Whatever you’re doing for Halloween this year, here’s a fun dessert to make. This Ghost Graveyard Cake is perfect for kids and adults. The kids will love making it and the adults will enjoy eating it.
If you haven’t noticed, ghosts are the Halloween trend of 2023. Ghost themed items have been trending all over social media. I even created my own budget-friendly version of the viral Ghost painting. And to keep with the ghost trend theme, I decided to create a Ghost Graveyard Cake to celebrate the spooky season.
The great thing about making this Ghost Graveyard Cake is that it can turn into a fun activity to do with the kids too. The ghosts and tombstones can be made at least a day ahead and is something the kids can help make. So let’s get to it!
Ghost Graveyard Cake
- Chocolate Cake Mix + Ingredients to make the cake – Any box chocolate cake mix or use your own recipe.
- Chocolate Frosting – One container of any chocolate frosting or use your own recipe.
- Milano Cookies – One package of Milano cookies. I used the regular chocolate filled ones, but it can be substituted with any flavored filled Milano cookies.
- White candy melts – Melted to create ghosts for the cake. If you prefer, substitute with premade candy ghost shapes (these are small in size), marshmallow ghost shapes, or paper cupcake toppers.
- Black food pen – To draw the ghost eyes.
- Black gel frosting – For convenience, I used gel frosting that was already in a tube.
- Oreo cookies – This is crushed to create the graveyard ‘dirt’.
- Black Edible Shimmer Dust – Optional to use on the ‘tombstones’.
- Brach’s Autumn Candy Corn Mix – This mix has fall colored candy corns and the pumpkin. Most grocery stores should have this in their fall items section. If you can’t find this, they should also have packages of candy corn pumpkins too.
- Baking Pan – I used a 13″ x 7″ ceramic baking dish, but a standard 13″ x 9″ works too.
- Measuring Cups/Spoons
- Mixing Spoon
- Spatula – To frost the cake.
- Parchment paper or silicone mat – Only needed if making ghosts from scratch.
- Ziplock bag(s) and mallet – Sandwich sized bags to crush the Oreo cookies to make ‘dirt’ or use a food processor. Can also be used in place of a piping bag to make candy melt ghosts.
- Piping Bag – Only needed if creating candy melt ghosts to pipe melted candy melts.
- Scissors – Cut tip of the gel frosting tube.
- Butter knife – This is optional and used to make a slit in the cake for the ‘tombstone’ cookies.
- Toothpicks – Used to help draw the tombstone decorations.
- Small Paint brush, unused – Optional and only used to distress tombstones.
How to Make a Ghost Graveyard Cake
Baking the Cake
The cake can be made 1-2 days ahead. Follow steps 1 and 2, then cover and place in the fridge until serving time.
Step 1. Bake the cake according to the box directions or use a favorite chocolate cake recipe. Let cool. Note: I used a 13″ x 7″ ceramic pan.
Step 2. When the cake is completely cooled, frost with chocolate frosting. Set aside.
Preparing the Tombstones
These can be made a few days ahead and stored in a single layer in the freezer.
Step 1. Optional – If using black edible shimmer dush, spray a few spritzes onto each Milano cookie being used. This will give a slightly distressed look to the cookies. If you want to skip the shimmer dush, just paint some black gel all over the top half of the cookie.
Step 2. Next, cut the tip of the gel frosting tube and use it to decorate the top of the cookie with various Halloween sayings or drawings. Decorate as many cookies as you want on the cake. Set aside for later.
The ghosts can be made serveral days ahead and kept in a sealed container in the fridge. If using premade candy ghosts, skip these steps.
Step 1. Optional – If you need a guide to make the ghost shapes, find some ghost shapes online and print it out OR free-hand draw some ghosts onto paper. You may need to reduce the size to what you need. This step can be skipped if you want to just freely pipe out ghost shapes. Place the printed ghost paper under a parchment lined baking sheet to use as a guide.
Step 2. Follow the directions on the white candy melt bag to melt about 1/2 cup of candy melts. Place melted candy melts into a piping bag and cut off the tip. A Ziplock sandwich bag can be used din place of a piping bag.
Step 3. Next, pipe melted candy melts onto the parchment-lined sheet into ghost shapes. Then, place in the fridge to harden for about 5 minutes.
Step 4. After the candy ghosts are hard, use a black edible ink pen to draw on the eyes. Set aside for later.
Graveyard Cake Dirt
Like the candy ghosts, cake, and tombstones, the graveyard dirt can be made a few days before serving if kept in an airtight bag. Note: A food processor can be used to speed up the process.
Step 1. Remove the filling from the center of at least 6 cookies. Place the cookies into a Ziplock bag and crush with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Try to get the pieces into a fine dirt like texture. Set aside.
Decorating the Ghost Graveyard Cake
Decorating the cake can be a fun way to get the kids involved. Make it fun and decorate the cake any way you desire!
Step 1. About 15 minutes before serving, bring out the frosted cake. Optional – Take a butter knife and make a cut into the cake where the tombstone will be placed or just push the tombstone into the cake. Continue to do this until you place all the tombstones you want to use on the cake.
Step 2. Next, place the prepared ghosts. I placed mine behind each tombstone and one popping up near the front.
Step 3. After placing the ghosts, use a small spoon to place mounds of crushed Oreo in front of each tombstone.
Step 4. Finally, add candy corn pumpkins.
It might look like a lot of steps to make this cake, but most of the components can be prepared ahead of time. And when it comes time for dessert you can easily put it together and enjoy it. This is also the kind of dessert that you can customize with different Halloween decorations, so decorate the cake however you like for your unique spooktacular cake!