Don’t be afraid of these friendly ghosts — they are easy to make. Creating enough to cover and peek out from behind a cake takes no time at all, especially with help from junior chefs. White frosting makes them look right at home. Or make individual cakes, using either mini muffins (as directed below) or a twelve-cup standard muffin tin; if making standard-size, bake them for about twenty minutes.
Makes three 6-inch layers or about 6 dozen mini cupcakes
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners” sugar
1) Put cream cheese and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Use immediately.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners” sugar
1) Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Let stand until just warm, 10 to 15 minutes.
2) Put cream cheese and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Mix in melted chocolate until combined. Use immediately.
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
- 2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for pans
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 6-inch round cake pans. Dust with cocoa powder, and tap out excess; set aside. Alternatively, line six mini muffin tins with paper liners.
2)Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
3) Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk. Mix until just combined. Divide batter evenly among pans (about 2 cups batter per pan) or lined muffin cups (about 1 tablespoon batter per cup).
4) Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes for cake layers and 14 to 16 minutes for mini cupcakes. Let cool in pans or muffin tins on a wire rack. Decorate as desired.
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