Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

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Last week, I decided to spoil myself to an extravagant, over-the-top 3 tiered cake for my birthday this year. I don’t usually make cakes; honestly, I’m more of a fan of French pastries like double-baked almond croissants and macarons. However, I came across fellow Vancouverite Coco Cake Land’s cake and I was immediately hooked! Both her and Katherine Sabbath are bakers that we follow on Instagram who create unique and stylized cakes that are one-of-a-kind. I wanted to feature this cake because it’s a very visual, youthful and eye-popping cake which made me super duper happy to bake and eat!

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Wishing you an amazing year of good vibes, yummy eats, and a healthy journey ahead!

See y’all in 2015,

-matchachoco

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Vanilla Layer Cake (makes three 6-inch x 2-inch round cake layers)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

2 cups cake flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups of sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (I used 1 ž cups of 2% milk with 3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter all sides of three 6-inch round cake pans generously and line only bottoms with parchment paper.
  3. Prepare “buttermilk” by adding fresh lemon juice to the milk. Stir to combine and set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. Sift together both all-purpose and cake flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  7. At low speed, beat in the milk mixture and add in the flour mixture, alternating with dry and wet mixtures (ending with the dry). Mix until just incorporated.
  8. Pour batter in each pan (half way) and spread evenly with a spatula. Drop pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
  9. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and test doneness with a toothpick . Make sure there are no crumbs on the toothpick (a denser cake is desired for clean cutting).
  10. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans.
  11. Invert onto separate plates to cool and set aside the layers of cakes.

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Peanut Butter Frosting (makes enough for one – 3 layer cake)
Adapted from Coco Cake Land 

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of smooth peanut butter
2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. of milk
Pinch of salt

Directions

1. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter on high speed for 1 minute.
2. Add the icing sugar, vanilla , salt and milk, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minute.
3. Remove the first cake layer from the cake pan. Frost generously with peanut butter frosting. (Repeat for 2nd and 3rd layers).
4. Spread the frosting on the outer sides and smooth out the entire cake with an offset spatula.

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Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Coco Cake Land 

Ingredients

½ cup dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Trader Joe’s 70% cacao Dark Chocolate bars)
Ÿ cup unsalted butter, diced
1/8 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 tsp of whole milk

Directions

1. Fill a small pot with water and boil. Place the butter, chocolate, and vanilla in a heatproof glass bowl on top of the pot. Stir slowly until melted. Remove from stove and slowly stir in the milk (try to avoid curdling).
2. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
3. Pour glaze on top of the peanut butter frosting. With the assistance of an offset spatula, spread glaze to the edges of the cake and slowly let the chocolate drip on only a few sides of the cake.
4. Let cake set for 20 minutes.
5. Decorate the cake with meringue kisses, chocolate bark or sprinkles.
6. Serve immediately or cover and wrap the cake in saran wrap to prevent drying up in the refrigerator.

For the pretty chocolate bark decorations and cute meringue kisses, follow Coco Cake Land’s easy peasy recipes here and here!

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DIY Basketweave Birthday Cake

Back to food blogging! August has been quite an eventful month for me, so I didn’t really have that much time to play around in the kitchen. Fortunately I had a free day on my birthday a few days ago, so I took the opportunity to bake myself a DIY birthday cake. I settled for a small chocolate cake dressed up as a basket case with flowers on top :).

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This was my first attempt of doing a basket weave cake design, and although it had a few flaws, I was pretty content with how it turned out for a first try :P.

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I used a Swiss meringue buttercream technique for the frosting, while I stuck with my go-to chocolate cake recipe from Add a Pinch.

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The chocolate cake turned out pretty moist even after I refrigerated it, but I thought there was too much frosting for the amount of cake. Oh well, I’ll keep that in mind next time I make a cake :P.

Here’s a step by step demonstration in photos of how to make basket weave patterns:

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Keep repeating until you’ve gone all over the cake.

Hope you’re having a great summer!

– Ricelessasian

Filipino Independence Day Swirl Cupcakes

It’s Independence Day in the Philippines today (June 12)!

These cupcakes were requested by my mom for a Filipino Independence Day party at work a few days ago. She also made the flag cupcake toppers too (about 40+ pieces of them)! I’ve never made this many cupcakes all by myself before (Matchachoco, where are you? lol), so I was pretty exhausted after all the baking and cleaning involved.

