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


The Big Apple Crumble

Hello cake lovers,

I didn’t forget about you! I’ve spent the past three weeks in New York City on vacation, and celebrating a friend’s wedding. I had every intention of blogging whilst I was out there but I’m not ashamed to say that I got caught up in the excitement of the Big Apple…

I stayed with family whilst in the States, only to arrive and find out that my Mother had told her sister that I would cook and bake regularly! (Thanks Mother.) So during my first week I treated my family to one of my favourite desserts, an apple crumble.

There’s nothing like the sweet and sour fusion of almost-crunchy apples resting underneath a roof of buttery crumble topping, with a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg. I wouldn’t do this blog-post justice without providing the recipe, bon appétit!

Over the next week I’ll be uploading a few other posts about desserts that I discovered in NYC so keep your eyes open.

Love & Big Apple Crumble,

Tracey xoxo

The Big Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Green Apples

½ tsp ground ginger – 1tsp

½ tsp ground cinnamon – 1 tsp

½ tsp ground nutmeg – 1tsp

3oz Caster Sugar – 6oz

8oz Plain Flour – 1pound

3oz Unsalted Butter – 6oz

2oz Brown Sugar – 4oz

Walnuts OR Chopped mixed nuts (Optional)

N.B. The measurements on the left are to make a small portion, and the measurements on the right are for a larger portion.

  1. Wash, peel and dice the apples into small squares and place into a saucepan. (I prefer to use green apples as they provide the sour kick, whilst the crumble adds the sweeter element.)
  2. Add the brown sugar, nutmeg and ginger to the apples and cook on the lowest heat for 5-7mins, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat once the apples are slightly soft.
  3. Place the flour, caster sugar, butter and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and use your hands to mix the ingredients together, whilst creating ‘crumbs’ in your fingertips.
  4. Pour the apples into a flat (Pyrex) dish (Optional: sprinkle nuts over the top of the apples), and layer the flour evenly over the apples.
  5. Place the crumble in the oven on a medium heat, no time specification. Check on the crumble every 10minutes by tapping the top of the crumble with your finger; it will have finished baking when the crumble is firm and golden brown.

Can you resist the buttery crumble...

Serve with vanilla ice-cream or custard.

Triple vision!


I’m A Champion: Versatile Blogger Award!

Last month a fellow blog friend ThingsMyBellyLikes blessed me with one of the best gifts, a Versatile Blogger Award. There’s no refuting the fact that I was shocked, surprised, and excited all in one breath! As a relatively new blogger, with less than 20 followers (although I must say that I love and appreciate my faithful followers), I didn’t ever imagine receiving an award. Naturally I assumed that life-long bloggers with hundreds of followers received such honours, but lo’ and behold I am now among this elite category! (See post, Thursday Thoughts) Call it over-excited if you wish but I truly feel like a champion, hence this awesome song:

So the rules of this award state that I should thank the person who passed it on to me; nominate other bloggers that I admire and follow, and write 7 facts about myself. Here goes…

Huuuge thanks and a *virtual cupcake* goes to ThingsMyBellyLikes the awesome blogger who bestowed this medal on my blog. If I was allowed to pass the award straight back to you I would, because I love reading your blog posts and my belly genuinely rumbles at each post! Awesome writing, keep it up!

  1. Whiskey River BBQ {I recently discovered this blog and I immediately fell in love! It’s about a couple who have recently started their own catering company in the Whiskey soaked BBQ world!}
  2. Tiny Kitchen Stories {A rustic-style blog with mouth watering home-made recipes and desserts. It’s also a handy reference point for vegan and veggie meals.}
  3. Foodimentary {Known on the blogosphere as ‘A Food Lover’s Notebook’, with this blog you’ll never miss a national food day again. A blog full of interesting food facts and daily quotations.}
  4. The W Perspective {Breath taking photography from Penang, Malaysia. This photo-blog has the ability to make me say ‘wow’ each and every time.} 
  5. Without an H {Another favourite photo-blog: self-portrait photography from South East Asia, capturing the heart and soul of each community through a lens.} 
  6. The Middlest Sister {Have you ever laughed just by looking at a picture? Well then you’re in for a treat, this blog uses felt cut-outs to re-live the childhood of five sisters, through the eyes of the middlest sister. Classic and unique.}
  7. Garden Goat Quote {Another new blog that I presently follow, which I discovered through Freshly Pressed. This Super-Mom works a full-time job, blogs, and mothers nine children! Her style of writing is LOL funny and the truths of her daily life are somewhat enlightening on the joys and trials of Motherhood.}
  8. Good Humored {This blogger uses the type of humor that I thrive on, she’s sarcastic, blunt, and has the ability to turn an ordinary story into a masterpiece.}

Okay, so now 7 Interesting Things About Me (Is it ambitious for me to call these things ‘interesting’? *shrugs* You decide.)

  1. BIG SISTER I’m the eldest of three daughters. My sisters are my besties and I love my sisters more than ice-cream, sticky toffee pudding and chocolate fudge cake! That’s a lot of love.
  2. BLACK BRITISH I was born and raised in the UK but my cultural heritage is Ghanaian. The way I dress and speak is a reflection of the UK but my morals, cultural practices, and the way I cook stem from Ghana.
  3. FAITH My parents are Pastors so I’ve grown up in Church. I’ve been a Christian for 12yrs now and never looked back. My faith is more than a religion, it’s my life.
  4. CITY LIGHTS As a lover of food, fashion and all things sweet, it’s only right that I select my top 3 favourite Cities. In no particular order: Paris, London, NYC. Need I say more? (Umm seriously if you have to question this then drop me a comment, but I will be silently judging you from the other side of my laptop!)
  5. BRAINBOX Somehow I have a degree in English Literature and a Diploma in Law. People automatically ask if I’m smart. I don’t know, am I? I have a few certificates to say I’ve passed, but does that prove anything?
  6. LEGS 11 For the International readers among you, ‘legs 11’ is a British phrase for ladies who have long legs. I’m 6ft tall and this causes people to spew out word vomit such as, how are you so tall; why are you so tall; why wear heels if you’re already tall? My answers to the above consist of, Ask God, He made me this way; my Dad is tall (6″2) so I take after him; I paid for the shoes so why are you complaining/I’m not your wife or girlfriend so why are you trying to tell me what to wear!
  7. CAKE-A-HOLIC If you’ve read my Bio you’ll know that I have a slight obsession with cake. The store-bought kind doesn’t quite measure up to the fresh, warm, home-made delicacies that emerge out of my oven. They say ‘An apple a day keeps the Dentist away’, true true. But you should also remember that ‘A cake a day keeps emotions at bay’! Seriously, a well baked cake can turn any frown upside down :) I’m an addict and thats okay.

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo  

Afternoon tea and Scones in Costa Blanca, Espana :)

Afternoon Tea and Scones in Costa Blanca, Espana :)