Noir Candle Cakes

By 12/11/2020July 31st, 20233 Comments

I like to work my Halloween recipes and decorating ideas around themes. It’s hardwired in me from when my boys were young and had themed birthday parties…like Batman, Spiderman and Minecraft. Whatever the theme, I’d rush to Party City to buy up Batman paper plates, cups, tablecloths, gift bags, and balloons. I’d order the batman cake, batman jumper, and the life-size cut-out of Batman for photos. So not surprisingly, I use themes to help focus my Halloween ideas and to develop them into ones that are turnkey and party ready.

And as much fun as the Carn’evil’ theme was last year, this year is going to be even better because all the recipes and decorations will be inspired by my favorite supernatural being…the Vampire!  I love all things vampire…books, movies, and tv shows! I’m so there.  So get ready while I try to create and share dishes that capture the danger, allure, beauty, romance, mystery, death, and mortality of the vampire genre in all its fantastical forms. And what better way to kick off this year of dark and dangerous fang-banging for all of us vampire lovers, than with this mood setting recipe for these gorgeous Noir Candle Cakes. Made with Jet Black cocoa powder for a rich, ultra-decadent chocolate cake and topped with black chocolate buttercream frosting and royal icing drips. Stack them on books or candle sticks for a truly magical Halloween dessert that doubles as a gorgeous candle centerpiece.

Recipe Notes: These cakes are all about preparation and refrigeration time so give your self a few days to make them.  You’ll need two 6 inch cake pans,  4 1/4 inch and  3 inch round cookie cutters, and a large sheet pan to make three candle cakes. To ensure you have enough cake batter for the sheet pan, make sure to only use 1  cup of cake batter for each of the four 6-inch cakes and then add the remaining batter to the sheet pan to make the sheet cake. I suggest baking the 6 inch cakes first and then bake the sheet pan on its own.

Note: Black Cocoa powder will start off dark brown, but it will darken as it sits into a beautiful deep black color.


Noir Candle Cakes

Set the mood with this trio of gorgeous Noir Candle Cakes made with jet black cocoa powder for an ultra-decadent chocolate cake, topped with black buttercream frosting and royal icing drips. Stack them on books or candle sticks for a truly magical Halloween dessert centerpiece. 
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Keyword: cake, chocolate, gothic, Halloween, vampire
Servings: 12


Black Velvet Cake

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened jet black cocoa powder *see recipe note on where to purchase
  • 3/4 cup regular unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water

Black Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

  • 3 cups butter, salted
  • 12 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 1/4 cups unsweetened jet black cocoa powder
  • 3/4-1 cup milk Plus more milk a Tbsp at a time until desired consistency
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla

Candle Drip Royal Icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar (plus more to thicken as needed)
  • 1/3 cup black cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 Tbsp meringue powder
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 3 birthday candles


Black Velvet Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 6 inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper and grease paper.
  • Sift cocoas, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar into bowl. Beat in oil, buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, and hot water, one at a time, using a mixer set at low. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour 1 cup of batter into each 6 inch cake pan. Bake 30-32 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Rotate pans halfway through and remove cakes from the oven.
  • Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks for 20 minutes before inverting to remove. Discard parchment paper. Cool on racks, top side up. Wash, dry and then prepare pans with grease and parchment paper and cook another set of 6 inch cakes. Once cooled, stack with parchment between cakes and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
  • Grease and add parchment paper to a large sheet pan and pour in the remaining batter. Bake at 350 for about 25-28 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in sheet pan completely on wire rack.
  • Once cooled use a knife to run around the edge of the sheet pan. Using the 4 1/4 inch round cookie cutter, cut out 5-6 circles of cake. Repeat with the 3 inch cookie cutter. Remove cake rounds and stack between parchment paper and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

Black Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat butter in a mixing bowl unit light and fluffy. Sift black cocoa powder and powdered sugar and begin to mix. Add milk and beat until smooth. Add additional 1 Tbsp of milk at a time until it reaches desired consistency. Mix in vanilla. Transfer frosting into a 16 inch piping bag with a large tip.
  • Gather cakes, frosting bag, cardboard cake circles and paper straws to assemble the candle cakes.

Assembling the Cakes

  • Squeeze a little frosting onto the bottom of a cake round and place one layer of cake on it. Squeeze ring of frosting on the cake.
  • And place another cake on top of frosting, pressing gently.
  • Repeat until all 4 of the 6 inch cake layers are stacked. Use paper straws to reinforce the layers so they don't lean or slide, avoiding the center of the cake since that is where the candle will go.
  • Cut the straws.
  • Frost the top and sides and smooth out as much as you can. Refrigerate cake to set the buttercream. Repeat frosting with the 4 1/4 inch cakes and 3 inch cakes and refrigerate until buttercream is firm.
  • Frost each cake again applying a thick coat of frosting. Use a flat spatula or a cake smoothing tool to smooth the frosting. Refrigerate again to firm up. Once firm, move cakes to their serving plates or candle holders before adding candle drips. (As you can see from the pictures, I didn't do this and it was very difficult to lift the cakes out of their cake pans with out a few finger prints and nudged frosting....which I had to disguise with a few more added candle drips.)

Candle Drips

  • Prepare Royal Icing by mixing all ingredients together until the icing is smooth. This icing will be a bit thin which is good for the initial drips. Transfer ~1/2 cup of the icing into a squeeze bottle and squeeze drips over the top edges of the cakes, letting it drip down the sides of the cake.
  • Let icing set a little before adding another layer of icing. Add a tablespoon of additional powdered sugar into the remaining bowl of royal icing to thicken up the next layer of drips. Then transfer 1/2 cup into the squeeze bottle and repeat the dripping. Continue with the layering of candle drips, adding more powdered sugar as needed to thicken up the look of the drips. It may be too thick to put in a squeeze bottle at this point so use a spoon to drizzle the drips onto the cakes until you get the desired look of melted candle wax.
  • Using the back of a spoon, swirl a final circle of royal icing into the top center of the cakes to mimic pooled candle wax nudging some of the icing over the edge to create the final layer of candle wax.
  • Place a birthday candle in the center of each cake leaving about 1/2 inch of candle above the cake. Light candle prior to serving. (Use caution and make sure to blow out candles before they burn down below the cake.) Happy Halloween!



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