Archive for the ‘f e s t i v e’ Category

r e d v e l v e t c a k e s

February 22, 2010

This is the recipe I used for the cupcakes I sold at the ShOP Valentine’s Day Baking Extravaganza I posted about earlier. This is a teeny bit more complicated than your standard cupcake recipe as there are a fair few ingredients and it calls for silly amounts of red food colouring (which ends in silly amounts of mess!). Typically red velvet recipes require buttermilk which is not an easy ingredient to obtain! So instead I am using a mixture of vinegar and milk which works as a perfect substitute in this case. I kept it simple, icing them in white vanilla butter frosting. The contrast of the white against the deep red sponge is gorgeous and works so well! 

 

 

R E D V E L V E T C A K E S

250g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1tsp baking soda

1 tsp maldon sea salt

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 bottles red food colouring (78ml)

115g butter

375g caster sugar

2 large eggs (or 3 small)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk

1 Tbsp white cider vinegar

1 tsp white cider vinegar

 

V A N I L L A F R O S T I N G

200g softened butter

200-300g sifted icing sugar

vanilla extract

milk

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line muffin trays with paper cases. Firstly you need to prepare the buttermilk S U B S T I T U T E. In a jug, add 1 Tbsp of the cider vinegar, and top up with the cup of milk. Leave it on the side for at least 10 minutes. It will thicken and look a bit lumpy, a bit like cultured yoghurt. This is OK.

Meanwhile, start to make the cake B A T T E R by sifting the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Gently combine the red food colouring and sifted cocoa powder together in a separate smaller bowl til smooth.

B E A T the butter and sugar til light and fluffy in another large mixing bowl. Gradually beat the eggs into this mixture, followed by the vanilla extract and red cocoa paste. Once combined, add a third of the flour mixture and mix well. Then add half of the milk and vinegar concoction. Stir well, then add another third of flour. Mix, then add the remaining milk. Finally, add the last of the flour and mix well to incorporate. 

 

 

Lastly, combine the tsp of baking soda with a tsp of cider vinegar in a cup, and once dissolved stir this into the cake batter. F I L L the paper cases about two thirds of the way up, and place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. You can test whether they’re done by pushing a toothpick or kebab stick into the centre of the sponge. If it comes out clean, they’re ready. These cakes do take a little longer to cook than conventional vanilla cup cakes!

C O O L the cakes in their tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 20. 

To make the F R O S T I N G , beat the butter in a bowl until it’s as white and smooth as you can possibly get it. This is a good time to be the proud owner of an electric mixer (Woe is me! ). Then sift in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, beating to incorporate it. Add a tsp of vanilla and beat it in until you reach a smooth spreadable consistency. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar; if it’s too stiff, add a splash of milk.

To D E C O R A T E , pipe icing onto the cooled cakes. Then decorate with any candy you can find! Hundreds and thousands, shavings of chocolate, sprinkles, jelly beans, smarties etc… I cut little hearts out of layers of licorice all-sorts and used them to decorate the centre of each cake. The world is your cupcake! 

 

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s t i l t o n a n d w a l n u t b i s c u i t s

December 18, 2009

 

These are becoming a December staple, and are a great alternative to the seasonal mince pie if your taste buds are more inclined towards nibbles of the savoury nature. They’re also a great addition to your festive cheese board; no need to get the cheese knife out, it’s already in the biscuit! They’re based on a pastry recipe so they’re light, flaky…. and packed full of flavour!

 

 

B I S C U I T P A S T R Y

2 cups plain flour

120g butter

130g stilton cheese

50g walnuts

2 egg yolks

 

T O P P I N G

1 egg, beaten

40g stilton cheese

50g walnuts

maldon sea salt


Preheat the oven to 175°C. To make the B I S C U I T P A S T R Y put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter in small dice. With your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour to form very fine crumbs. This takes a little patience! Chop the walnuts finely and add to the bowl along with the stilton, crumbled. Mix them into the crumbs with your fingertips. Add the two egg yolks and combine well to form a slightly crumbly dough mixture. It will fall apart easily, but should hold together enough for the purposes of rolling it out!

