Saturday, April 30, 2011

Red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting

I am a newcomer to the pleasures of red velvet, as are my husband and friends. We are all evangelists now! The rich red brown cocoa sponge, balanced with the rich, creamy sweetness of a white chocolate and cream cheese frosting. Pure decadence!

The cupcakes originate from the Hummingbird Bakery cook book. The icing is mine. And boy is it good... but not good for you!

Preheat oven to 170C
12 hole cupcake/ muffin tin with  paper cases

60g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons red food colouring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar


60g unsalted butter (soft)
200g icing sugar
100g cream cheese (Philadelphia) cold from fridge
75g white chocolate

With an electric whisk beat the sugar and butter until light, add the egg. Combine cocoa, food colouring, vanilla and 2 tbsp of the buttermilk to make a smooth paste. Whisk into the butter and sugar. Add half of the buttermilk, then half the flour with baking powder added, repeat and whisk till very smooth. Then for the kitchen magic. Sprinkle the baking soda with your fingers to get rid of lumps into the centre of the batter, pour over the vinegar and watch it fizz with a child's delight. Whisk up to combine. Spoon quickly into the cases and pop into the oven. Cook for 20 mins or so till risen and set in the middle.

Cool on a wire rack, take out of the tin after 5 mins.

Leave until completely cool. Meanwhile make the icing.

Melt the chocolate gently in a bowl over boiling water. DO NOT let the bowl come in contact with the water. Remove before it is completely melted and stir as it finishes melting. White chocolate can overheat and go grainy easily. This happens even more easily with cheap  white chocolate. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.

Whisk butter and sugar with an electric whisk, if helps to add the sugar gradually so you don't get a snow storm. It WILL come together. When light and fluffy add cream cheese and whisk well. Add the cooled white chocolate, beat just until combined. Be sure that the cupcakes are completely cool before you ice them. At lest an hour after coming out of the oven.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chocolate pavlova... with raspberries and cream

For my sister, Mirin

Crisp on the outside, squidgy on the inside, fat free (before you add the cream!) and very chocolatey... served with raspberries... and cream!

3 egg whites
75 g/ 3 oz caster sugar
3 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp corn flour/ corn starch

Preheat oven to 150C

Whisk egg whites till stiff. Add sugar, whisk till glossy. Add other ingredients whisk until combined.

Put onto a non stick baking sheet - spread about 1 1/2 inches thick, about 9 inches in diameter. Bake for 45 mins at 150C. (It will be crisp to the touch - my oven is quite fast, so yours might need a little longer.)

When cool, cover with 250 ml cream whipped and a punnet of fresh raspberries, and dust with icing sugar.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cake for Breakfast: Popple Cake

This is a breakfast cake! Well, I ate it for breakfast, still warm from the oven. But it's delicious at coffee break or tea time too. I know, I tried it then too!!

What is a breakfast cake? Well it's higher in nutrients, contains fruit and, is lower in butter, and is not iced. It contains all the ingredients people might eat for breakfast: wheat flour, oats, fruit, eggs, buttermilk... but in cake form. It is about as worthy as cake gets. Except it doesn't taste worthy It is moist and spiced, bejewelled with plump cranberries and oh so more-ish.

I made it to use up a large jar of apple puree that I had bought for the baby. But homemade stewed apple would be perfect too, just make sure it's not too sweet.

And the name? Porridge + apple. See I told you it was healthy! It is adapted from Beth Hensperger's lovely Bread for Breakfast, another great American baking resource. So cup measures at the ready!! (I know it looks like quite a list of ingredients, but the method is simplicity itself.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lucy Loves...

My Perfect All-American Chocolate Cake - it disappeared WAY too fast, I'm missing it already! Described thus: "Imagine if a brownie and a chocolate cake had a baby. This would be it..."

I love condensed milk - preferably out of the tin with a spoon! - so this Condensed Milk Pound Cake at Sweet as Sugar Cookies sounded good to me!

The prettiest pink macaroons with raspberries and cream - you have to see these! 

Oh forgot all about this peanut butter cookie cake, got to try it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Perfect All-American Chocolate Cake

For Leigh, Lydia and Francesca

Imagine if a brownie and a chocolate cake had a baby. This would be it...

This cake is from  Rose Levy Beranbaum's authoritative Cake Bible. I made this today for my 3-year-old's birthday. The description in the Bible was pretty grand. I read it to my guests before we ate it. Partly to scoff... but, after trying it, we all agreed it was spot on - and not at all immodest.

"This cake has a full chocolate flavour and exceptionally soft, fine texture for a chocolate butter cake...Ross Horovitz, after photographing this cake of Chocolatier magazine, said "when you bite into this cake," he rhapsodised, " its seems light; then it becomes fudgy and chocolaty; then jist when you begin to think you have something, it simply vanishes so you want to take another bite!" My mother was more succinct: "It tastes like a chocolate bar but softer." And that was my goal."

So you have to try it really, don't you? (And if you love baking I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The woman is a baking goddess - scientific in the extreme in her approach and consistently perfect in her recipes.

I have adapted the recipe very slightly...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rhubarb buttermilk upside down cake with orange and cardamom

Woah what a mouthful of a title. and what a mouthful of a cake. You can just call it breakfast - like I did this morning and eat 3 slices! Treacly sharp rhubarb on a sweet, tender cake fragrant with cardamom. Combining three ideas: one from Darina Allen, one from Sarah Raven and an adapted buttermilk cake recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's wonderous Cake Bible.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lucy Loves...

What a lot of yumminess this week...

I have just discovered Food Gawker for the very best food pics in the blogosphere - be warned, you will be drooling all over your computer! I have set myself a challenge to get onto this!

My Chocolate Almond cake has been getting a lot of traffic- (and eaters!) this week.

This toasted cream coconut pie caught my eye when it popped up on my blog list this week....

Or how about a chocolate fudge ice cream pie? Whilst you're there have a good look around - wow what an archive of deliciousness! Looking good Jamie!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chocolate almond cake (gluten free)

This one's from my friend Rachael Tomkins, a regular Queen of Puddings reader. She had a winning discovery of this gluten-free chocolate cake, which uses almonds instead of flour. It went down a treat with her sister-in -aw (who is coeliac). There were no complaints from the rest of the family either apparently! It was, according to her "really easy and super yummy!!!" 

So I had to try it didn't I? And she also suggested it might be nice warm with ice cream - well what are friends for but to act on your every whim? That is my professional obligation, here at Queen of Puddings. Nothing goes on here unless it's been tried and loved first. So warm with ice cream it was. And I agree wholeheartedly. Super yummy. My two-year-old (nut hating child) is currently devouring it beside me! It also fills the house with a chocolatey fug for the whole day so you get to waft around feeling like a true domestic goddess, despite the sink stacked with washing up!

I am still on the look out for a dairy, egg and wheat-free cake for Andra - I have a great  vegan cake recipe, but it has wheat flour. Any suggestions dear readers?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Instant Donuts

No deep fat frying. No syringes. No yeast. These are my almost instant donuts which use a classic Yorkshire pudding method! They take only 20 mins start to finish... and much less time to eat (as you can see from the picture!)

Lucy Loves...

What's cooking this week?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sakura cupcakes

This is my standard cupcake recipe, quick to whip up, they keep well (if you don't eat them!!) and as light as a fairy. If you ice with a water icing they are much lower in fat than a normal cupcake: I love the creamy ultra light vanilla icing though!

The original recipe (which I have adapted) comes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cook Book.

We served these at our cherry blossom (sakura) picnic with a spring flower tea - for this visit my other blog


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