp black food coloring

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp white vinegar

Black Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

2 c confectioner’s sugar, sifted

2 tbsp whole milk

2 tsp black food coloring



  1. Preheat oven to 350° F, grease 2 pans
  2. Combine flour, salt, and cocoa in a bowl, set aside
  3. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and vegetable oil
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, to the sugar and oil mixture
  5. Add baking soda, vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring to your wet ingredients
  6. Add 1/3 c flour mixture, 1/3 buttermilk, rotate until all dry ingredients are mixed in to your wet ingredients
  7. Spread batter evenly between your two pans
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes
  9. Once cake has baked, cool completely
  10. While cake is cooling, creating your frosting. Cream butter with mixer until your butter is smooth and fluffy.
  11. Carefully beat in your confectioner’s sugar a little at a time.
  12. Beat in vanilla extract
  13. Add milk and beat for an extra 3 minutes. Add food coloring and beat until well combined.
  14. Once cakes are cooled, ice top of cakes with black buttercream frosting and layer your second cake on top.
  15. Cover your layered cake with frosting
  16. Optional: cover cake with fondant or sugar lace. *This was my first time making a cake with sugar lace and a fondant bow. Luckily, this cake is supposed to be spooky so torn up lace and imperfect bows add to that creepiness. But if you’re looking to learn any of these cake decorating tips, I recommend this fondant tutorial, this bow tutorial, and this sugar lace tutorial. YouTube really is the most amazing gem*

And just like that… ok this is not a quick recipe but beauty is hardship… you’ve got a beautiful spooky cake, with a nice morbid story to tell all your friends.

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    […] if you read my last post about Black Velvet Cake you might have caught that I’m having a birthday party the weekend of Halloween. Y’all […]

    October 28, 2015 at 3:59 pm Reply
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  • Kristina

    This cake is so beautiful. I love the lace on top.

    October 30, 2015 at 1:43 pm Reply
    • Samantha Bolton

      Thank you, Kristina!

      November 3, 2015 at 3:42 am Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kristina Cancel Reply