Red Velvet Cupcakes w Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these cupcakes for a family bbq on the weekend and they were awesome! Not the easiest cupcakes you will ever make, but the little bit of extra effort is well worth it. And the cream cheese frosting is delicious. I now understand all the hype about red velvet cupcakes! I got this recipe from http://www.browneyedbaker.com which has a lot of other awesome recipes! I also made dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (see the photo below) and they were also delicious!! Check them out at http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/06/10/dark-chocolate-cupcakes-with-peanut-butter-frosting/

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 20 minutes

For the Cupcakes:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners.

2. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

5. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.

6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.

7. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

8. To make the frosting: Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.

Try the dark chocolate with peanut butter frosting! http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/06/10/dark-chocolate-cupcakes-with-peanut-butter-frosting/

 

 

 

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Ever Faithful Chocolate and Coconut Truffles

Making these with Mum on a Saturday afternoon is probably one of my favourite memories, probably because I could eat them afterwards, and I used to think that Mum never knew I snuck them out of the fridge regularly. They are super simple to create and really fun with kids. These truffles are now one of my go to recipes for when you don’t have a lot of time and you have to bring a plate of food to something. I know about 100 people who make these and they vary them each time. This is the simple version, however I know people who add things such as dried apricots and other fruits, oats, chocolate pieces etc. There are a million variations i’m sure, a friend of mine once made them from oreo’s! It was so delicious I ate too many and had to have about 4 glasses of water post consumption!! My sister in law does a good variation, check out  http://spendlessnourishmore.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/date-and-honey-yum-yum-balls/.

It you are looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon, or just looking for an easy snack, try these, they are ALWAYS good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 250g packet of Marie biscuits (or any kind of basic not so sweet biscuit/cookie)
  • 1 400g can of condensed milk (feel free to use the light stuff)
  • 1 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbs of cocoa

Method:

Crush the biscuits, as kids we used to do it with a rolling pin in a plastic bag, now I just use the food processor! I like to not process them too finely because I like the crunch of biscuit when eating the truffles.

Combine the crushed biscuits with coconut and cocoa.

Add the condensed milk, mix well and roll into balls.

Cover the balls with coconut. I use a zip lock bag and 1/2 a cup of coconut, gently shake and all the balls are quickly coated! But it is more fun to roll them yourself I suppose.

Refrigerate for about an hour before tucking in!

Enjoy!

Lauren

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

I love this recipe. I am not one to eat lots of sugar but this is just so tempting I can’t resist. This pudding is not overly rich so you can eat lots of it without feeling sick. I don’t know if being able to eat heaps of pudding is good for my health but it sure does make me happy. If you want to make it richer just add more coco.

Ingredients

  • 60g Butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa, extra
  • 2 cups boiling water

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fanforced. Combine butter and milk in large pan; stir over heat until butter is melted.

2. Remove from heat; stir in essence and castor sugar, then sifted flour and cocoa.

3. Spread mixture into greased ovenproof dish (6 cup capacity).

4. Sift brown sugar and extra cocoa over mixture; gently pour boiling water over.

5. Bake in oven about 40 mins.

As you can see we added ice cream to our pudding. It also tastes good with cream or custard, or you can just eat it on its own.

Hope you enjoy.

Olivia

Chocolate and Pear Torte

I had a few pears sitting in a bowl on top of my microwave that were starting to get a little past their use by date. So what to do? Google recipes for pears! I came up with this one by Rosemary Shrager from Rosemary Shrager’s School for Cooks http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/10563/chocolate-and-pear-torte.

I am a big fan of using what is in the cupboard when I cook, rather than having to go to the supermarket to purchase 10 things (some of which I have never heard of before). I liked this one the minute I came across it because the ingredients are so simple, and I already had them all!

Ingredients:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 4 small eggs, separated
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 60g self-raising flour
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled cored and diced
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Method:

Preheat oven 180C.

Line the bottom and side of a tin with buttered greaseproof paper.

Cut the pears into small pieces.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and mix into the melted chocolate.

Fold chocolate mix in the flour and the diced pears.

Whisk the egg whites and when stiff fold into the mixture.

Pour into a greased 22 cm. loose-bottomed tin, cover with buttered paper and bake for 45 to 50 mins.

Rest in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool.

When completely cold, dust with icing sugar.

Notes: I’m a bit lazy when it comes to melting chocolate and butter. I always do it in the microwave, about 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between, and taking it out of the microwave before it is completely melted as the remainder melts as you stir it.