A ghoulishly good dinner requires an equally devilish dessert. Your guests will be stunned when they see this graveyard cake. Complete with bleeding chocolate glaze and espresso shortbread headstones, it's practically a masterpiece!

There are quite a few steps involved, so get started a couple of days before the dinner. To simplify the procedure, consider substituting store-bought cookies for the headstones. For the recipe,


Graveyard Cake

Graveyard Cake


  1. 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  2. 4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
  3. 4 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  7. 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  9. 2 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  10. 4 large eggs
  11. 1 cup buttermilk
  12. 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
  13. Bleeding Chocolate Glaze, recipe below
  14. Espresso Shortbread Headstones, recipe below
  15. 1 tablespoon ground ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Line with parchment paper; butter lining. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Set pan aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Reduce speed to low; alternate between adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Add pumpkin, and beat until completely combined.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  7. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Unmold; peel off parchment. Let cool completely on rack, top side up.
  8. Set cake and rack on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour warm chocolate glaze over cake. Using a small offset spatula, gently smooth glaze over top of cake, letting it drip down sides. Let stand at room temperature, or refrigerate until set. Arrange 6 headstones on top; serve with the remaining.

Makes one 9-by-13-inch cake.

Bleeding Chocolate Glaze

2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

  1. Stir together cream and honey in a small saucepan; bring just to a boil. Remove from heat.
  2. Add chocolate; stir until smooth.

Makes 2 cups.

Espresso Shortbread Headstones

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely ground espresso
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, (sifted, then measured)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and espresso in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture. Transfer dough to plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk; wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Using a paring knife, cut dough into 12 headstones shapes. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  6. Bake cookies until set but not browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
  7. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Let stand until cool but not stiff.
  8. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain round tip, such as an Ateco #2, or to a parchment-paper cone. Pipe desired design on cookies.

Makes 1 dozen.

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