How to make a skull cake

GTU Recipes

(Good Things Utah) – Make no bones about it, this Skull Cake is perfect for this or any spooky season.


  • 1 Cake recipe
  • 1 Vanilla buttercream recipe
  • Suggestions for decorations
  • Black ready to use frosting
  • Assorted colors ready to use frosting
  • Starburst
  • M&M’s
  • Airheads
  • Sixlets
  • Tootsie Rolls

Ingredients for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare 9” x 13” baking pan by lining with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt. In separate bowl whisk mayonnaise, water, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture. Whisk again until incorporated. You may still have a few small lumps. That will be okay.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean,

Invert onto parchment paper and cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Ingredients for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 8 oz (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp heavy cream


In a bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, mix butter until smooth on medium speed. Add vanilla, and 2 cups powdered sugar. Mix until smooth, scraping down sides often. Add more powdered sugar 1 cup at a time mixing until smooth after each addition. If too dry add cream or milk 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix at medium-high speed 4-5 minutes.


Prepare cake according to instructions. When the cake is completely cool, cut the cake into the shape of a skull using a template or freehand.

Create a crumb coat by smearing a thin layer of icing over the skull. Try to make it as smooth as possible. You will be able to see the cake and lots of crumbs. Place cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes so it will set up.

Remove and add another layer of buttercream, making sure to cover any visible cake. Flatten the buttercream by running hot water over an offset spatula.

If using starburst or tootsie rolls hold in hand until it becomes soft. You can roll out or shape with your hands. I like to roll out and use small cookie cutters for shapes.

Decorate to look like your favorite skull. Use a small amount of buttercream like glue to attach candies.

Find more Halloween inspiration by visiting a Harmons near you!

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