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photo of a n ombre orange cake covered in candy melt bats with a piece being removed.

Halloween Bat Cake

A festive but elegant Halloween cake! Rich, moist pumpkin spice cake filled with spiced buttercream and covered in an orange ombré of creamy Italian meringue buttercream dotted with candy bats!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 320kcal


For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 250g
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar 320g
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 60mL
  • 1/4 cup sour cream 60mL
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil 120mL
  • 1 can pumpkin purée 15oz
  • 2 tsp baking powder 8g
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 6g
  • 1 tsp baking soda 6g
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon 5g
  • 1/2 tsp ginger 1g
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg .5g
  • 1/2 tsp allspice .5g
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 5mL

For the Pumpkin Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter unsalted 226g
  • ¼ cup pureed pumpkin 60mL
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar 450g
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 10mL
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 5g
  • 1 tsp instant espresso
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg .25g
  • ¼ tsp allspice .25g
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger .25

For the Italian Meringue Buttercream

  • 4 egg whites large
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar 290g
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 16 ounces butter 450g unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 5mL
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar 1g
  • 1/3 cup water 80mL
  • Orange and brown gel food coloring
  • For the Bats:
  • 1 cup black candy melts melted 240mL


For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Butter and flour 3 six inch cake pans. (I always wrap mine in cake strips)
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, oils, sour cream, vanilla and pumpkin.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, salt and spices; add to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Spread into prepared pans. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until centers are springy to the touch and the edge is pulling away from the pan.

For the Italian Meringue Buttercream

  • Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar. Slowly add in 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.
  • In a medium saucepan add 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water and place on medium-high heat. Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.
  • Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 240F.
  • Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately. Run mixer until meringue is cool/tepid.
  • Switch to a paddle attachment. Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time. Add vanilla.
  • Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.
  • Separate into bowls. Dye a gradient of color using orange and brown food coloring.

For the Pumpkin Buttercream

  • Beat the butter, salt, and pumpkin together in the bowl or your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Sift in the sugar, spices, and instant espresso and beat until smooth and creamy. Add more sugar if needed to thicken consistency.

For the Bats

  • Print out 3 pages of bat outline. Arrange them side by side. Add a sheet of parchment paper
  • Melt the candy melts and transfer to a piping bag. Snip off the tip.
  • Pipe the outline of each bat. Set aside to dry.

For the Assembly

  • Pipe pumpkin buttercream between each layer. Cover completely, smooth with a bench scraper and off set spatula. Transfer to the fridge to chill.
  • Give each batch of the Italian meringue buttercream a quick whip. Transfer each color into piping bags and snip off the tips.
  • Starting with the darkest orange, pipe each color of Italian meringue in a gradient. Smooth with tools and transfer to the fridge again.
  • Carefully separate bats from the parchment paper. They can be very fragile!
  • Attach bats by gently pressing onto the buttercream.



  • If you can't find candy melts at your local market then you can TOTALLY use chocolate for the bats. Just try and temper it so the bats are shiny and don't melt right away.
  • If you’re not using 6-inch pans, double the recipe for 8-inch pans or triple the recipe for 9-inch pans.
  • You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
  • To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set online or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a whole blog post on it so check it out if you’re interested!
  • If you don't want to make Italian buttercream you can use the American variety. I just prefer the smoothness and taste of the Italian variety. I know it's a pain to make two different types of frosting though!
  • MIX that meringue buttercream RIGHT before use, it looses consistency quickly!!!


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.2mg