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I was a little disappointed with how the frosting on the cupcakes turned out though. For some reason, the red food colouring turned out pink, and the blue food colouring gave me this baby blue tint, quite far from the solid red and blue colours of the Filipino flag. I still couldn’t figure out this frosting puzzle, despite using gel food colouring, which is pretty strong and concentrated compared to liquid food colouring. It seemed that the more I added food colouring, the frosting just turned into a bolder colour of pink and baby blue, but not a solid red or blue. Any advice? I also didn’t want to add more food colouring because it’s something I try not to use a lot of for baking (that’s why we’re on the look out for natural alternatives). Oh well, at least the swirl design turned out very colourful and festive 😛

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As usual, I used this chocolate cupcake recipe as my go-to cake recipe with cooked frosting. Now I’ve used this cooked frosting recipe a couple of times already with success, but for some reason they turned out somewhat bland this time. I’m assuming it had something to do with the type of butter, the food coloring, or the type of vanilla extract I used. Despite that, the frosting turned out very light and fluffy, but stable at the same time. If done properly, this frosting should taste reminiscent of sweetened whipped cream (I once used vanilla bean paste to flavour the cooked frosting and someone commented that it tasted like the vanilla bean frappuccino from Starbucks). It is also not overly sweet like the regular homemade buttercream frosting, which is what I like about this frosting.

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To get the swirled look: Divide frosting into 3 bowls. Tint one bowl of frosting with red food colouring, and tint the other with blue food colouring. Leave one bowl of the frosting with no food colouring. Using a piping bag with a 1M piping tip, fill 1/3 of the side of the piping bag with blue frosting, 1/3  with red frosting, and 1/3 with uncoloured frosting. Make sure that the different frosting colours remain separate in the piping bag. Before piping the frosting to the cupcakes, pipe frosting on a clean plate first as a trial. Usually, only one colour appears first. Pipe until all three colours appear. Once all three colours appear, pipe frosting to the cupcakes and sprinkle each cupcake with a generous amount of yellow sugar sprinkles.

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Happy Independence Day!

– Ricelessasian

Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana “Dibs”

These taste just like banana split!

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I saw this idea as I was browsing through Instagram and I thought that these would be a great snack to have around in the freezer (also because I wanted to make use of the bananas I have at home before they become overripe). They remind me of those bite-size Dibs frozen dessert but these are made with fruits instead :D.

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I thought of adding freeze dried strawberries to the idea. Although the freeze dried strawberries were intended to be used as a garnish, I was pleasantly surprised that its addition would result with something reminiscent of banana split. If you can’t find freeze dried strawberries, crushed nuts would also work. Better yet, top these treats with both freeze dried strawberries and crushed nuts for the ultimate banana split flavour! I know I would have if I only thought of that idea before taking the photos :P.

Just going bananas,

– Ricelessasian

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Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana “Dibs” 

Ingredients

1 banana
~ 100 g  chopped dark chocolate
Chopped freeze dried strawberries and/or chopped nuts

Directions

  1. Prepare baking tray with parchment paper. Chop banana crosswise into 20 pieces.
  2. Using a ramekin or a small deep bowl, microwave chocolate every 30 seconds, mixing the chocolate in between until it has fully melted.
  3. Using two forks, dip chopped banana pieces one at a time into the melted chocolate. Place chocolate covered banana pieces on top of the parchment paper. Top with a generous amount of freeze dried strawberries while the chocolate has not yet set.
  4. Freeze until the bananas become frozen.  Do not thaw; these taste better frozen!

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Giant Birthday Cupcake!

This month has been an incredibly busy time for us! After final exams in April, we headed to Vancouver for a very special celebration and our first cupcake order. The birthday girl, Samantha, was turning 1 and her mother requested a gigantic ‘smash’ cupcake to celebrate the occasion.

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A few weeks prior, Ricelessasian and I made a prototype of the giant cupcake for practice. I’ve made many regular-sized cupcakes before, but I was really excited to finally make such a massive cupcake! Luckily, Ricelessasian has had experience making one before so, we weren’t so ‘lost’ in the whole baking and molding process of the cupcake.

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Aren’t these funky and vintage-y cake stands so cute? For the party decor, our client also requested that we integrate the new OhJoy! decor line from Target. We happily obliged because all the pieces are incredibly adorable!!

