Monday, 14 May 2012

The Friendly Ghost

I think this ghost cake is the epitome of "Australian home baking". It is so quintessentially a Women's Weekly thing to re-use your egg shells to make the ghost eyes! I love any recipe that says "wash out your egg shells and put them aside for use later on". It makes me feel like I am back in the culinary desert of the seventies.

And really, the only frightening thing about this lovely little ghost cake, is just how long it took me to make it.

I baked this cake three times. Which totally goes against my near-enough-is-good-enough philosophy. That's the philosophy I adopt when I am baking on a Friday night and I have ahem, relaxed into the weekend via the odd G&T. Or two.

But I should have realised things weren't going to go to plan when I dropped an entire egg into the mixing bowl. Shell and all. Fatal error number one.

Oddly enough, this did not stop me in my tracks. It should have. But I kept going.  Some part of my mind said Oh don't worry, it'll be fine. Fine! Don't you worry a bit about that shell.

Readers, that was the G&T talking.

Shortly after though, I did actually realise that crunchy cake was not going to win anyone over. And this cake was being made for a child in the household of my cake-diverting villainous colleague. So I turned off the beater and picked out every single bit of shell I could see. And kept going.

Fatal error number two. Why did I not bin the entire mixture and start again? Readers, I blame the G&T. (The second one).

So I baked the cake. After an hour in the over at low heat, I took it out. I let it rest for five minutes. I turned it out onto the wire rack to cool .... and saw a giant piece of shell, right in the middle.

I threw it away.

I tried again. This time, I cracked the egg into a separate bowl, just to be sure no shell could fall in. I baked the cake. I let it rest for five minutes. I turned it out onto the wire rack to cool .... and the entire thing deflated in a saggy puff of steam.

I threw it away. And had a little cry. And some more gin.

The third time, it worked. I have no idea how, because by this time I was most definitely in a gin-sozzled state. But even the marshmallow icing turned out fine, with its palaver of you-must-get-the-sugar-mixture-to -exactly-115-degrees-exACTly-I-said.

Just when I thought I'd made it safely to the finish line, I faltered. As I was adding the coloured coconut (and I still have red hands from that stuff, who thought of that idea?) to the plate, some coconut accidentally fell onto the marshmallow. And stuck fast. And when I tried to get it off, a whole bit as big as a ten-cent piece peeled off in my fingers. Dear god!

I covered it up with plain coconut. It was still patently obvious. Look at this picture. Look at it.

 Luckily for me, as the cake-diverting villainous colleague was putting the cake in his car, he did exactly the same thing and knocked off a bit of the arm. So I felt much better.

And in the end, Atticus loved his cake. Let us never speak of it again.


  1. What a fantastic looking cake. I look forward to your posts.
    Regarding the G&T, ever watched the videos on Youtube, just type My Drunk Kitchen.

  2. Lucky Atticus! I think it looks fab.

  3. This is so cute! And congratulations on the feature in the paper on the weekend - really impressive.

  4. Whoa! I'm a transplanted Yank so I didn't grow up with this cookbook. Most of the cakes have been new to me. But this one? I KNOW THIS ONE! Either it was a common design, or somebody sold the recipe elsewhere. I am *certain* we had this in a cookbook growing up in Indiana, USA and I coveted it as a child. Except in the version we had, you put sugar cubes in the eggshells, poured on some liqueur, and LIT THEM ON FIRE. So I think the American version might win in this case, but only just. :)

  5. Kris, dude - LIT THEM ON FIRE???? I am awed by the prospect of introducing flames to a child's birthday party. That is *beyond*. I am so doing that next time.

  6. Look - I found it! Just Google for "ghost cake sugar cube egg shells" :)

  7. I have this book!! I have never made a cake from it in 8 years! Too scared.......perhaps you can dispell the myth. It looks too complicated. I have three kids and we are on a majorly strict budget and I have their birthdays coming up June, July and August and need to try and do something myself this year! Where do I start. What is a the best tin to get ...I see a rectangle features alot. I love this idea by the way (of your blog!). Keep up the great work!

  8. He's cute! Was there any gin in the cake the second time??! hehe Susie. Don't be scared. Just go for it.
    Your kids will love that you made them a special cake. Even if it is not at all perfect! :)


Say something sweet! Or, you know, not.