Ghost Meringues

20151024-191517-69317555.jpgHalloween is coming!!
I am excited for halloween. Not because of the candies since we don’t celebrate halloween here in Indonesia, but I’ve always love to go with a theme, for example if it’s summer, I’ll make a super summer dessert, or if it’s valentine I’ll paint my nails with all those pink-red-white-purple colour and with hearts and all…
So I am excited for Halloween for all the Halloween stuff I’m gonna bake. This is one of them. Easy ghost meringues.

I made a lot of pastry cream a few weeks back and I end up with loads of egg whites. And so I decided to make meringues, since halloween is coming, why not make something ghostly?

20151024-233836-85116564.jpgThis sweet treat is simple. The ingredients are just egg whites and sugar. I adapted this recipe from the meringue girls and the quantity is just super easy to remember. It is 1 part egg whites to 2 parts sugar. So I would suggest you weighing the egg whites first then just multiply by 2.

20151027-234213-85333729.jpgNext is to incorporate the sugar with the egg whites and beat them away!

This is just a basic recipe of making meringue. You can apply this on making macarons, the top of lemon meringue pie, or just any other meringue desserts really.

Here are some important notes you need to keep in mind when making meringue:
1. Be sure that the bowl and the whisk you’re going to use is grease and water free. Be sure to wipe the bowl clean and to be safe, wipe the bowl and whisk with some vinegar to get rid of any invisible grease left in the bowl.
2. Do not use plastic bowl. It might works but to be sure, use aluminium or even better, copper instead. Plastic bowls usually traps oil so it is harder to get rid of the grease that will prevent the egg whites to get fluffy. Aluminium is great but often times that it gives the meringue a grey tinge. Copper would work best but it is quite expensive.
3. Make sure there are NO YOLKS even the slightest little drop of it. This will also prevent the egg whites from whipping up.
4. Heat the sugar before adding it to the egg whites. This way the sugar will dissolve faster and no gritty meringue. Just put the sugar on a grease proof paper and pop it in the oven with the temperature of 200c for 5 minutes until the edges starting to melt.

That’s about it! Now let’s get whipping!

20151028-001653-1013309.jpgWhip them until all the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites has reached a stiff peaks.

20151028-002001-1201509.jpgPut them in a pipping bag with a round tip.

I love to use this hack of putting the pastry bag into a glass rather than having one hand holding them and the other scooping.

20151028-002955-1795449.jpgNow pipe the meringues into a ghost shape! Just pipe them close to the pan then pull up as you squeeze. Then just draw the faces with food colouring. Or if you want, bake them first then draw the faces with black coloured royal icing.

20151028-003247-1967623.jpgBoo!

20151028-010203-3723638.jpg

20151028-010204-3724241.jpgHappy Halloween everybody!

Trick or treats? 🎃

20151028-145837-53917164.jpg

Ghost meringues recipe
Adapted from meringue girls recipe.

Ingredients:
• 30g egg whites (around 1 large egg)
• 60g sugar
• Black food coloring or black royal icing

How to make:
1) Spread the sugar evenly on a parchment paper then heat it on a 200°C or 400°F for about 5 minutes until the edges of the sugar begins to melt.
2) Whip the egg whites into soft peaks then start adding the sugar little by little. Beat until stiff peaks (when you pull the beater, the egg white peaks stays standing ) and all the sugar has dissolved (when you rub the mixture between your finger there are no more gritty bits).
3) Put the egg whites into a pipping bag with a round tip, then start piping the ghost on a parchment paper by squeezing quite close to the pan and pulling up as you go.
4) (optional) draw the faces of the ghost with black food coloring.
5) Bake at 130°C or 270°F for about an hour (basically just drying them. They are done when they can easily be pulled off from the sheets).
6) (optional) once cooled, draw the faces with black royal icing.

Red Velvet Cake

20150917-011014-4214147.jpg Elegant, moist, and super appealing. The red velvet got it’s name for a reason. The signature bright red colour and the velvety texture it has.
And the best part of a red velvet is it’s best friend, none other than creamy and smooth cream cheese!

I made butter and buttermilk yesterday and I thought why not make red velvet cake?

Let me tell you something about red velvets and this cake recipe in particular is very moist.