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We decided to use this recipe , one – because of the enticing title and two – because vegan ingredients were requested for the giant cupcake (with the exception of the sprinkles). Personally, I think I will definitely use this recipe again one day. The title of the recipe did not lie! The texture of the cupcake was moist and chewy – which was very different from the cupcakes we have made in the past, in a positive sense. I must admit – we had a good chuckle during the baking process because of the unique baking method 😉 (refer to Step 1). For the frosting, we made vegan buttercream using this guide.

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The other regular-sized cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes with matcha frosting) were for the guests of the birthday party. We used our go-to chocolate cake recipe with a matcha cooked frosting.  I think they were a bit hit, as some of the friends took a few cupcakes to-go!

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The birthday girl, Samantha, didn’t end up smashing the giant cake, after all. She may have been too lady-like to ruin it or perhaps she thought it was too pretty to eat like I did. Haha!

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H-o-o-r-a-y!! These were the perfect decorations for the simple yet sophisticated matcha cupcakes.

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We made certain improvements to the giant cupcake we served after making the prototype one. For instance, we made the frosting colour more vibrant (more green and pink), created more defined ruffles at the bottom of the cupcake and added flowers made from vegan frosting to the top of the cupcake. Organizing all the little details that were involved with putting the cupcake together were well worth it 😀 Needless to say, we were happy about how the end product turned out. We hope all the guests and the birthday girl enjoyed it as well!

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Thanks for reading and hope you had a wonderful Victoria Day long weekend,

-Matchachoco

Mini Strawberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake

Happy New Year!

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While special occasions like Christmas and birthdays seem to have more obvious themed-desserts, it’s difficult to decide on an appropriate dessert to make for New Year’s.  For some reason, celebrating the New Year seems to call for a bit of sparkle to cap off a year of work, gained experiences and appreciation for the people in your life.

I have been meaning to experiment with this “New” Lindt Strawberry White Chocolate bar and found this as the perfect occasion to experiment, for a sophisticated dessert for New Year’s. Though Ricelessasian has previously used this product on a few occasions, it was my first time trying it out. Normally I don’t enjoy white chocolate on its own, because it is overly sweet sometimes, but the latest product had small bits of strawberries in it which I thought would be definitely worth the try!

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I decided to use the Strawberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake recipe from this amazing food blog called Dailydelicious.

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The cheesecake was so creamy and luscious, with a mild, not overpowering strawberry flavour. I really enjoy using the strawberry white chocolate because it’s quite versatile – it would be perfect to use in cupcake frosting. This would be an elegant dessert to serve to family and friends on New Year’s with a glass of bubbly!

Happy 2014 everyone,

– Matchachoco

Christmas Yule Log Cake (Buche de Noel)

It ain’t Christmas season without some serious baking!

The idea of a Yule log cake has fascinated me since I got into baking as a hobby, and after watching Gretchen’s tutorial from Woodland Bakery, I was finally inspired to make it. After all, roll cakes are easier to make than layered cakes, and what fun is it to dress it up like a log!

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To make the Yule log stand out, I added edible cake toppers using Santa strawberries and meringue mushrooms. I also added some raspberries. The “Merry Xmas” sign was made with chocolate and white chocolate with freeze-dried strawberries. I like to have all the decorations in my Yule log edible, and what I like about them is that they don’t require artificial food dyes.

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Until now, I’m still so amused with the meringue mushrooms. The ‘dirt’ is actually cocoa powder. You can probably trick people into thinking they’re real mushrooms 😛

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For the roll cake, I used Cooking with Dog’s roll cake recipe as a reference, and substituted the matcha powder with cocoa powder. The cake turned out to be light and not too sweet, similar to those cakes sold in Asian bakeries. Did I mention that Matchachoco and I are huge fans of light Asian style cakes?

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This was my first Yule log attempt, and although it was quite time consuming to make, I really enjoyed making it. I honestly had a difficult time photographing the Yule log as it seems like I can’t find the perfect Christmas-themed background for it. I can’t wait to make another Yule log (maybe next year?), and hopefully by that time, I would have improved the Yule log baking and photography.

