A Red Velvet State of Mind

20140526-194318-70998037.jpg

I hadn’t planned on finding time to blog two days in a row, which can only mean one thing:

Bank Holiday!!

Today, Bug and I walked into town to pick up ingredients for Red Velvet Cupcakes, by the request of Husband. He’s got good taste. Obviously.

Upon searching, I discovered that one of my favorite baking sites was now on restricted access, meaning I would need to pay a monthly premium to access all areas of the website, including my normal Red Velvet recipe. Lame! I knew all of the ingredients, but couldn’t quite remember the quantities, namely the bicarb and baking powder. Anyone who bakes knows that using the wrong measurements of these two components can spell disaster. Once I composed myself from the shock/horror, I began searching for a new recipe and happened upon Nigella Lawson’s Red Velvet Cupcake recipe. It contains all the same ingredients, with the addition of cider vinegar at the end. Awesome.

I began by sifting all the dry ingredients together.

20140526-195252-71572568.jpg

Then, I creamed together the butter and sugar.

20140526-195505-71705009.jpg

I like to dry out used vanilla pods and stick them in with my caster sugar. It infuses the sugar and creates a beautiful aroma and flavor.

Next came the food coloring.

20140526-195656-71816044.jpg

What a beautiful hue!
The interesting thing about this recipe was that it called for one spoonful of dry ingredients before each egg, and the milk at the end. I assume this was to prevent curdling, and it worked beautifully. The normal recipe I followed explained to crack in both eggs, then the dry mix in thirds, separated by two halves of the milk. I gotta say, I much preferred this mix as it came out so silky and smooth. The only thing I would do differently is add a little more cocoa, since I like my red velvet slightly more chocolatey. Thankfully, my husband was available to rescue the remnants of batter left in the bowl after filling the cases.

Into the oven!

20140526-200127-72087201.jpg

I slightly overfilled the cases and ended up with 17 cakes, but the original recipe says it makes 24.

I started to whip up the Cream Cheese Frosting recipe I love, from Sweetapolita.

20140526-201114-72674515.jpg

I have to admit, I have always found this recipe to be temperamental, with the consistency running very thin about half the time. The Husband did a bit of research and found that Brits often have a hard time making cream cheese frosting, because American powdered sugar contains corn flour (starch). The more you know! I ended up deviating from the recipe and creaming together the butter and cream cheese first, then adding in the powdered sugar. I was able to better control the consistency and the sweetness. I believe that real vanilla pods should be used when making frosting, or at least great quality extract.

20140526-201801-73081639.jpg
I think it’s safe to say that Bug was a fan of the frosting. Just to clarify, the “No Pants Required” policy in our kitchen only applies to adorable individuals under 2.

The result!

20140526-202500-73500676.jpg

Red Velvet Cupcakes 

 250 grams plain flour 

2 tablespoons cocoa powder (sifted) 

2 teaspoons baking powder 

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 

100 grams soft unsalted butter 

200 grams caster sugar 

1 heaped tablespoon Christmas-red paste food colouring 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

2 large eggs 

175 ml buttermilk 

1 teaspoon cider vinegar 

Method here

There’s also an option to switch to US measurements if you need it! 

 Cream Cheese Frosting 

1/3 cup (75 g/2.5 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature 

 1 1/2 lbs (5 1/2 cups/685 g) confectioners’ sugar 

 1 1/2 packages (8 oz packages) cream cheese (12 oz/345 g), cut into cubes, cold 

 1/4 cup (60 ml) whipping cream (heavy cream 35%) 

 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract) 

 pinch of salt 

 The instructions are about a quarter of the way down the page.

Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we have!

Advertisements

Overnight Oats and Being Unplugged

So today I decided to finally write something. I haven’t written anything in ages, at least not since I was an angst-y teenager with a very lame diary. (Not counting my little girl’s baby journal, in which I write from time to time. That is something special for her.) At least two months ago I signed up for this, and now I am jumping in. I have wanted to have a blog for a while now, but struggled with what kind I should create. I love to bake, but don’t get to as often as I’d like. I’m still trying to work off the baby weight 14 months later, but only recently have had a diagnosis for my hypothyroidism in this country. Thanks a lot, NHS! But seriously, I am thankful that it’s free. And my husband and I have dabbled in a bit of vegetarianism/organic eating – key word being “dabbled.” There seem to be so many things I could go on about, but nothing providing a consistent substance or theme. I suppose I will just write about them all. So this is a journey into writing, experimental baking (gluten-free recipes included!), weight loss, and general well-being.

Last night, I put together a yummy, easy breakfast to have in the morning. As the weather begins to break here, it’s nice to have a cool, yet filling alternative to keep fuelled for the morning. And it makes quite a portion! Put half aside for a snack or breakfast the next day. It keeps for a few days in the fridge.

Overnight Oats
Ingredients:
(Just as a side note, we try to use organic products as often as possible, but use what you have!)
1 C. Rolled Oats
Nonfat Milk
5 Tbs. Greek Yogurt
1 Tbs. Honey
1 Tbs. Chia seeds
1/2 C. Blueberries (or any fruit you like!)

Pour oats into a mason jar, followed by just enough milk to cover them. Mix with all the remaining ingredients and pop in the fridge. Done!

20140525-211341-76421256.jpg
Yum.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, but deviated from the recipes featured. However, I still feel credit should be due and you can find the link we used here.

The husband and I decided today to make a pact. At least one night a week, after Bug goes to sleep, we will spend Unplugged. No TV, no phones, just us. Tonight we played Egyptian Rat Screw, a game we spent so many hours playing before we were married, mostly in the airports prior to departure. That’s a story for another time.

We also played good, old-fashioned checkers. He had never played them before. Maybe it’s an American thing, but I’ve never known a single person who didn’t know how! And how didn’t I know my husband never played until now? Without this time set aside, I would never have found that out. We thoroughly enjoyed laughing and chatting. I won ERS and he won checkers. I must be a fantastic teacher.