Saturday, 17 September 2011

Vanilla and the Red Velvet Cupcakes

I am not going to write too much about these two cupcake flavours as they are very old favourites from the first cook book. Had to make them since they were included in the Cake Days book though.

Made them both in the same weekend. The red velvet took me a little while longer to make as the ingredients are slightly different to the usual cupcake batter and the process was written differently to the how it was worded in the first book. Took me a while to get back into the rhythm of making them again. Topped them off with the standard cream cheese frosting. They looked fab and I remembered why I fell in love with this recipe in the first place.

The vanilla cupcakes I added my own edge onto..instead of topping them with the usual plain vanilla icing I turned them into cookie monster cupcakes. This involves colouring the icing blue, using coloured desiccated coconut on top of that and them I used some fondant icing to finish off the details. They looked fab and adds a nice twist on a usually plain sponge.

Walnut and Honey Loaf

Not sure why I decided on making this loaf. I am not a fan of nuts nor honey for that matter but loaves are easy to make so gave it a try.

Mixed up the sugar and eggs then they dry ingredients are added in two stages until all mixed well. The vanilla essence, plain yoghurt and half of the honey is added to this mixture and the chopped walnuts are stirred in my hand with a wooden spoon. I used the mini blender to whir these up as I hate chopping them, it takes such a long time and I usually ping a few around the kitchen in the process and I prefer my nuts in tiny pieces if I do eat them.

All stirred in and poured into the buttered and floured loaf tin. Into the oven for just over an hour, it was about 70 minutes in total in fact. Whilst the cake is cooking you are meant to boil the remaining honey with a little water until the liquid has deduced by half and then it is to be poured over the loaf just after it has finished cooking.

I forgot to do this and took the loaf out and left it to cool on the side immediately. It wasn't until a fair bit later at night that I remembered and so made up the soaking syrup for the top. I think I left it reduce a bit too much as it basically dried and hardened as soon as it was poured over the now cold loaf. This made it difficult to cut as it got in the way and just stuck to the knife but I made it work in the end.

My neighbours were actually the first to try some as they had popped over with some leftover for us to have just as I was finishing the syrup off. Cut them a few slices and then again realised I had not taken my picture. Ah well. Next was my trusted tasting friend who loves all things nuts so she couldn't wait to get dive into this one. I have to make a confession to make..I only tried a tiny bit of this loaf. It didn't appeal to me but from what I tasted it was nice and moist with the honey. Probably not something I would make for myself often.

Beetroot and Chocolate Cupcakes

Well I have no written this for a long time, things have been busy and if i'm honest I think I baked myself out a bit. Haven't been as excited about baking or blogging. I guess it has its ups and downs as does everything else in life. Any ways onto the Beetroot and Chocolate cupcakes..this combination has seemed a little odd to me but I have faith in the Bakery and their creations so we are giving it a whirl.

I cheated and bought pre-cooked and peeled beetroot as the blending up and mixing was enough for me. I started off puréeing it in my mini blender which could just about hold it all. Then it needed to be mixed with the eggs, then sunflower oil and vanilla essence and this is where I realised that the mini blender couldn't hold anything other than the beetroot. Had to swap over to my larger blender to finish this mixture off. Made it all up and then got going on the dry ingredients. Once they had been sifted together the puréed beetroot is added to it until all smooth and incorporated well.

Now the mixture is made up it goes into the cases and into the oven for 20 minutes. I managed to make 18 sponges out of this chocolate and beetroot mix. Whilst they were baking I made up the cream cheese frosting. This is the same as the frosting used on the Red Velvet cupcakes so I am a dab hand at making it. Used half the quantity of icing even though I made 18 rather than 12 cupcakes. The whole amount is just way too much and I end up with wastage, which is not what anyone can you throw away something so scrummy!

The cupcakes smelt great in and out of the oven. It reminded me of the Red Velvet cupcakes actually. They are chocolate with that something else behind it and this is what the beetroot ones seem to be too as well. Wont know until they have been tasted but I have my suspicions.

Onto the icing, did my usual thing, swirling with a little flick of the palette knife and they were done. A nice covering on all of them and a little left over in the bowl for me to lick..heehee!

After all that effort an immediate taste and cuppa was calling...and oh my goodness they are delicious. The beetroot cannot be tasted as its obvious flavour but it adds a wonderful depth to the Chocolate. The cream cheese pairs with it perfectly and these might have just overtaken the Red Velvet as the crème de la crème of cupcakes..strange I know but they are just too mmmm to resist.