Happy baking and happy holidays,

-Ricelessasian

IMG_1217Chocolate Roll Cake
Adapted from Cooking with Dog

Ingredients

4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tbsp. cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees F.  Prepare a 17”x 11” baking sheet with parchment paper.  Grease parchment paper with oil.
  2. Combine cake flour and cocoa powder, and sift them together 2-3 times.
  3. In a bowl, beat egg whites with an electric beater until foamy. Continue to beat, gradually adding half the sugar (1/4 cup), until stiff peaks form.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and the half of the sugar (1/4 cup) until the egg yolks have increased in volume.  Whisk the cake flour mixture to the egg yolks.
  5. Fold 1/3 of the meringue (whipped egg whites) into the egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated. Do this repeatedly with the rest of the meringue, 1/3 at a time, until fully incorporated.
  6. Carefully spread the batter to the baking sheet with a spatula, making sure the batter does not deflate. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway, or until the cake springs back when it is touched.  Make sure you do not overbake or the roll cake will crack when you roll it out.
  7. After baking, immediately transfer the cake to a flat surface and cover it with another baking tray. This will prevent the cake from drying out and maintain its flexibility. Cover until the cake is cool enough.

Chocolate custard cream (used as the filling for the Yule log)
Adapted from Cooking with Dog

Ingredients

2 egg yolks
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup milk, warm
~50 g chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Sift together flour and cocoa powder.
  2. Pour about 1/4 cup of the milk to the egg yolks, and whisk them together. Whisk the flour mixture. Add the remaining milk, and whisk until fully incorporated. Strain the mixture and transfer to a sauce pan.
  3. Heat the mixture in a sauce pan, continually stirring, until you get a thick consistency. While the custard is still hot, add the chocolate and mix it to the custard until the chocolate fully melts.
  4. Transfer the custard to a shallow bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic wrap touching the top surface of the custard; this will prevent a ‘skin’ from forming on the top surface of the custard.  Refrigerate the custard until chilled.
  5. In a bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream to the chilled custard until fully combined. Fold the remaining whipped cream to the custard. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chocolate Ermine Frosting (used to frost the Yule log)
Adapted from Yoyomax12

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla extract. Continue beating until most of the sugar has dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together milk and flour. Heat milk and flour mixture in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir the mixture continuously until the mixture thickens into a paste.
  3. Transfer milk and flour mixture into a bowl and let cool. Stir it occasionally to make the cooling process faster.
  4. Once cooled, add the milk and flour mixture to the creamed butter and beat them together.Add cocoa powder and continue to beat. The frosting should have a light fluffy consistency.

TIP:  If you end up with a runny frosting, refrigerate or put the frosting in the freezer for a few minutes.  Beat the frosting again after taking it out of the fridge until you get a light fluffy consistency.

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To assemble the roll cake, spread the filling all over the top surface of the cake. Tightly roll the cake. Wrap the roll cake with parchment paper and plastic wrap, so that it remains tight. Freeze the roll cake.

Once frozen, cut the sides of the roll cake to make it shaped like a log. Attach the sliced parts of the cake to the side and top of the roll cake, using frosting as the glue. Frost the cake with the frosting, copying the texture of a log. Attach the edible designs to the cake, and dust with cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

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Instructions for the santa strawberries can be found here. Gretchen from Woodland Bakery has a very informative tutorial on how to make the meringue mushrooms. She used a Swiss meringue method for making the meringue, but if you don’t have a candy thermometer or don’t want to go through all the trouble of heating the sugar and egg whites, you can use the French meringue method, which is what I usually do when I make meringue cookies.

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Strawberries and Cream Santa

Merry Christmas! 🙂

In continuation with the Christmas themed baking, here are strawberries and cream Santas! I got the idea from seeing these somewhere online, and I thought that they’d make a cute decorative topper for the Yule log I made.

Wishing you a happy holiday,

-Ricelessasian

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Matcha Christmas Tree Cupcakes

O’Christmas tree, o’christmas tree…

It’s our favourite time of the year! For UCL’s first Christmas post, Ricelessasian and I decided to make our signature Matcha Chocolate Cupcakes…with a twist of course!

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Besides the natural green colour matcha provides, we love using it because it gives a subtle hint of tea flavour when used in small quantities. It’s a versatile ingredient that goes well with anything really, even mixed in oatmeal! I usually buy my premium matcha powder from Ten Ren Tea shop and it lasts for at least a year, which gives me plenty of time to make them frequently for birthdays or other events.

