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Blog Archive - October 15, 2011

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October 15, 2011 - Ghost Halloween Cake
Click here for short instructions

I struggled to decide which Halloween shape to use for my second Halloween shape. A ghost almost seemed too cliche and really didn't leave a lot for creative decorating. Nonetheless, I just felt that it was essential to have a ghost cake on the site. One great thing about making this cake is that it's rather easy to make - regardless of what shape you end up with, just cover the cake with fondant and pipe on some eyes, and you'll have a ghost. I added almond flavors to the cake and fondant, which seemed to nicely enhance the (again, classic) white cake flavor.

Ghost Halloween Cake

To make this cake, you'll need a Cake-Shaping Strip (look here about how to make one), heavy-duty aluminum foil, a sheet pan, prepared cake batter (see the Almond Cake Batter recipe below or use about 1 box of cake mix), fondant (see the Easy Marshmallow Creme Fondant recipe below), white frosting (about 1 (16-oz.) container), and black piping gel.

First, make a Cake-Shaping Strip as described here using eight sushi-mat segments. Line a sheet pan with 2 sheets of aluminum foil, and shape the strip into a shape of a ghost. Make sure to exaggerate any spatial features, as they'll seem smaller after you unwrap and ice the cake. It seems to be a hard lesson for me to learn about how much to exaggerate the features. For this cake, I wish that I would have made the head a bit bigger.

Wrap the bottom foil sheets around the strip, tearing it where needed to wrap it. Slide extra small strips of foil under the strip and wrap those around where needed (if your original foil sheet didn't cover a portion of the cake). And push small loosely packed balls of foil along the bottom outer perimeter wherever you think that the batter might leak due (e.g., where you tore the foil). Essentially, just add foil however you need to fully wrap around the bottom of the strip.

Ghost Halloween Cake

Now prepare your cake batter. You can make the batter using about one box of cake mix or you can use the recipe below. You can omit the almond paste if you must, but I love almond paste. I could eat it with a spoon.

Almond Cake Batter
Ingredients:
1 box of white cake mix
4 egg whites
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 (3.4-ounce) package French Vanilla instant pudding mix
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 (7-ounce) tube almond paste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a pan with cooking spray.

2. In a stand mixer, combine the cake mix, egg whites, oil, water, lemon juice, pudding mix and almond extract. Break apart the almond paste and add that to the bowl. Beat the ingredients for several minutes or until well mixed. Small chunks of almond paste may remain in the batter. That's okay.

3. Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until done.

*****

Bake the cake and let it cool. Cut away any leaked batter from the outside of the strip. Then carefully separate the strip from the cake.

Ghost Halloween Cake

I was tempted to just ice this cake with white frosting, but nothing is going to produce the ghost-like appearance like a smooth sheet of fondant. So out came my stand mixer again. I used the Easy Marshmallow Fondant recipe that I posted in my Mother's Day post. (It's on the recipe page and re-printed below.) I also added some almond extract. I thought about throwing in some coconut extract too, but I stuck to the basics. Feel free to add whatever flavors you have around or sound good to you. I'm re-posting the fondant recipe below. It's by far the easiest fondant recipe that I've found.

Easy Marshmallow Creme Fondant
Ingredients:

2 (16-ounce) containers of marshmallow creme/fluff
1 1/2 to 2 (2-pound) bags of powdered sugar
Food dye
Flavoring or extracts (e.g., 1-2 teaspoons almond extract)

Instructions:
1. Generously spray a bowl of a standing mixer and hook attachment with cooking spray.

2. Combine the marshmallow creme/fluff and 3/4 of a 2-lb package of powdered sugar in the bowl. Turn the mixer on low speed and let it mix for about 10 minutes.

3. Gradually add more and more powdered sugar until the mixer is no longer integrating the powdered sugar or until one and a half (2-lb) bags of powdered sugar have been added.

4. Spread some powdered sugar on a kitchen counter, and knead the fondant on the counter. Gradually adding more powdered sugar just until the fondant isn't sticky any more.

5. Mix any food dye or flavoring into the fondant.

6. To use the fondant, generously spray two pieces of vinyl mats with cooking spray. Place the fondant between the mats and roll it out. Apply a medium-thick layer of the store-bought frosting to the head portion of a cake. Gently remove the top mat, and flip the bottom mat (with the rolled out fondant) on the cake. Gently press fondant into the cake, and cut away the excess.

7. To store the fondant, wrap it in plastic wrap and place the wrapped fondant in a ziplock bag. Keep at room temperature

*****

I took a picture after I spread the layer of frosting on the cake but before I flipped the fondant on it. Remember not to wait too long between these steps, or else the frosting won't help the fondant stick to your cake. So before you frost the cake, have your fondant all rolled out and ready to flip on the cake.

Ghost Halloween Cake

One, two, three ... flip the fondant on the cake. (It's very helpful to have someone else help with this step.) As described in the fondant recipe, after you flip the fondant on the cake, gently press the fondant into the cake and cut away the excess fondant. (You can wrap it up in plastic wrap, put it in a ziplock bag, and use it later.)

Ghost Halloween Cake

Now just finish the cake up by adding the ghost's facial features. You could just use some store-bought piping gel and added eyes and a mouth. (See the picture on the left.) Or you could cut out holes in the fondant and fill the holes with melted chocolate (made by microwaving 1/4 cup dark chocolate and 1 teaspoon canola oil until smooth). (See the picture on the right.) Or you could make the cake itself chocolate, and cut out holes in the fondant to show the chocolate.

Ghost Halloween Cake
Ghost Halloween Cake

Once someone conquers the ghost and cuts into the cake, this is what you'll get to enjoy: a smooth, tasty white cake with a hint of almond. Happy Halloween!

Ghost Halloween Cake

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