What was I for Halloween? What I am every year – the perpetual child. I often feel like I am 26 going on 12 and this is even more apparent on Halloween.

While some 20-something ladies are dressing in lingerie and calling it a cat costume and drunk Jesus’s begin to wander the streets, I am at home, in my pajamas, watching Hocus Pocus and carrying on the Hill Family tradition of baking Ghost Cakes.

I love these cakes because they awaken such strong memories from my childhood. I grew up in the best neighborhood for Halloween. There were kids everywhere, the parents went all out on decorations, and if I remember correctly, there was only one house that handed out pencils instead of candy. My brother, his best friend Matt, my best friend Anna and I would roll out, candy sacks in hand and make the rounds.

We’d come home, feet sore, sacs fat and dump our candy out on the kitchen floor to make our trades. As we sat in a pile of candy, my mom would give us ghost cakes and warm cider. For a kid on the chubby side, eating cake while lying on a bed of sweets was basically heaven.

With Anna and Eric getting MBAs, Matt killin’ the web design game in the city and me just back from doing whatever I was doing in New York, sometimes those days in the old neighborhood seem like a million years ago. But when my mom pulls out the Ghost Cake pan, I’m immediately a kid again and happy to be home on Halloween.

Here’s my recipe:

Okay you ghouls – it’s fright night – get your ingredients out. (Full list below.)

Put your butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream on medium speed for 4 – 5 minutes until light and fluffy… like a ghost.

Add your eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Add the vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Add 1/2 your milk and mix until just incorporated. Then add the second 1/3 of dry, mix, the remainder of milk, mix, and finally the last 1/3 of dry. Mix until just combined.

You don’t have these pans.. but if you did… fill them with 1/3 a cup of batter.

Bake 12 – 15 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.

Get an adult, decorate the little ghosties with vanilla buttercream, name them.


This one is Darren, he’s my favorite.

It’s Halloween! Eat cake, eat candy, dress up, watch movies! Celebrate the little traditions in your life. You know where I’ll be.

Ghost Cakes

  • Servings: 9-10 little guys
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
2 cups of cake flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of half and half or heavy cream
1 recipe of vanilla buttercream
Mini chocolate chips (FOR EYES! Do ghosts have eyes?)

Preheat your oven to 350° F.In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar for 4 – 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Add the vanilla.

In a small bowl whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1/3 of the mixture to the butter and sugar.

Next add 1/2 of the dairy, followed by the second 1/3 of dry, the final 1/2 of dairy and ending on the final 1/3 of dry ingredients, mixing after each addition.

Mix until just combine.

Pour into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.

Flip out of pan and cool completely before frosting with vanilla buttercream.