Making Halloween Happy {Soup & Spooky Season Kick Off}

It’s October and that means my favorite food season of all – SOUPS! We enjoyed a cozy and delicious meal of Cheeseburger Soup and my annual Haunted House pound cake to kick things off. I’ve shared these recipes before, but they are favorites here and worth sharing again.

Cheeseburger Soup

Slightly modified from the last time I shared to make it even easier.


  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • Box chicken broth (4 cups)
  • 4 cups frozen “southern style” hash brown potatoes (cubed, not shredded)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 16-oz block Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Optional toppings: bacon, diced tomato, shredded cheese


  • In a large soup pot, brown the ground beef, drain and set aside.
  • In the same pot add 1 T butter, onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley. Saute until tender.
  • Add the broth, potatoes and ground beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • In a microwave safe dish (I use the same measuring cup that will work for the milk), melt the remaining butter 3T. Whisk in the flour. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
  • Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream.
  • Add desired toppings for serving.

Haunted House Pound Cake

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma |  Haunted House Bundt Pan

For the cake:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour LESS 6 T. flour (to account for using all purpose rather than cake flour)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 6 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbs. pure unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves

Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325ºF. Grease and flour a cathedral cake pan or 10-cup Bundt® pan.

To make the cake, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy and smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the sugar and continue beating, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon and vanilla extracts. Reduce the speed to low, add half the flour and salt, then the coconut milk, then the remaining flour and salt. Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the coconut and lemon zest.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer to a wire rack and cool the cake upright in the pan for 10 minutes. Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper and invert the cake onto the rack.

To make the glaze, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the water, lemon juice and sugar just until the sugar dissolves. Add the mint and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the mint. Brush the warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool completely before serving.

A few tips…

  • I always use Baker’s Joy with Flour when baking.  I coat pans like this REALLY well, turning it to all angles to be sure I’ve covered all the nooks and crannies.
  • I use the entire amount of this recipe in this pan.
  • After filling the pan with batter, tap it on the counter a few times.
  • Bake it in the oven on a cookie sheet covered with foil.  I little always runs down the center on mine, but otherwise fills the pan perfectly.
  • DO NOT throw away the cake pieces that bake on to the foil.  They are the best and Honey and I always fight over them.  haha.
  • The bottom edge of my house usually looks kind of crazy so I rim the cake plate with candy corn and Halloween sprinkles.

I called leftovers for tomorrow – hoping there will at least be a few bites left after the midnight snackers hit. :-)

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