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry (this can be done in small batches) to approx 5mm thick. Using a round cutter or a glass which is about 5cm in diameter, press into the pastry to stamp out small rounds. Pop these onto a baking tray that’s lined with greaseproof paper.

For the T O P P I N G , firstly prick each biscuit gently twice with a fork. Brush them with the beaten egg. Chop the remaining 50g of walnuts, but not quite as fine as before. With your fingers, just crumble a small amount of stilton and walnuts over each biscuit, and then give a light sprinkling of maldon salt on top. Don’t bother crushing the sea salt too much between your fingers, it’s nice to see the larger crystals sitting on top of the biscuits.

To B A K E them, put them in the oven for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Place on a wire rack to cool, then store in airtight containers. They should last a few days, but that’s only if they’re not eaten first! Makes ~ 30.

 

 

g r r r r . . . a r g h ! c u p c a k e s

November 4, 2009

I spent a large part of last weekend fashioning faces for cupcakes. I LOVE decorating cupcakes. And everybody seems to enjoy devouring them, so they’re a regular on my baking agenda. Oh also, I normally double this recipe because I like to make heaps!

 

C U P C A K E S

125g softened butter (i prefer salted variety)

125g self raising flour

125g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp milk

 

F R O S T I N G

100g soft butter

100g icing sugar, sifted

vanilla extract

food colouring of your choice!

lots of candy!!

 

 

To make the C U P C A K E S, you need to firstly beat the softened butter with the sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy. I use a wooden spoon, but if you’re lucky enough to have an electric mixer, go with that! Gradually beat in the eggs, whisking as you go. Beat in the vanilla. Sift in half the flour, mixing well to incorporate. Then add the milk, and the remaining flour. Continue to fold this in until the mixture is smooth. In a muffin tray lined with paper cases, pour the mixture in to fill each case about 2/3 of the way up. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 12-15 minutes until golden. (n.b. If you’re unsure, stick a wooden kebab stick into the centre of one cake to check it’s done. If it comes out clean, they’re ready! If it’s all globby with bits of cake, keep ’em baking!) Cool on a wire rack. Makes 8-10 large-ish cupcakes.

To make the F R O S T I N G, beat the butter in a bowl until it’s as white and smooth as you can possibly get it. Again, this is a good time to be the proud owner of an electric mixer. Woe is me! Then sift in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, beating to incorporate it. Add a tsp of vanilla (or lemon juice, or other flavouring) at this point, and if you want to colour it, add a few drops of your colouring. Beat it in until you reach a smooth spreadable consistency. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar; if it’s too stiff, add a splash of milk.

To D E C O R A T E the cupcakes, spread or pipe the icing on. I cut up bits of licorice all sorts, strawberry laces, and so on, to make parts of the faces. I also decorated with hundreds and thousands, and used specialty black icing to pipe the letters and make the cobwebs.

r o a s t e d p u m p k i n s e e d s

October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween everyone! Getting ready for the halloween festivities… As you can see i’ve carved my jack’o’lantern. And after sifting through its guts I decided to have a go at roasting the pumpkin seeds.

 

R O A S T E D  P U M P K I N  S E E D S

1 pumpkin’s worth of seeds

maldon sea salt

olive oil

Take the pumpkin seeds and spread them out thinly on a baking tray. Don’t wash or rinse them, they’ll lose their flavour! just make sure the seeds are free of all the stringy pumpkin guts. A good sprinkling of maldon salt and a very light drizzle of olive oil, and in they go at about 230°C. I left mine in for about 25 minutes. Or until they turn a deep golden colour. Leave to cool on the tray, and give them a little shake. Store in an airtight container for up to a week! An excellent autumnal alternative to boring old nuts and nibbles.