Meringue Ghosts Halloween Cake - Chocolate orange layer cake filled and frosted with orange flavored (and colored) buttercream, topped with black chocolate drizzles and adorable meringue ghosts. Impress your Halloween party guests this year with this super cute cake which just happens to be extremely delish!
If you've seen these cute meringue cookie ghosts before and always wanted to make them, you've come to the right place. In this post, I will show you exactly how to make meringue ghosts at home. They're actually quite easy and perfect for making your Halloween cake a little extra spooky. You can also find 25 Fun & Easy Halloween Treats on my blog for more ideas.
How to Make Meringue Ghosts
The hardest part about making these Meringue Ghosts is just having to wait an extra 2 hours for them to dry out in your oven after they're done baking. Basically you need a little patience for this recipe. Otherwise, they're easy peazy!
1) Start by beating egg whites with an electric mixer in a grease-free mixing bowl until frothy.
2) Keep beating as you gradually add your sugar.
3) Beat for 5-6 minutes or until test it with your fingers and there's no grainyness (is that even a word?) Mix in pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla.
4) Reserve ½ cup of meringue in an airtight container. Pour remaining meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a ½" round pastry tip. Pipe dollops of meringue in varying sizes onto a parchment lined sheet pan.
5) Bake in a 200°F oven for 1 hour. Turn off oven and let them stay in there for another 1-2 hours.
6) Stir black food coloring gel into remaining meringue. Place in pastry bag and cut a tiny corner to pipe the ghost faces onto the meringues.
What Ingredients do I need for this Easy Ghost Cake
Meringue Ghosts - You'll need about 30, see full recipe below.
Flour - I used a gluten free flour blend, recipe is on my blog. Or you could use store bought such as Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.
Cocoa Powder - I used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder
Granulated Sugar - Not powdered sugar.
Baking Powder, Baking Soda & Salt
Eggs - I used large eggs.
Oil - I used extra light olive oil.
Coconut Milk - Make sure you use unsweetened coconut milk from the can, stirred well. Or you can substitute buttermilk.
Orange Zest - You'll need 3 medium oranges and completely zest all 3. This makes the orange flavor of the chocolate cake extra robust!
Buttercream Frosting - I used my classic vanilla buttercream recipe, but substituted 3 tablespoons orange juice instead of the ¼ cup of cream.
Pro tips on making this Meringue Ghosts Halloween Cake
Be sure to have all the ingredients you need ahead of time.
For best results, use and electric mixer to make the meringue and buttercream.
Make the ghosts first and keep in mind they take 2-3 hours to make.
Wipe down the bowl and whisk attachment with vinegar to make sure this is NO grease.
When piping the meringue ghosts, make them in varied sizes. It looks cuter on the cake that way!
You can make the frosting the day before, if you like.
For a rich shade of orange, use food coloring gel (available in the cake decorating section at your local department store).
The cake batter is easy to mix up by hand in one big bowl.
When zesting your oranges, use the small side of a cheese grater and only zest the orange part of the rind. Once you see white, stop zesting as that is the bitter part of the orange rind. (Be really careful when using the grater, you don't want to get your skin scraped.)
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Meringue Ghosts Halloween Cake
For the meringue ghosts
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake
- 3 cups gluten free flour blend, recipe on my blog or 420g (Or you could use store bought such as Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.)
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder or 130g
- 2 cups granulated sugar or 400g
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup extra light olive oil or your favorite vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well from the can
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 oranges, zested use the juice in the buttercream
For the buttercream
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened or 2 cups/16 ounces
- 4 cups powdered sugar or 16 ounces
- 3 pinches salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 teaspoons orange food coloring gel
- ⅓ cup sprinkles
For the chocolate drizzle
- 1 cup black candy melts
- 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
For the meringue ghosts
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large (grease-free) bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium high until frothy. With mixer on low, gradually add sugar. Turn mixer up to medium high and beat for 5-6 minutes or until smooth, stiff peaks. Test meringue between two fingers to see if you feel any granules of sugar.
- Reserve ½ cup of meringue and place in airtight container. Set aside. Pour remaining meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a ½" round tip. Close bag with twist tie. Pipe dollops of meringue onto prepared pan in varying sizes. Bake in 200°F oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off and let dry in oven with door shut for another 1-2 hours.
- To decorate ghost faces, color the remaining with black food coloring gel. Place in small pastry bag, cut a tiny corner and pipe the faces onto the meringue ghosts. Let set while you make the cake and frosting.
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the first 6 cake ingredients in a large bowl (gf flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt). Whisk to combine. Add all of the wet ingredients to the same bowl (eggs, oil, coconut milk, water, orange zest). Stir together by hand with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until completely combined and smooth. Pour equal amounts of batter into the 3 prepared cake pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cakes cool completely.
For the buttercream
- Beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy (about 3 minutes). Gradually add the powdered sugar, orange juice, vanilla and salt. Once the ingredients are combined, turn mixer up to medium and beat until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes). Frost cake as directed below. (Note: You will probably have some extra frosting which you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)
Frosting the cake
- Cut the dome shaped tops of the cakes off so that they are level. Place first layer on a 6-inch round cake board and place that onto a rotating cake stand. I use Duck Brand drawer liner to keep it from sliding (you can cut a small round piece to put under the 6-inch cake board). Using an angled spatula, spread the first layer of cake with about ¼ inch of frosting. Add the second layer and repeat. Add the third layer, then frost the top and sides of cake with a crumb coat. Use a pastry dough bench scraper to drag along the side of the cake as you turn the revolving stand to create the smooth finish. Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Add the final coat of frosting. Frost the cake smooth and return to refrigerator for 30 minutes.
For the chocolate drizzle & adding meringue ghosts
- Place candy melts in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 20 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 20 seconds and stir until smooth and completely melted. Stir in olive oil. Heat for another 10 seconds, if needed, but be careful not to burn the chocolate chips. If it seems too thick, add a little more oil until it flows easily when drizzling. Drizzle dollops of melted candy melts onto top edge of the cake using a spoon or you can pour it into a pastry bag and cut the corner to pipe onto top edges of cake, letting it drip down the sides. Spread most of the remaining melted candy melts on top (reserving a little to "glue" the ghosts) of the cake, working quickly as it hardens fast. Use extra melted candy melts to stick the meringue ghosts to the top of the cake. You should be able to fit about 20-25. Add sprinkles to the bottom edge of cake, if desired. Serve cake immediately or within 24 hours. Do not refrigerate before you serve as the meringue will turn yellow. After serving, store remaining cake covered in refrigerator.
All text and images © Lise Ode for Mom Loves Baking. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate. This post may contain affiliate links.