So the second time I made red velvet was for cake pops, using this very same recipe. It did not work out. Like at all. The cake was too moist , and oh dear me who didn’t realise it until I put some frosting in and only came to face the truth after trying so hard to stick the cake balls to the pop sticks. It kept falling off. I’ve refrigerate it, and the moment it thaw during the waiting for the chocolate coating, they just slides downwards from the stick.

So this recipe is not advisable for cake pops. Well you can.. Probably…. Just adjust the amount of oil when baking and the amount of frosting to form the cake pops. Haven’t tried it..

I made a red velvet related recipe as one of my very first post. It is a triple layer cheesecake which got a chocolate biscuit base, red velvet cake bottom and a creamy cheesecake filling. And I do promise to maybe post about a red velvet recipe someday so here it is.

So for the red velvet cake, the ingredients needed are:

20150922-005315-3195037.jpgVegetable oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, red food colouring, eggs, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.

The thing that makes this cake red (other than the food coloring) and moist is all the work of science.

The cocoa powder, buttermilk and vinegar act as the acids react together with the baking soda causes the red colour and the moist texture of the cake.

20150922-010548-3948119.jpgSo now that we got the ingredients prepped, the making of the red velvet cake is super easy all you need to do first is sift the dry ingredients and whisk them together.

20150922-014956-6596608.jpg

20150923-183519-66919217.jpgAnd then whisk all the wet ingredients.

Adjust the colour but remember that the red will be darker once incorporated with the dry ingredients

20150923-183240-66760961.jpgthen the last step is just pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Couldn’t be easier

20150923-183426-66866837.jpgWhisk until everything is incorporated.

Look at that bright red colour!

I kept thinking about “roses are red, violet are blue” whenever I typed “red” even though I can’t make out the rest of the poem (I’m bad at finding things that rhymes)

Anyway bake the cake, cool it off, level it then on to the layering the cake

20150923-184444-67484093.jpgNow let’s talk about cream cheese.

The cream cheese buttercream I used for this recipe uses swiss meringue buttercream method because the usual cream cheese buttercream still requires at least 3 cups of icing sugar so it’s still is too sweet for me.
Swiss meringue method does requires more steps so feel free to use any cream cheese method that you like.

But seriously though anyway it is, cream cheese buttercream is good no matter what…
My. Favourite. Frosting. Of. All. Time.
I can say a cake is good just because of the cream cheese frosting.
Smooth… Creamy.. Cheesy.
Cream cheese is probably the only buttercream that I actually would finish without a trace.

Anyway a red velvet cake is not a red velvet without it’s classic pair, the cream cheese frosting.
They complete each other. Any red velvet inspired dessert should somewhat have something cream cheesy on it.
I won’t admit that it is a red velvet without the cream cheese. IT SHOULD BE AGAINST THE LAW.

20150924-014652-6412031.jpgAnyway moving on from my cream cheese rampage.
This to me, looks like a blank canvas, ready to be painted.

Layer the cake, then crumb coat it.
For those of you who doesn’t know crumb coating, it is applying a thin layer of cream all over the cake (it doesn’t have to be pretty and neat, just covered) then refrigerate the cake, once the frosting hardened, another layer of frosting can be apply. This ensures the cake to be neat and doesn’t have any cake bits on it especially working with dark coloured cakes or light coloured frosting.

A little tips, to make sure the cake layers is even, portion the buttercream, for example people use ice cream scooper to portion it. I usually use cups to portion my buttercream layers

Ignore my awful, duct taped spinning cake board. I got it from my aunt, and I am pretty sure that the cake board is at least as old as me.
But it has helped me like… A Lot
Still works perfectly well too so…..
20150924-021700-8220846.jpgThis part is optional but I got a lot of leftover cakes cutouts from leveling the red velvet cakes so I decided to make crunchy crumbs to decorate the side of the cake.

All I do is break the cake apart, them crumble it.
Bake them in a low temperature, basically just drying them so that the cake don’t lose their red colour.
I’ll explain the how to more on the recipe below.

20150924-022145-8505572.jpgPut a second coat of cream cheese frosting to the cake.

Next is the messy part, there are no neat way to do this so put a tray big enough to catch the cake crumbs that fell, then start scooping a handful of cake crumbs onto the sides of the cake, pushing slightly so that the crumbs sticks, try your best to cover everything.

