Red velvet cupcakes

Red velvet cake isn't particularly common here. I've only seen it at one wedding, and it wasn't until a new cupcake boutique opened in the CBD that you could buy it with any sort of ease. It's an interesting cake. It has a great texture, both moist and light, but is kind of blandly sweet until you put the frosting on. I've seen recipes that call for meringue frosting, but cannot fathom how anyone could enjoy that much extra sweetness on a cake that's already sweeter than most. The general recommendation seems to be cream cheese frosting, which I can definitely get on board with.

Red velvet cupcakes

125g butter
375g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tspn vanilla bean paste
1 tbspn pillar box red liquid food dye
1 cup milk
1 tbspn lemon juice
2 tbspn unsweetened cocoa
250g flour
25g wheaten cornflour
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1 tspn cider vinegar


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line three 6 hole muffin pans with cupcake cases. Cream the butter. Add the sugar and continue creaming. Add the eggs, half at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and food dye and stir through. Mix the milk and lemon juice and allow to stand for a few minutes to curdle slightly. Add around a third of the milk mix and stir well. Sift together the flour, cornflour and cocoa. Add a third to the cake batter. Repeat, alternating with the milk, until all combined. Mix together the bicarb soda and vinegar and add to the batter while still fizzing. Spoon into cupcake cases, filling each around 2/3 full. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cookbook challenge - apple

After a run in with the flu, I've been  bit slack on the cooking front lately. We've been pretty much existing on fish and salad, pasta, and salt and pepper squid. Certainly nothing worth writing up a recipe about. Over the past two days, however, I've gotten back into things, and finally managed to get back to the cookbook challenge.

The theme for the week was apple. Rather than making an apple pie or revisiting apple sorbet, I decided to do something completely different. I found this recipe on a trip to the Fashion Capital, so I'm not even sure that it's in a cookbook. But if it isn't, it should be. It's Frank Camorra's Gambas a la Sidra.

The recipe calls for a casuelita to cook in, but since a trip to Simon Johnson failed to produce one, and I didn't have time to try Essential Ingredient, I decided to use the base of my tagine instead. Since I was making enough to feed four as a main course, I would have loved to have the Le Creuset risotto dish as an option. Not needing to cook the prawns in batches would certainly have sped up the cooking time, that's for sure.

Gambas a la sidra

Olive oil
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbspn parsley, chopped
4 large prawns
300ml cider


Soak the casuelita overnight. Drain and dry. Slowly heat the casuelita over a low flame. Add the olive oil, parsley and garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the prawns. Cook each side for around two minutes until just pink. Deglaze with cider, then add enough cider to come just below the top of the prawns. Cook until the cider has reduced by around a third.
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