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This cake! Oh my gosh!! Where do I begin?

Forbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvest

Well, for one, I think it’s no secret around here that I am both Harry Potter and Halloween obsessed, so you guys had to have an idea that Halloween inspired treats were coming. Every October I have way too much fun baking up spooky Halloween goodies. I’ve never really gotten into making spooky dinner type food because, to be completely honest, eyeballs in my pasta just weirds me out too much. SO I’ll just stick to making creepy cheese boards,  desserts and fun drinks!

This forbidden forest chocolate butterbeer cake is just the beginning of the Halloween treats to come, but I have to say, it will probably be my favorite for the month.

I mean, just look at this cake! I get excited just thinking about its butterbeer insides and all of its chocolately goodness… it. is. the. BEST!

Forbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvestForbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvestForbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvestForbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvest

I know some of you might be thinking that after spending three days at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this last week that I came right home and made this cake. Nope, I’ve actually been dreaming about this cake since August. Yes, like for real. I think about holidays way too far in advance, but I mean, I love it, so whatever.

Anyway, I’ve been planning this cake for the longest time and when I finally made it the other week, I was pretty ecstatic with how it turned out. Sometimes I can have these grand pictures of how recipes should look in my head and then they just kind of fall flat. But this cake actually turned out better than the picture in my head and it tastes far better than it looks. <–truth.

OKok. Since I feel like there’s a ton to go over with this cake, let’s just dive right into the details. Chocolate lovers unite, cause this is totally your kind of cake…

Forbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvestForbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvest

Sooo, everything starts out with my favorite chocolate cake recipe. I did a three layer cake because I figured, it’s Halloween and I mean, why the heck not?! Next we move onto the frosting. This frosting is everything, it’s chocolate butterbeer and it is addicting. Think whipped chocolate buttercream with the addition of rich butterbeer sauce…aka butterscotch sauce. It’s simple, perfect and well, I could totally just eat it with a spoon and be happy. YUM.

Ok, but it doesn’t end there. After you layer the cakes with frosting, you then add a generous drizzle of butterbeer sauce. Once the cake is all frosted and looking good, then comes the super fun part… you ready?

A marshmallow spider wed. Um, yes. I first learned of this idea here, and the second I saw it, I knew it had to be part of my butterbeer cake. Then I could call my cake the Forbidden Forest Cake and add black spiders.

Done and DONE.

If you guys know anything about Harry Potter than you know that the Forbidden Forest is full of black spiders, so it makes sense if you’re a Harry Potter freak like me. If you’re not, just think of this cake as a cute Halloween Spider Web Cake. Either way, the cake is going to be fun, cute and just plain awesome.

Ahh, but wait, there’s still more, I know, I know! So once you add the marshmallow spider web, you need to make the chocolate pretzels spiders and the weeping willow chocolate trees. Both are cute and kind of DELISH. I mean, chocolate + peanut butter + pretzels? Yup, I’m totally down with that!

Forbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvestForbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvest

Now, I know this cake sounds like a lot of work, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it can be made in thirty minutes, because it can’t, BUT what I will say is that this cake is a really fun one to make, and while it has a few components to it, none of them are hard or extremely time-consuming. AND the best part about this cake is that it’s meant to be a Halloween Cake. Meaning perfection is not what we are going for. Creepy one-legged spiders will work, and crooked trees are totally what we are going for here!

Bottom line, perfection is not what you want…what you do want is spooky! 🙂

Also, after trying the butterbeer at Harry Potter, I can now officially say that this cake has legit “butterbeer flavors”. Not going to lie, the butterbeer drink itself was way too intense for me. Meaning, way too much sugar in a cup. It was delish, but I was done after a couple sips. Whoa sugar rush!

And done… Happy Friday everyone!! Hope your weekend is filled with October things like picking apples, hunting for perfect pumpkins and baking butterbeer cakes!

Forbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvest

Forbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvest

Forbidden Forrest Butterbeer Chocolate Cake.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 18 Servings
Calories Per Serving: 698 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



Whipped Butterbeer Frosting

For decorating

  • 1 (8 ounce) bag marshmallows
  • 8 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 cups crushed pretzel sticks + 1 cup whole pretzel sticks
  • candy eyes


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the eggs, buttermilk, greek yogurt, canola oil and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the cream soda (or ginger beer) and mix until combined. The batter should be pourable, but not super thin. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 cake pans. Transfer to the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Grab 3 large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting. Add the butterscotch chips and cream to a small saucepan. Set over low heat, stirring often until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. Set the butterbeer sauce aside.
  • Add the butter and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer). Beat the butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar together until the butter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat, scraping down the sides as needed another 2 minutes or until there are no streaks of white. Add 1/2 cup of the butterbeer sauce and whip the frosting for 2-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  • To assemble the cake. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Drizzle with 2-4 tablespoons butterbeer sauce. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting. Drizzle with 2-4 tablespoons butterbeer sauce. Add on the final layer, rounded side up, and top with the remaining frosting, evenly spreading on the top and sides of the cake. Drizzle the cake all over with the remaining butterbeer sauce.
  • To make the web: Melt the marshmallows in the microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Let cool 3-5 minutes and then use your hands to stretch/pull the melted marshmallow around the cake to create a spider web. Go in as many directions as possible. It will be messy, but fun! Cake should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.
  • To make the spiders. Melt together the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave or over a double broiler. Stir in the crushed pretzel sticks. Mound the pretzels into tablespoon size balls and place on a parchment or wax lined baking sheet. Take the remaining pretzels and toss them through the melted chocolate. Attach 3 pretzel legs on either side of the pretzel balls and then add 2 candy eyes to create eyes for the spiders. Place in the freezer to harden for 5-10 minutes.
  • To create the chocolate trees, melt 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and let cool 5 minutes. Transfer the chocolate to a ziplock bag and snip a small portion of the corner off the bag. On a parchment lined baking sheet, pipe out skinny leafless trees. Place in the freezer to harden for 5-10 minutes.
  • Just before serving the cake, stick the trees around the top of the cake and decorate with chocolate spiders. Serve the cake at room temperature.


*Marshmallow spiderweb adapted from [The Cake Blog |]. *Spiders adapted from [Food Network |]
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Forbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvest

And then proceeding to eat ALL the cake…cause I mean, do you see that piece? NEED IT.

Forbidden Forest Chocolate Butterbeer Cake | @hbharvest

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    1. Hi Danielle,
      Sure, that will work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xT

  1. 5 stars
    I made this cake for birthday in 2020 and it was amazing and fun to make. I would like to turn it into a form of cupcakes for an office potluck. Do you have recommendations on modified oven temp and cooking time?

    1. Hey Cat,
      So glad you have enjoyed this recipe before! I would keep the oven temp the same but start checking for doneness at 25 minutes. I hope they turn out amazing! xT

  2. 5 stars
    Made this cake for my Grandson’s birthday. Delicious, wouldn’t change a thing! Thank you!
    Would love to post a picture, is there a way to do this on your site?

    1. Hi Tamara,
      Awesome!! Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe out, I love to hear that it was a winner! Sorry, there is no way to post a photo. xTieghan

  3. 4 stars
    Made this for Halloween this weekend and OMG !! Came out amazing! Wanted to post a photo but can’t seem to figure out how ?? I gave 4 stars because it took quite a bit longer than 1 hour 30 minutes and the spiders were difficult to make . But so worth it to see everyone’s reactions ? Delicious!!

  4. Hi
    I don’t have cream soda or ginger beer. Is it possible to make some or use a substitute? Or could I use a different chocolate cake recipe but add all the toppings? Thanks!

    1. Hi Clara! You can black coffee or water. Either will be great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  5. 3 stars
    It seems like a lot of these reviews are just from people who like the appearance of the cake, but didn’t actually bake it. I baked this cake this morning to win a (virtual) cake competition with coworkers. It took about 3 hours to make in total with the help of another person. The cake itself is rich like a brownie. The frosting is light and fluffy with a hint of peanut butter and butterscotch. Putting the marshmallow on the cake was surprisingly easy and fun. Here are some struggles, though: the cake layers are quite soft and didn’t hold up well; the trees melted immediately, even after being in the freezer for a long time; the spiders aren’t as cute or distinguishable without the eyes (I couldn’t find any); all of the layers of things on the cake make for a very sweet cake. It was a fun process overall, but I wouldn’t make these expecting it to stay looking perfect like the pictures, especially knowing the trees will melt right away.

    1. Hi Shelby! I am sorry this did not turn out as expected. Please let me know if there is anything I can help with to make this better if you choose to try it again! Otherwise, I hope you love some other recipes of mine! xTieghan

  6. I know I’m a bit late to the party, but is there a good substitute for the cream soda/ginger beer, or would that throw the flavor way off? Considering using half coffee, half bourbon for my wife’s birthday next week. Thanks, in advance!

    1. Hey,
      I haven’t tested this recipe without the ginger beer, I would try using another sparkling drink in it’s place. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  7. this would be great if there was a way to make a lactose and gluten free. the gluten part is quite easy to substitute, the lactose? not so sure on that one but am eager to try if you have any ideas to make it lactose free

    1. HI Luna! Could you use coconut milk and coconut yogurt? I think that will work well! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  8. i commented before but can’t get the “reply” feature to work… if i’m going to use butterscotch sauce, do you think i should skip the addition of the cream (since i already have a sauce to begin with) or would that be necessary before moving on to make the frosting? i guess what i mean is: do i substitute the sauce for the chips OR for the melted chips+cream mixture? thanks so much.

    1. Hey Alyssa! I think if you are using butterscotch sauce that you probably do not need to use the cream. The sauce should be enough to bring it all together. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious spooktacular cake! I made this last weekend for a Halloween party and it was a hit! I had so much fun making it, especially that marshmallow web. After 3+ hours of baking I put my cake cover on it and the top touched the cake!! AAAHH! This cake has height. haha After having a meltdown over part of the marshmallow design on the top being ripped off I stuck in the fridge with no cover. In the morning I got more marshmallows and covered the top with spiderwebs again, and I liked the design even more the second time.

    The taste is incredible and your chocolate cake recipe is perfect! As much as I like peanut butter, I think i’ll leave it out of the frosting next time since it over powers the butterscotch flavor. I want to let that “butterbeer” shine. Thank you for an excellent Harry Potter Halloween bake!

    1. Hi Sarah! I am so glad you loved this cake!! And it seems like you had a blast making it which is even better!! Thank you! I hope you have an amazing weekend! xTieghan

  10. Hi hi – is it possible to sub out the peanut butter in this recipe? We have nut allergies in the family and I really want to make this for the kids! Love all that you do! ❤️

    1. Hi Kelsey!! I would recommend just omitting the peanut butter. The cake will still be delicious without it! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan ???

  11. Have you ever made this cake into cupcakes instead? If so, do you have the best cooking times available? 🙂 Thank you! I would love to make this and bring in to share with my co-workers for Halloween!

    1. Hey Emily!! This will make about 32 cupcakes. I would bake them for 25-30 minutes. That will be so fun!! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan ??

  12. Going to make this for 10yr old son birthday next week….
    His cousins are allergic to peanuts so cant have the peanut butter… any suggestions for alternative? Or will i just omit it?


    1. Hi Laura! I would recommend just omitting the peanut butter. The cake will still be delicious without it! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan ???

  13. any chance you think i could use butterscotch sauce instead of butterscotch chips in the sauce/frosting? thanks!

    1. Hi Alyssa! I am sure sauce would be perfect! I would neat in about 1/3 cup. That will be delicious! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan ???