Monthly Archives: May 2012

Red Velvet | I love you

Standard

Photo by Lisa Djan via Pinterest

Ahhh Red Velvet cupcakes, delicious, delectable and totally adorable. These chocolaty, buttery, moist cupcakes are perfect for weddings and other special occasions (or just for all day, any day). They are delicate and with a winning recipe they can make any afternoon tea a lot more interesting.  

I start to get a bit itchy if I haven’t baked anything in a while so I decided to make some cupcakes. I’ve found that when baking simple, uncomplicated recipes always provide the most satisfying and flavoursome results. Red Velvet cupcakes are a little more sophisticated than your standard vanilla cupcake but are still very simple in terms of baking. It is the presentation and decorating that gives them the edge and makes them stand above other cupcakes, all the other cupcakes (apart from rainbow cupcakes, they are just awesome).

Red velvet cupcakes are a classic afternoon tea accompaniment. They are red in colour yet chocolaty in taste and are covered with a gorgeous cream cheese frosting. I used the BBC GoodFood recipe as a reference because it was uncomplicated and recipes from this website always come with a good reputation and lots of user comments. I adapted the recipe to make less, here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 30ml red food colouring
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (good quality) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

I also used cupcake tins rather than muffin tins so that they were a little bit smaller (I like lots of frosting to cupcake ratio). You make this recipe like any other cupcake recipe except you’ll have an extra addition to the method; the best way to evenly distribute the chocolate flavouring and red colouring without ruining the texture of the cupcake is to make a paste with the cocoa powder and colouring. You can then add this mixture directly after beating in the eggs. Making the perfect frosting can definitely make or break this recipe too, here’s what you’ll need for the frosting:

  • 100g unsalted butter, not margarine
  • 200g cream cheese, mascarpone is by far the best
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The consistency of the frosting should be thick, thick enough to pop in a pipping bag and hold its shape when it’s piped onto the cupcakes. To avoid melting the frosting make sure the cupcakes have cooled after the oven for at least half an hour. I had a bit of fun and experimented with some silver spray-in-a-can food colouring, this was something everyone who ate them commented on, and it went down a treat with the guys at work!

These cupcakes are truly scrumptious and utterly easy to make. The addition of buttermilk in the recipe makes the cupcakes irresistibly moist and the chocolate flavour is unexpected and an added surprise with every bite. These are great if you want to make an impression with your baking, simple yet effective. The frosting is fluffy and works perfectly with the moist cupcake underneath, add a touch of cinnamon to the frosting if you want to spice it up a little. I didn’t add enough food colouring so mine were a little dull, it’d be a good idea to test one cupcake out beforehand to see the colour – I’ll do this next time.

These cupcakes go so well with a lovely cup of chai tea latte, be careful though as one Red Velvet cupcake is never enough (hence why I cut down my ingredient portions)!

Have you got any additions or twists on this popular classic recipe? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from all the fellow baking bloggers out there!

New Year’s Resolution: Bread 4 of 12: Breakfast Rolls

Standard

Went a bit mental with the flour

To save some money here and there on lunches I decided to make some soup. Jamie Oliver’s tomato soup recipe is simple, easy and delicious! I made a huge batch of it, enough to last the whole week with some left over for the boyfriend. After a couple of days of soup without the accompaniment of bread I started to get a little bored and craved it a bit. To continue my money-saving streak I had a quick sift through my cupboards and decided I had everything I needed to make some bread. 

I got out my trusty bread recipe book that I bought a couple of months ago and had a look at recipes that might go with my soup. I decided on a simple bread recipe to go with my simple soup, lovely fluffy breakfast rolls or ‘baps’ as they are known in Scotland. They are really easy to make and went perfectly with the tomato soup. As always, I added a couple of things to the recipe to change it up a bit, here are my ingredients:

 

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 150g melted butter
  • 5 g dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp black pepper
  • bunch of basil leaves, chopped

I added the black pepper and basil to the recipe, mostly because my basil plant looked like it wanted to be used and I thought the black pepper would compliment the tomato soup. I was really stringent with the method this time. I left the dough to rise and re-rise for as long as possible and pre-heated the oven well in advance. The recipe suggested the rolls would take 20-25 minutes to cook but mine took 35 minutes, I think this is due to my rubbish oven rather than the recipe being inaccurate. I also had the oven turned up high for the first 10 minutes to crisp up the top.

The result? I was extremely happy with my bread rolls, they had the best texture out of any of the breads I’ve made so far this year. They were extremely fluffy, not dense at all. Having the oven up high for the first 10 minutes of cooking meant I had a lovely, golden, crusty tops to my baps. Another tip to perfect this is to sprinkle a bit of cold water on the dough when you first put it in the oven. I was really happy with my addition of basil and pepper, especially the pepper as it worked really well when you spread the bread with butter and dipped in the soup.

Breakfast Rolls with Black Pepper & Basil

I had a bread roll with my soup for the rest of the week and saved loads of money! This recipe proves that bread doesn’t have to be complicated to be perfect. This simple recipe was the best attempt at baking bread so far and I think my strictness with the method, rising times and oven temperature really made a difference.

What is your favourite kind of bread to serve with soup? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you 🙂