20150924-144540-53140500.jpgOnce done, put the rest of the cream cheese into a pipping bag with a tip, then pipe rosettes on top of the cake.

Here’s a tip, do some research on how to pipe the rosettes and which pipping tip you want to use.

20150924-144830-53310221.jpg Pretty, elegant enough to impress, easy enough for beginners.

If you still have a lot of crumbs left that haven’t been dried, you can make cake truffles (that’s what I did with the leftovers), or the triple layer cheesecake, that’s why I made that cheesecake, it was because I had some cakes leftover.

Or if you have some crumbs that has been dried leftover, sprinkle it on ice cream, waffle, etc.

I’m thinking of making a post about what to do with leftover cakes. Maybe soon.

20150924-152123-55283584.jpgI’m ready to eat it…

20150924-153127-55887280.jpgTime to see how’s the inside look.

20150924-153213-55933421.jpg Red cakes layers goes contrast with the white frosting layers.

Well not the reddest red velvet cake, but I was too horrified to put too much red food colouring in. Well I could use beets but I don’t find and buy beets very often.

The first original red velvet cake was by a guy who sell food flavourings and food colourings. No wonder if the original recipe got a lot of food coloring in it.

20150925-003703-2223238.jpgI made another one of a different top design for my cousin’s birthday

Anyway have a great one everybody!

20150928-004922-2962278.jpg

Red Velvet Recipe
Makes 3 tiered 22cm in diameter cake

Ingredients

Red Velvet Cake
• 3 ¾ cups (480g) all purpose flour
• 2 ½ cups (500g) sugar
• 1½ tbsp (11g) cocoa powder
• 1½ tsp (7g) salt
• 1½ tsp (7g) baking soda
• 3 eggs
• 2¼ cups (540ml) vegetable oil
• 1½ cups (300ml) buttermilk
• 1½ tbsp (23ml) vinegar
• 2 tsp vanilla essence
• 2 tbsp red food colouring

Cream Cheese Buttercream
adapted from korenainthekitchen’s recipe
• 2 egg whites
• 120 g granulated sugar
• 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter (cubed and room temperature)
• 225g cream cheese (cubed and room temperature)
• 1 tsp vanilla essence

how to make:
The cake
1) Preheat the oven and smear 3 baking pans with non-stick pan release or butter all over the pan and line the bottom with parchment paper and coat the sides with flour.
2) Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder,salt and baking soda in a bowl then whisk to combine.
3) Whisk the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk,vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring until combined.
4) Pour the wet mixture to the dry mixture, whisk until combined.
5) Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake at 350°F or 180°C for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6) Once the cakes had cooled, level the top and make sure all the layers are even.
7) Crumble the leftover cakes from the leveled cakes and put them in a baking pan, spread evenly then dry them in an oven at 266°F or 130°C and leave the oven door slightly ajar for 1-2 hours (until the biggest chunk of the cake is crunchy)

The buttercream
1) In a heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar and whisk over a pan of simmering water, don’t let the bowl touch the water. Whisk until all of the sugar has dissolved (when you rub the mixture between your finger it is smooth).
2) Take the bowl off the heat, then whisk with an electric beater until stiff and glossy and the mixture is no longer hot
3) Beat the room temperature butter one cube at a time until all the butter has incorporated thoroughly.
4) In another bowl, beat the cream cheese until no big chunks left then start incorporating the meringue buttercream one spoon at a time until everything are well combined.
5) Add the vanilla and beat well. Store in the fridge until ready to use (thaw it first if it took more than 1 hour)

Assembly
1) In the plate you want to present the cake, smear a little bit of cream cheese in the bottom of the plate.
2) Put the first layer of the cake then put about 1-2 cups of frosting in between, evenly spread then put the second layer of cake, keep doing it until the last piece of cake.
3) Thinly spread the buttercream all over the cake (crumb coating) and put the cake in the fridge for about 1 hour.
4) Once cooled, spread the second coat of the buttercream.
5) Put a big tray on the bottom of the cake then start gently pushing handfuls of cake crumbs all over the sides of the cake until all around the sides of the cake has coated.
6) With the rest of the buttercream put in a piping bag, pipe rosettes on top of the cake.