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Don’t Go Baking My Heart

Valentines and Pancake day are fast approaching. Whether you plan to indulge alone or treat your special someone to breakfast in bed, I have a recipe that will have you salivating from the batter to the plate!

I’ve never been one for boring pancakes (yes, I class English pancakes as boring), so when I stumbled across the Red Velvet pancake on the iHop menu I knew it would become one of my favourite recipes. I admit, this recipe requires a little more patience than most pancakes but believe me when I say it is worth it.

Ingredients

Plain flour 120g
Baking powder 3 tsp

Pinch of salt
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Caster Sugar 3-4 tbsp (or to taste)
Egg x1 (beaten)
Red food colouring x4 tsp
Vanilla Extract x2 tsp
Buttermilk 6fl oz.
Unsalted Butter (melted) x2 tbsp
Bicarbonate of Soda x1 tsp (Optional)
White distilled vinegar x1 tsp (Optional)
Extra butter or Olive oil for greasing the frying pan.

N.B. The brand of cocoa powder and red food colouring are two of the most important ingredients as they will determine the richness of the red colour. If you opt for a cheap cocoa powder and food colouring the pancakes will come out brown. My favourite tried and tested products are Green & Black’s cocoa powder and Dr. Oetker food colouring, for any red velvet bakes. If using the Dr. Oetker food colouring purchase two tubes which measures out at 4 tsp.

Begin by sifting the flour and dry ingredients into a bowl one by one and set aside (i.e. Flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg for a few seconds until well mixed.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over the lowest heat, ensuring that it does not burn. When melted, add to the egg and butter mixture, along with the vanilla extract and whisk together.

Pour the buttermilk into a measuring jug and add the red food colouring to the jug itself. Mix together with a spoon until the buttermilk is red in colour. Next, add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to the buttermilk and stir in well. (N.B. Although all good red velvet recipes call for this step, I once forgot to add this part to the recipe and I didn’t taste a dramatic difference, so it can be optional)

Add half of the buttermilk to the wet mixture and use the whisk to mix well. Then sift half of the dry ingredients into the bowl and whisk; repeat this process until all ingredients are combined.

The trickiest part of the recipe is ensuring that the pancakes don’t burn. This will require your full attention:
Heat a frying pan on low-medium heat and drop in a small amount of butter or olive oil; tilt the frying pan so that the full surface is covered, and using a ladle pour a small amount of the batter into the centre of the pan.

Once you begin to see bubbles forming on the top of the pancake, flip it over using a spatula. Warning, if the pancakes are looking too dark they may be burning! Don’t panic, turn down the temperature and cook them on a lower heat. (That’s the most tedious part).

Serve with a drizzle (or dollop) of cream cheese frosting, sprinkle with icing sugar, drown in maple syrup or marry with a sweet berry compote.

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Strawberry Sweetheart

Today the UK celebrates Mothering Sunday, and like I always say, there’s no better way to celebrate an occasion than with cake! Although I do have a confession to make, this is the first time in all my years of Adulthood that I  have eaten so much cake that I can’t see straight! Yup that’s me right now, (somehow typing this out while cross-eyed).

Earlier today I indulged in a plethora of sweet delicacies – from pistachio to carrot to lemon cake. Well, at least I slotted in my 5 a day *shrugs* The sweet treat that I created today was inspired by the incredible Hummingbird Bakery, one of my favourite UK high street bakeries.

As I nurse my headache and throbbing teeth, I leave you to admire these bite-size, mouth watering delights… Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes. A crunchy biscuit base, topped with a light vanilla sponge and fresh strawberries embedded in between each crumb. Top this off with a fresh buttercream frosting and a sprinkling of biscuits for a finishing touch.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

Tracey xo

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Red, White & Blue

Greetings cake-a-holics,

Yes, I’m still here, I have no intention of abandoning you (even if it seems that way)! As you all know, London had a pretty exciting summer as we welcomed the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I was fortunate enough to be a Games Maker throughout the Olympics, hence my prolonged absence from blogging. Forgive me, please?

The 2012 Games has made it a summer that I will never forget, and I’m sure the same can be said of the amazing Team GB who collected 65 medals in the Olympics, and 120 medals in the Paralympics, making it Team GB’s most successful Paralympics to date! And not to rub it in or anything, but Team GB came third in the medal table for both the Olympics and Paralympics Games! The atmosphere at every venue was electric, but none can compare to the sea of red, white and blue that could be seen in the Olympic park. It was patriotism at its best, and I was overjoyed to be a part of it :)

Now that all the pandemonium has subsided I can’t help but think that I have a serious case of post-Olympic-blues. It’s a serious illness guys, don’t laugh. The only way that I could begin to heal my wounds is to bake! This week I made vanilla cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting, and attempted to dye the cakes half red, half blue. The colours didn’t come out as strong as I had hoped, but I award myself 6/10 for effort! The texture of the cakes remained light and fluffy, and the cream cheese frosting was mixed with just the right amount of sweetness to compliment the cake.

(The recipe for vanilla cupcakes can be found on the Recipes page, and the cream cheese frosting is the same recipe used for Carrot cake and Red Velvet cake. I used two tablespoons of red dye and two blue so I guess it’s a matter of trial and error.)

