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.



8 comments:

  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.

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  2. Lucky Atticus! I think it looks fab.

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

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  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. :)

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  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.

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  6. Look - I found it! Just Google for "ghost cake sugar cube egg shells" :) http://travelinoma.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/ghost-cake.html

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  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!

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  8. He's cute! Was there any gin in the cake the second time??! hehe

    ....to 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! :)

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Say something sweet! Or, you know, not.