Servings: Serves 12
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease 3 round 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment or wax paper; grease the paper and set the pans aside. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Transfer the beaten egg whites to a medium bowl and set aside. In the used mixing bowl (no need to wash), cream the butter and sugar with the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix to combine, and then add half of the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk, combining well after each addition. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula and divide the batter among the prepared pans.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cakes just turn a very pale gold and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the frosting: Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in the bottom of a double boiler. Put the sugar, corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top section of the double boiler and beat for 1 minute to combine before placing the top section over the inch of boiling water. Watch the clock or set a timer, and beat on high, keeping the water just at a boil over medium heat, for exactly 7 minutes. The frosting will be fluffy, puffy, and white. Remove the pan from the heat (and take the top of the double boiler off the boiling water) and stir in the vanilla.
To assemble the cake: Place 1 layer on a large serving plate (ideally large enough that you can dollop a few ghosts around the rim of the platter as well as on top of the cake). Briskly stir the jam in a small bowl, and then spread half of it over the bottom layer and top with a dab of frosting. Place the second cake layer on top and spread with the remaining jam and a bit of frosting. Cover with the final layer and frost all over, using about three-quarters of the frosting. Use a spoon to dollop ghosts with the reserved frosting on the top and around the edges of the cake, using the spoon to twist and twirl a head on each one. (You can also pipe ghosts with a round tip on a frosting bag, or through a small hole cut in the corner of a Ziplock bag.) Use 2 chocolate sprinkles per ghost to make eyes.
Reprinted with permission from Ghoulish Goodies, published by Storey Publishing, LLC., September 2009.
Published on October 06, 2009