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Sign From Above Cake (Halloween Cake)

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Sign From Above Cake (Halloween Cake)! Ok guys. Where do I begin. Every now and then I’ll make something and look at it and think, ok, I love it but I’m not sure anyone else is gonna love it. Boy was I wrong. I thought this cake was too simple, but it is by far my most highly liked and viewed cake on social media. You guys go berserk every time I post it . And I’ve thought about it. I think the simplicity is what you guys like right? Cos other than that, I can’t figure it out lol.

Sign From Above Skull Cake

Anyway, it’s worth noting that this cake was inspired by Lady Gaga’s character in American Horror Story: Hotel. The countess was one of my all-time fave characters on that show and fave character she’s ever played. If you’ve watched her in the show, you’ll see the link between the design of this cake and her look on the show.

Nicks favorite thing…

I mean, isn’t it obvious. My favorite thing is what everyone else’s favorite thing is! The skulls and the perfect blood drips coming out the eyes! From a photographic point of view they look perfect. Back when I made over the top cakes and desserts, that was basically my entire job. Making sure they looked perfect before I photographed but with drips it can be so hit and miss. Not with this cake. Got it in one. Yeah, I’ve got tickets on myself.

What does it taste like?

I adore red velvet cake recipe. In fact it’s my favorite cake and cupcake flavor. Coupled with cream cheese frosting which is perfectly creamy and tangy, it’s so yum! The skulls on top are made of white chocolate. The drips of red coloured glucose syrup for the perfect drip consistency.

Close up of toppings on top of Sign From Above Skull Cake

What are the ingredients I need?

All-purpose flour – also known as plain flour.

Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar.

Cocoa powder – I used unsweetened cocoa powder. Make sure you use a good wuality cocoa powder.

Baking powder – Helps the cake rise.

Bicarb soda – also known as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda. Helps the cake rise and reacts with the acid in the cocoa powder.

Salt – I used fine salt.

Eggs – I used large eggs at room temperature.

Vegetable Oil – helps make the cake moist. You can use sunflower oil in it’s place.

Buttermilk – This helps give the cake a nice moist texture.

Vanilla Extract Always use good quality vanilla extract when baking, it makes a huge difference. I have a great recipe here for it if you’d like to try your own!

Liquid Red food dye – yeah, there’s a fair bit in this recipe. And no, you can’t sub it with another ingredient if you want to get the same result as I did in this recipe.

Cream Cheese Frosting – so light, creamy, tangy and perfectly pipeable! grab the recipe here!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Super smooth and totally delicious. Perfect for shiny, sharp cake edges! Grab the recipe here!

White chocolate – melt in the microwave or over a double boiler but melt gently and not quickly because white chocolate burns quickly.

Corn syrup – also known as glucose syrup.

My Top Tips!

  • Make sure you melt the chocolate gently and not quickly as white chocolate can burn.
  • I would recommend making the skulls at least one day in advance to allow them time to set before using.
  • Make sure you add a support system in the cake when you crumb coat it, as shown in the video, to make sure the skulls don’t collapse on the cake.
  • Make sure you add the skulls right before you’re serving.

Other Recipes You Might Like!

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I hope you guys enjoyed this simple but delicious recipe with me. Please comment in the comments section below, or feel free to share with your family and friends on social media.

I’ll see you all on the following recipe. Happy baking!

N x

Pinterest Image For Sign From Above Skull Cake

Close up of toppings on top of Sign From Above Skull Cake

Sign From Above Cake

A perfectly spooky red velvet cake, covered in American buttercream frosting and topped with a mountain of white chocolate skulls with blood dripping out of the eyes.

Serves 30

4.8 from 4 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 325kcal



  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp liquid red food dye

Crumb Coat Frosting

Outer Frosting


  • 5 cups white chocolate, melted

Blood Drips

  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp liquid red food dye

Learn How To Make it! [VIDEO]



