Friday, February 20, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cake is not as popular in South Africa as it is in America. In fact the first time I heard of red velvet cake was a couple of years ago. My brother Jason, who had never baked a cake before, decided he was going to spoil me with a home made cake. He fervently sifted through a recipe book looking for the perfect cake to bake. His eyes settled on a strange red looking cake with cooked flour frosting which I kind of snubbed because it wasn't the kind of cake that I'd usually go for.

We argued and debated, he won, and for the first time in my life I tasted red velvet cake. It was hard for me too judge the success of the cake since I didn't know what red velvet cake was supposed to taste like. I do remember telling him though that it wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be. That was the first and last time I had eaten red velvet cake up until a few days ago.

For a long time I've been wanting to bake this "strange red cake" but never had enough courage to give it ago until I watched a wedding show where the bridal party were swooning over a red velvet cake baked by Raven Dennis of Cake Man Raven for their cake tasting. It was that day that I decided to give it a go.

I googled Cake Man Raven and found that he actually has a copy the recipe for his famous red velvet cake posted on his website. One thing is for sure I'm glad that his recipe includes a cream cheese frosting - which I love since I haven't yet gathered to courage to try the traditional butter roux icing.

One bite of this cake and I knew why so many people have fallen in love with it. A light chocolate cake that is slightly dense, tender and so moist, what else can anyone ever want from a cake. I have to wonder though if all that food colouring is healthy. Oh well I don't eat it everyday.

I decided to make cupcakes since it's all the craze right now. Another thing I am sure of is that I will definitely be making red velvet cake again and again.

Find the recipe here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Whisk, A Spoon and A Camera

It's been a really long time since I've been in the kitchen and with all the hot humid summer days who can blame me. It seems summer gets hotter and hotter each year. I started getting serious withdrawal syndromes and that’s when I knew it was time for me to brave the summer heat and get back to doing what I love. With that I took my bowls off the shelf, dusted my web entangled whisk, dug deep for my camera and started baking.

It was a hard decision deciding what I was going to make. It had to be something I had never made before but something I was sure to enjoy. I settled on a few ideas and decided I was going to make all of them.

First up red velvet cupcakes (the star of the show). I've been meaning to make this for a long time but never got round to doing it.

Next a beautiful banana loaf. I've made this before but it's been such a long time so it felt kind of new to me.

Then a wonderful malva pudding which as a South African am embarrassed to say I have never made before.

Then something to go with the malva pudding, a rich and creamy crème anglaise.

Wow this was enough to keep me in the kitchen a good few days (I even threw in a carrot cake) but I didn't mind.

With the sweet smell of vanilla lingering off my fingers and the flour dusted off my shirt and I can now sit down and share it all with you.