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To fit the theme of Christmas, we piped the cupcakes frosting into the shape of a tree and everything else fell into place. Honestly, half of the fun was going with Ricelessasian to Bulk-barn to buy all the neat little decorations – the tiny gingerbread men, the miniature snow-flakes and the red glitter! We had a blast shopping for what decorations would be on our ‘Matcha tree’ so much that we were giddy when we left the store!

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For the chocolate cupcake base, we used the same chocolate cupcake recipe from our Ghostly Halloween cupcakes.

For the matcha frosting,  the frosting has to have a fluffy, stable consistency so it can be piped into a tree. We recommend using an American buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream, or Ermine frosting recipe. Omit the vanilla flavouring and add matcha powder 1 teaspoon at a time to the frosting recipe according to your liking. The frosting we used for the photos is Swiss meringue buttercream.

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To give the cupcakes a snowy effect, we sprinkled them with powdered sugar.

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We’d love to hear what you’re baking this holiday season! Feel free to leave us a comment 🙂 Keep posted for our upcoming entries this month and the exciting things that are store for us in 2014!

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Happy holidays and as always, happy baking,

-Matchachoco

Halloween Baking!

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Trick or treat!

This Halloween, Matchachoco and I participated in our program’s Halloween themed bake sale. I whipped up some ghostly chocolate cupcakes, while Matchachoco made some mini pumpkin tarts. Actually, it was very sneaky of her because she didn’t even tell me she was going to bake something!

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She made the tarts using the extra filling for the pumpkin empanadas we made for a school event, and added some condensed milk to it. The tart crust was already premade, but the lattice design on top was handmade by Matchachoco using this recipe. Cutenesss! We would have made a blog post about it, but it was one of Matchachoco’s impromptu baking adventures.

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As for me, I made some chocolate cupcakes with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. I topped the cupcakes with meringue cookie ghosts. I’m always looking for a good chocolate cake recipe, and I think I may have just found my go-to recipe. Aside from requiring ingredients that I usually have at home, the process is relatively simple compared to other chocolate cake recipes. I also like how it uses oil instead of butter. The result was a dense, moist cake with a strong chocolate flavour. This is the first time I used this chocolate cupcake recipe, and I’m glad it wasn’t a fail, whew! For the frosting, let’s just say that I’m not a huge fan of the typical frosting made with butter and powdered sugar, so I like it complicated 😛

Anyways, without much further ado, here’s the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes.

– Ricelessasian

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Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 24 cupcakes)
 Recipe from Add a Pinch

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder. Whisk the ingredients together.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to the mixture of dry ingredients. Mix together on medium speed until well combined.
  4. Reduce the speed and slowly add the boiling water. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to incorporate air to the cake batter.
  5. Fill cupcake liners žths full, and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the cupcake comes out clean or with moist crumbs.

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream (enough to frost 20-24 regular size cupcakes) Adapted from Yoyomax12

A little info about the Swiss meringue buttercream method: The idea behind the method is to incorporate butter and meringue to create a smooth, not-too-sweet, frosting consistency. I find that this frosting may too buttery for others when it’s just flavoured with vanilla extract, so I often use this method when there’s enough flavour to mask the buttery taste, such as this chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream recipe.

This frosting has a subtle chocolate flavour, so add more cocoa powder or dark chocolate if you’d like.

Ingredients

4 egg whites or 8 tbsp. of pasteurized liquid egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup softened butter, cut into cubes
~50 g 72% dark chocolate, melted
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Using a double boiler, heat together egg whites with sugar. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. If using raw egg whites, heat until the egg whites have reached a temperature of 160 degrees F for food safety.
  2. Remove egg whites from heat, and beat until the egg whites form a stiff meringue.
  3. While beating, gradually add softened cubes of butter. Keep beating until you get a smooth frosting consistency.
  4. Add melted chocolate and cocoa powder. Beat until fully incorporated.

Tips:

  • If the frosting starts to look curdled after you added the butter to the meringue, keep beating! Don’t worry, it’s just a phase.  It’ll still transform into a smooth frosting consistency if you keep beating.
  • If the frosting is too runny, refrigerate for a few minutes or put in the freezer for about a minute or less. Take the frosting out when it starts to stiffen a bit, but not solid. Beat the frosting again until you get a smooth consistency.

Meringue Ghosts
Meringue recipe from here

Using a piping bag with a round tip, pipe small dollops of meringue in the shape of ghosts. Once the meringue cookies have been baked, draw the ghost faces using a toothpick and melted chocolate.

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