  • Please note: To make the 4 layered cake you see pictured; you’ll need to double the cake recipe only. All other measurements are enough to fill, crumb coat and finish decorating the cake.
    Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C / 280°F or 160°C / 320°F for a conventional oven. Spray four 8” cake tins with oil spray and line the bottom with baking paper. Set aside
  • Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix on low speed using a hand mixer to help everything combine.
  • Next, add the eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and red food dye to the dry ingredients and continue mixing on low speed until everything is well combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix for a final 20 seconds on low speed.
  • Fill four 8” cake tins with batter. I find using an ice cream scoop to help me do this makes it easy to distribute the batter evenly so that everything bakes at the same time.
  • Bake for 50-60 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If the pick comes out with wet batter, bake for a further 10 min at a time until fully baked. Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature inside the cake tins and then chill them in the fridge overnight. Chilling your cakes overnight makes them easier to trim and decorate. So I bake my cakes the day before I decorate them.
  • To crumb coat your cake, add a dab of cream cheese frosting onto an 8”cake board or flat serving plate. Use a small offset spatula to spread the frosting around before adding the first cake layer. Gently press down the center of the cake layer to make sure it’s stuck to the frosting underneath.
  • Please note, my cream cheese frosting is much stiffer than most cream cheese frosting. You can pipe my frosting compared to most cream cheese frosting that can only be spread onto cupcakes. But, my frosting will still melt and soften in warm environments. To prevent your frosting from softening too much which can cause your cake to collapse, make sure you keep the frosting and cake chilled in the fridge.
  • Add frosting to a piping bag and frost a ring around the top of the cake. Fill the center with more frosting. Use your small offset spatula to smoothen out the frosting before you add the next layer of cake. Repeat with the remaining layers.
  • Add more frosting around the top and sides of the cake. Use the small spatula to smoothen out the top and sides of the cake, taking care to fill in any gaps in between each layer of cake.
  • Use a cake scraper (otherwise known as a bench scraper) to smoothen out the frosting on the sides and top. Get it as neat as you can. This should just be a neat, thin layer of frosting which is aimed at trapping any cake crumbs so that random bits of cake crumbs don’t show up on the final layer of frosting.
  • Insert 3 bubble straws or thick skewers into the cake. Cut off the tops so they're flush with the top fo the cake. Place a 6-inch cake board on top of the cake. This will act as a support structure so the cake does not collapse under the weight of the chocolate skulls. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  • To crumb coat the cake, add Swiss meringue buttercream frosting around the side of the cake starting at the bottom, making your way to the top. Add frosting on top. Smoothen out using an offset spatula. It doesn’t have to be perfect; we’re coming back to it.
  • Use a cake scraper to go around the cake until it’s smooth. Then use the cake scraper to smoothen out the top.
  • Place the skulls on top of the cake. Finish off by piping the blood into the eyes of the skulls and allow it to drip off the sides of the cake.


This can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.
Skull mold.
I get loads of questions about where the skull molds come from. I bought them on amazon years and years ago. I don't think the same exact ones exist anymore. They're actually not meant to be chocolate molds. They're ice cube molds. If you google skull ice cube molds, you should be able to find them.


Calories : 325kcal
Carbonhydrates: 37g
Protein: 4g
Fat: 16g
Saturated Fat: 11g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 4g
Trans Fat : 1g
Cholesterol: 24mg
Sodium: 158mg
Potassium : 140mg
Fiber: 1g
Sugar : 28g
Vitamin A: 53IU
Vitamin C: 1mg
Calcium: 96mg
Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclosure
Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!


Andrea Nunley February 24, 2022 - 2:36 am


Why do you do the outer coating with swiss meringue buttercream and not cream cheese? Is that the best for all cakes? I do feel like SMBC is the best for frosting but I was hoping your cream cheese frosting was way more stable than the usual recipe.


Nick Makrides August 2, 2022 - 10:41 am

Hi Andrea! Purely a visual decision. SMBC is much whiter. Cream cheese would also work, but SMBC also comes out much smoother when frosted on a cake like this one. Hope that answers it! N x

Paula September 12, 2022 - 7:59 am

Hello, I’m a bit confused. When you say trim four cakes in half, how I’m going to end up with 6 layers of cake? I’m sure I missed something. I’m new to this and I’d love to try this for my daughter’s birthday. Thanks!

Nick Makrides September 13, 2022 - 11:17 am

Hi Paule! Sorry about the confusion, I’ve gone in and fixed the recipe. Theres no trimming needed for this recipe. 🙂 N x

Christy October 18, 2022 - 1:49 am

It still says six layers in the recipe??? Did you mean to write 4?

Nick Makrides October 25, 2022 - 6:34 am

Hi Christy! Yes! Sorry about that! Have gone in and edited the recipe, thanks for letting me know! N x

Ross October 4, 2022 - 2:43 pm

Weird question if I pipe the ‘blood’ on Monday evening for instance, will it still be visible the following day? Just wondering if it will stick to the skills etc or it will just run out completely …..

Nick Makrides October 11, 2022 - 6:17 am

Hi Ross! I would recommend piping the blood on no longer than an hour before serving for best results! N x

Ellie October 20, 2022 - 3:54 pm

Can I use red food gel coloring for the blood mixed with the corn syrup?

Nick Makrides October 24, 2022 - 2:17 am

Hmm, you could try it, but unfortunately I’m not sure if it’ll work because I’ve never tried it. Let me know how you go! N x

Deborah Biga October 27, 2022 - 2:34 am

I saw this cake a few days ago and I got obsessed with the idea of making it. I got my skull molds today. I’m very excited, thanks for the idea!

Nick Makrides October 31, 2022 - 6:39 am

Yay! Hope you love it! N x


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