Are you drooling yet?

The final ingredient… a good ol’ British brew!

And here are a few snaps from my time at the Olympics… #Iwasthere. (All pictures are my own, so please reference back to this website if you choose to share them).

Love, Tea & British cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo

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All I See is Red!

Happy Thursday Followers!

In today’s post I’d like to conclude my baking discoveries of NYC by talking about Red Velvet cake *drool*

Aunty's RedV

FACTS: Red Velvet cake derives from the same group as the Devil’s Food Cake; the dark colouring and richness of the cocoa flavours are much like its cousin cake, originating in the United States in the early 1900’s. Previous recipes included ingredients such as cocoa, baking powder and whipped egg whites, whereas modern adaptations of the recipe omitted the whipped egg whites and required squares of chocolate to be dissolved in boiling water and soda, before being added to a mixture of sour milk and eggs. (At this point it was known as the ‘Philadelphia Red Cake’) By the late 1960’s the red coloured cake (then called the ‘Red Carpet Cake’) soared to popularity with feature articles in the Washington Post and Spokesman-Review newspapers. The red food colouring, buttermilk, cocoa powder and vinegar were now staple ingredients in the devilishly rich cake, whereas beetroot was previously used to give the cake a natural red colour. As the recipe progressed and was adapted, the red food colouring replaced the beetroot to give the cake a brighter appearance! The southern part of the United States were renown for making the traditional Red Velvet cake, and its reputation plummeted when it made an appearance as an armadillo-shaped groom’s cake, in the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias.

Having watched countless episodes of Cupcake Wars I had seen the bakers turn out racks upon racks of traditional Southern Red Velvet cupcakes before I decided to turn my whisk to this recipe too. The deep red colouring of the cake, its spongy appearance, and the thick, white cream cheese frosting was enough to have me clawing at the television screen!

One of the things I love about Red Velvet cake is the cream cheese frosting; there have been countless times when I’ve described the cake to people and they wrinkle up their nose at the thought of cheese spread over a cake. Let me reassure you that when made the right way this frosting will send you into a food coma! Striking the perfect balance between the cream cheese and icing/confectioner’s sugar is a matter of trial and error, but when that balance is found, Aaaah Heaven! For many people the red appearance of the cake is another turn-off, but having grown up in a household where it was perfectly acceptable to eat pink and green coloured cakes I had no fears whatsoever!

Initially I was slightly apprehensive about the ingredients that went into the cake, e.g. buttermilk, white vinegar- it seemed a little kooky to me, but the image of the cake was ingrained on my mind and I was determined to give it a shot. Lo’ and behold the cake was a big hit and I’ve been addicted ever since. Here’s a shot of the first Red Velvet cake I made, circa July 2011.

The first of many!

During my time in NYC I was overjoyed to be surrounded by Red Velvet cake at every street corner (okay, slight exaggeration but it definitely felt that way!)

Red Velvet cake

I spotted four tiered Red Velvet cakes in a restaurant window, I ate Red Velvet macaroons at a Bridal Shower; I devoured the latest creation of Red Velvet pancakes from iHop, and was even lucky enough to sneak a slab of freshly baked cake from my Aunt’s restaurant.

iHop's RedV pancakes

If this is a glimpse of what Heaven will be like- Lord take me now!

{Keep an eye on my Recipes page for the sacred how-to…}

Love & Cream Cheese Frosting,

Tracey xoxo

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Tastes Like Christmas

Christmas Eve: Festive jumper and baking books at the ready.

Christmas Eve: I wrapped up the last of the family gifts.

Christmas Eve: Gifts under the tree

Christmas Day: The meat section!

Dessert is served: my famous carrot cake

A beautiful ending to the Christmas feast.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! Or should I say, Merry belated Christmas… I had planned to make a post on Christmas Eve and Christmas day itself but I couldn’t tear myself away from all the mouth watering food and my excitable family ; )

Although Christmas day has been and gone I like to think that my Christmas doesn’t end until New Year’s Eve. So that means comfy clothes, with room to expand the waistline; mixing bowl ready to do more baking, and be prepared to laugh so hard I ‘improve’ my six pack!

Every year in my family a different household hosts Christmas day (+Christmas Eve), and it usually alternates between my Aunts and Uncles. This year my immediate family did the hosting and I sat down with my Mum last week to plan the menu. My family are of Ghanaian origin so we had a few traditional treats up our sleeve:

Christmas Eve

Jollof rice / BBQ + Jerk chicken wings / Salad / Banana cupcakes with maple+cream cheese frosting.

Christmas Day

Leg of Lamb / 3 Bird Roast: Chicken wrapped in Duck, wrapped in Turkey / Salmon / Roast potatoes / Steamed vegetables / Gravy / Chicken stew / Boiled rice / Coleslaw / Home-made sausage bites with pepper dip

Carrot Cake / Merry Sherry trifle

I’m sure you can see that my Christmas was more than satisfactory. My belly was full, my sweet tooth satisfied, and the Christmas feast mission was accomplished.

Hope you all had a fantastic time!

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo