Glowing Ghost Cake!

A spooky treat to kick off the Halloween Season!

Make a dessert that’s simply “spooktacular” with this cute Halloween Glowing Ghost Cake. Made using my scrumptious to the last slice chocolate cake, simple fondant, candy corn, and a simple candle. So grab the recipe, watch the tutorial, and make one amazing cake. This Halloween, go all out with this surprisingly easy Glowing Ghost Cake.

Glowing Ghost Cake

prep time: 15 MINUTES cook time: 1 HOUR 15 MINUTES additional time: 2 HOURS total time: 3 HOURS 30 MINUTES



  • 1 ½ sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water or fresh brewed coffee
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream at room temperature
  • Purple food gel color
  • White fondant
  • Black fondant
  • Candy corn
  • Brown M&M’s
  • Wood dowel rod
  • Small foam ball
  • Dry foam block
  • Plastic wrap
  • LED candle


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the Cake

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy on a medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. Beat butter mixture at a medium speed for about 1 minute.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture while alternating with water. Be sure to start and end with the dry ingredient mix.
  6. On a low speed, mix until creamy. You should not need to mix longer than a minute at most. With that said, be sure not to over mix.
  7. Pour cake batter into a prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan. After, invert onto cooling rack and let cook entirely.

For the Buttercream

  1. You’ll want to make two batches. Simply double the buttercream ingredients listed above.
  2. Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar & set bowl aside.
  3. Cream butter & shortening.
  4. Blend in vanilla extract.
  5. Scrape down the sides.
  6. Place your mixer on the lowest speed & slowly add in your powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  7. Do not worry if your buttercream looks crumbly & dry because we will fix that next.
  8. Scrape down the sides one last time.
  9. With your mixer on a medium high speed, slowly add in heavy cream and a few drops of purple food gel color.
  10. Turn mixer up to a high speed and whip your buttercream until you have light & fluffy consistency you are looking for.

Fondant Ghost Cake Topper

  • First you want to take your wooden skewer and cut out a piece about three to four inches long. It needs to be long enough to stick one end in the styrofoam ball and one end in the block of foam, but enough area in between for the fondant to drape down. That’ll make more sense later.
  • Now just stick the end of the skewer piece into the styrofoam ball. It doesn’t need to go all the way to the top, just far enough in where it’s stable.
  • Now take a piece of plastic wrap and cover the styrofoam ball in it. Just wrap it around. You’re just making a barrier between the non-food safe item (the styrofoam ball) and the fondant. Pop that into the block of foam while you work on the ghost.
  • Now, roll out your white fondant. You want to roll out a large circle. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle though, so don’t stress about that. My circle was about a 14″ – 15″ circle. How big you need it, will depend on how much skewer is between the styrofoam ball and your block of foam. If  your fondant doesn’t drape correctly in the next step, just roll out your fondant once more and try again. No biggie.
  • Dust both sides of the fondant with powdered sugar. you don’t want anything sticking to anything. Now, drape your fondant over the styrofoam ball. You’ll have to fidget with it to get the draping to look right. If you’re having trouble, your circle may not have been rolled out large enough. you need it larger, so it’ll drape correctly. Make sure the bottom of your ghost is draping outward and not straight down. Pull the bottom of the ghost out, or you’ll have trouble getting your styrofoam ball out later on.
  • Once you’ve got the draping how you want it, just set it aside overnight to dry. Don’t wait more than 24 hours to do this next part, but the fondant does need to be set up and firm before you do this. If you’re short on time, you can also pop it in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  • When you’re ready to place on top of your cake, carefully pick up your ghost. I just grabbed mine by the top. Grab the skewer and slowly pull out the styrofoam ball. If the skewer comes out of the ball, just grab the press-n-seal or plastic wrap and pull the styrofoam ball out by that. Just do it slowly and carefully, so you don’t break or crack your ghost. 
  • For the eyes & the mouth, just grab your black fondant. Roll two tiny balls of fondant and flatten only slightly with your finger. These will be the ghost’s eyes.
  • Now take a slightly larger amount of the black fondant, roll and elongate it a bit. Press down with your finger to flatten it out slightly.
  • Paint on, with the slightest bit of water, where you want the eyes and mouth. Now just pop them on.


  1. After your cakes have cooled, level your cakes. If you’d like to make this a 4-layer cake, half each cake.
  2. Place your first layer onto your cake turntable.
  3. Spread a generous amount of purple buttercream on top and spread evenly with your straight or offset spatula.
  4. Place your next layer of cake, top with more purple buttercream, and spread evenly. Continue these steps for all of your layers.
  5. Once your cakes have been filled and stacked, you’re ready to add buttercream frosting around your cake.
  6. Start from the bottom, and while rotating your cake turntable, pipe on your buttercream in an upward motion.
  7. Using a cake frosting scraper, straight spatula, or offset spatula you will want to smooth over your buttercream. The best way is to hold your smoothing tool upright and gently pressed against your cake while rotating your cake turntable.
  8. You’ll want to continue this until you have a smooth coating. When you’re doing the final smoothing and you notice the texture of the buttercream become a bit ragged there’s an easy fix! Get a bowl of HOT water and dip your tools into the bowl to warm them up. pat dry and smooth. The warm metal will melt the buttercream and give you a nice SMOOTH finish.
  9. Smooth the top of your cake with an offset spatula.
  10. Set in the fridge and allow to chill for 5 minutes.
  11. After your cake has set, begin your candy corn flowers. You can make these any size you want and make as many as your’d like. Think of the body of the cake as a blank canvas for all of your spooky inspiration. I like to start with a brown M&M in the middle and circle the candy with my candy corn. These festive flowers really make a simple but sweet decoration.
  12. Now for the fun part! You can wait to do this until you’re ready to serve, that way, you know you have plenty of battery life in your LED light. Turn on your light and then wrap it up with some press-n-seal or plastic wrap. Since it’ll be sitting directly on the cake, you need a barrier. Now just pop it on the top of your cake.
  13. Now all you’ve got to do is gently set your finished ghost on top! Turn out the lights and grab yourself a slice of spooky cake.


  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Be sure to allow your dairy ingredients to reach room temperature. Room temperature ingredients not only combine more effortlessly (no over-mixing needed) but they also trap air so much better. This trap air will expand and produce a fluffy texture during your baking process.
  • Prepared Pan: There will always be the “next best way to prepare your pan” article. Simply put however, the most effective way i find in my kitchen is a light rub of shortening around the sides, parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, & a very light dusting of flour (cocoa powder for chocolate baked goods) all throughout.
  • You can use this buttercream right away or place it in an airtight container in your fridge until ready to use. Just be sure to whip before using.
  • If you’d prefer to skip the shortening, simply swap it out with 1 additional stick of room temperature butter.
  • If you’d prefer a more white, stiffer, buttercream then simply omit the butter & replace with 1 additional cup of shortening. Also be sure to swap out the vanilla extract for clear vanilla extract.
  • Make sure you sift your powdered sugar. This will help the sugar mix into the butter & shortening smoothly.
  • When all your powdered sugar has been added in, the buttercream will appear dry. Don’t raise the alarms. When adding in your milk or heavy cream, your buttercream will start to have the fluffy texture it‘s known for.
  • Keep in mind that your heavy cream should be added in 1 tablespoon at a time. I do this way to make sure I am not drowning my buttercream to the point of a soupy mess.
  • Also worth mentioning, if desired, you can easily swap out the heavy cream for equal parts of your preferred milk such as whole milk or buttermilk.
Dan is the creator and sort of charming host of the YouTube Channel MANCAKE, dad to Gwennie the Corgi, downtown Pittsburgh resident, and an avid baker of all things delicious since he discovered his passion for it many years ago. (He / Him / His)