What? This doesn’t look like a birthday cake? To me it screams “I have a Christmastime birthday!”
Anna really really really wanted this Halloween cake for her birthday. I figured, you only turn 3 once! And her big birthday meal where she gets to eat anything she wants? Hot dogs! I do believe that might be the perfect third birthday.
The more I stare at these ghosts the more they look like thug snowmen with sunglasses. Perhaps Anna was going for a winter theme after all. Or maybe she’s rebelling against having a birthday so close to Christmas. Whatever it is, I love it.
This was my first foray into the world of Seven-Minute Frosting, which is essentially meringue that tastes just okay but looks really cute. There is some technique involved with preparing it, but it’s not too hard. And the frosting is actually quite forgiving. If you mess up, just scoop it off the cake, smooth everything out and start again. I made a LOT of awful looking ghosts before reaching the final product!
I got the idea for this cake from Cakes for Kids by Matthew Mead. LOVE THIS BOOK. This ghosty cake is an angel food cake with frosting filled in the hole. I doubled the frosting recipe below so I was sure to have enough, but make sure you use a large bowl because it made a LOT of fluffy frosting. I used a big ziploc bag with a smallish hole cut in the corner to pipe the ghosts.
One birthday cake down, one to go…
This version is from Cakes for Kids, and I paraphrased a bit here and there
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1/3 cup cold water
– 2 egg whites
– 1/4 tsp cream of tartar OR 2 tsp light corn syrup
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix sugar, water, egg whites and cream of tartar/corn syrup in the top of a double boiler or a heat proof bowl that can be set over a simmering pot of water. Using an hand mixer on low speed, beat for 30 seconds.
Boil some water in the bottom of a double boiler or in a pot. Place the top of the double boiler or bowl on top. Cook over medium heat, constantly beating with the hand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (probably 7-10 minutes for a single batch). Remove from heat, fold in vanilla then beat again for 2 minutes. Let frosting cool to warm or room temperature before working with it. Discard leftover frosting.
The frosting is perishable, so make it the day you plan to serve it and refrigerate any leftovers.
Addendum: This cake did not taste great. Anna hardly ate any. The frosting is just so sweet. The angel food was yummy, but the combo of the frosting and the cake was just a little dry and too sweet. HOWEVER…I’ve been thinking about it – if there had been sliced strawberries to top on each slice, it would have been much better. Next time…