I’m a scaredy-cat, generally speaking. Well, not generally speaking, specifically speaking. I can fake my way through a lot of scary situations, but deep down, I’m a bona-fide scaredy-cat.
I could list all of the things that I’m scared of, but that would be the longest blog post ever.
Unfortunately, and against my best intentions, I’m afraid I’ve passed some of my tendencies toward irrational fears along to my girls. My youngest is afraid of “creepy things.” And with Halloween right around the corner, everything is creepy right now.
This cake made her cry. She was afraid of the ghosts.
It’s days like this that I feel like I’ve failed as a mother. My kid is afraid of a cake.
It took a lot of coaxing and hugs and peeking around the corner until she conceded that these were friendly ghosts, not “creepy” ghosts. Ten minutes of inching closer and closer to the counter top, demonstrating how I made them and urging her to taste the meringue, and she finally decided that maybe she was being a little bit dramatic.
I’m sure there’s probably a lesson here. I’m sure that I could learn a little something from my three year old overcoming her fear of the scary sugar ghosts…but this post isn’t about me. Or something.
It’s about this boo-tiful ghost cake.
These, she decided, are her two favorite ghosts. She said the one on the right looks “bery, bery sad.”
Have I mentioned how adorable my little Mia is? That little girl is going to be rotten. I just can’t say no to that little face.
This is a simple chocolate cake, one of my favorite recipes. The fudge frosting is silky and smooth and not only tastes amazing, but it’s a great base for the cute meringue ghosts. The faces of the ghosts are just painted on with a little bit of black food coloring and a toothpick. You will need a piping bag with a round tip to make the ghosts, and you can get those here.
Easy, and beautiful boo-tiful! Enjoy!
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- 2 cups sugar
- 1 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup boiling water
- 12 ounces semi-sweet or milk-chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup plus 2 Tablespoons confectioners/powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (dutch process, if possible)
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
- Prepare two round, 8-inch baking pans by coating them with cooking spray and a parchment round. (Cut a 8 inch round circle of parchment, place in bottom of pan sprayed with cooking spray.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for two minutes.
- Slowly stir in boiling water, and note that the batter will be very thin.
- Pour evenly into prepared pans.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool on wire rack until completely cool.
- Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler.
- Stir until smooth and set aside to allow to cool to room temperature.
- Beat the butter, sugar and salt together until smooth, light and fluffy.
- Add the melted chocolate, and beat until well combined.
- Whisk together the water and cocoa powder until smooth, and add to mixture.
- Beat to combine.
- To assemble cake, place one of the cooled layers on to your serving plate.
- Spoon a generous amount of frosting over the top of the first layer (about ½ cup of frosting). Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting to the edge of the cake and over the sides if necessary.
- Place the second cooled layer of cake on top of the first, and spoon most of the remaining frosting over the top of the cake.
- Slowly begin to spread the frosting over the edges of the cake, and smooth to the bottom of the layers.
- Smooth frosting, and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before adding ghosts.
- Meringue Ghost Ingredients:
- In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer bowl) or double boiler, whisk together the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar until well combined.
- In the bottom part of the double boiler, bring a small amount of water to a rolling simmer, and place the bowl over (but not touching) the boiling water.
- While whisking frequently, heat the egg white/sugar mixture until the sugar has dissolved. (Test by running a small amount between your fingers until you can't feel the grit of the sugar.) Take care to whisk frequently so you don't cook the eggs!
- Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or use your hand mixer to beat the mixture until stiff white peaks form and the mixture has cooled to nearly room temperature. This could take 10-15 minutes. You want to make sure the meringue will hold stiff peaks so your ghosts stand without drooping.
- Using a piping bag, swirl meringue into the shape of a ghost.
- Use a small amount of black food coloring on the end of a toothpick to draw the eyes.
- Allow meringue to dry before serving, about two hours.