Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Baking for Beginners: Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost Cakes

Who you gonna call? Cakebusters! 

I am extraordinarily proud of these adorable little dudes. In fact, when I told a friend today that they were perhaps the pinnacle of my baking life, he responded by telling me they were the pinnacle of not only my baking life, but my ENTIRE life. I don't know where to go from here. I MADE GLOW-IN-THE-DARK GHOST CAKES!

A minor technicality, these do not glow in the dark of their own accord. They need a blacklight to activate the quinine in the icing (just like our glow in the dark gin jelly). But Glow-in-the-Blacklight Ghost Cakes just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it? And I'd have to poison you to make them glow by themselves. Don't make me poison you. Just get your hands on a blacklight, and get glowing!

Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost Cakes (makes 12 large or 24 small cupcakes)
You will need:
  • 12 cupcakes, or 24 fairy cakes, baked and cooled (Reader, I bought mine ready-made and I have no shame. We have approx. 2,459 cupcake recipes* to choose from, if you're less of a lazy beastie than me)
    Actual number may vary, but probably only slightly.
  • 300g unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
  • Around 500g icing sugar, although the exact quantity is all a bit experimental. Have plenty on hand, is what I'm saying!
  • 4 tbsp tonic water - this is the magic that makes your ghosts glow
Props and equipment
  • Googly eyes x 24 or 48, depending on your number of cakes (buy them at Hobbycraft, Paperchase or larger supermarkets. You can even get edible ones! Or just use chocolate chips for eyes)
  • A blacklight - I used a UV torch. Maplin is a good bet!
  • Piping bag and a large round nozzle
Make it!
    Just two glowing ghosties, hanging out
  1. Arrange your cupcakes somewhere spacious and flat. This is now your glow-in-the-dark ghost factory.
  2. Beat the butter, 300g of the icing sugar, and the tonic water until smooth. 
  3. Start adding more icing sugar, bit by bit, and whisking it in until you have a goodly thick buttercream icing that can hold a peak. If you think all that icing sugar is making the icing a bit too sweet for your tastes, substitute cornflour for this step.
  4. It's a good idea at this point to test the glowingness of your icing, by switching off the lights and shining your UV light on it. Add a little more tonic if you're not happy with the glow to non-glow ratio.
  5. Fill your piping bag with icing, and pipe a ghost shape atop each cupcake. It might take a bit of practice; remember you can dump any failed icing attempts back in the bowl and reuse the cupcake base for a second try. I found it best to start in the centre and swirl around and up three times, leaving a half-centimetre gap around the edge to allow for spreadage. 
  6. Add two googly eyes to each cake. PLEASE remember to ask people to remove them before chowing down. Sometimes people can be very silly.
  7. Turn off the lights. Turn on your blacklight and ta-da - they glow!  
And when the lights go up... you wouldn't suspect a thing
Happy Hallowe'en, everyone!

15 comments:

  1. These are SO CUTE. Laura, what does the icing taste of? Does it taste of just butter icing, or are they a little bit tonic-y? Not that I could eat them. Nope. They're too adorable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I can't detect the tonic at all - it tastes like normal buttercream icing to me! I've only had one because I'm enjoying looking at their cute wee faces.

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  2. If you substitute chocolate chips for the googly eyes you can eat them :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura mentions choc chips and edible eyes. I think the edible eyes would be very easy (and cheap) to make from a sheet of rice paper and a non-toxic pen.
      I'm SO looking forward to the (possible) glow-in-the-dark Christmas snowmen!!

      Delete
    2. Hello Anon 1 and Anon 2! Indeed, choc chips are a super eye choice - I couldn't resist googly ones, though!

      Great idea to make your own edible eyes - a black icing pen (or food colouring applied with a fine paintbrush) would work on rice paper. And yes to glowing snowmen!

      Delete
  3. God those are adorbs I want them as pets! Wonder if the quinine trick would work with meringue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was wondering the same about marshmallow!

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    2. So just glow in the dark EVERYTHING, then?

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    3. I can't see a reason why it wouldn't work! As long as the base product is white (I think in coloured things the quinine won't glow), it should be possible!

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Victoria - they are pretty adorable! And tasty too!

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  5. I just got all excited about making these before someone told me that not all tonic water has quinine in it anymore...
    Did you use a particular brand?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I didn't know that! I used Tesco's own, full strength (not slimline!). I shone my blacklight on the bottle and it was crazy-blue-glowing, so it must be packed with the stuff!

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    2. So we should all take out torches with us to Tesco?

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    3. Yes! Ask them to turn off the lights throughout the store. It'll add a little excitement to the other shoppers' trip down the aisles. They might actually trip, though.

      Delete

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