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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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For a Good Cause

Hello cake lovers,

Apologies for another late start to the month, my cake-infused life is getting busier by the day! Today’s post is dedicated to my late ‘Grampa’, Anthony A. Beeko and an amazing charity, Cancer Research UK.

Two and a half weeks ago I took part in a 4K sponsored run to raise money for Cancer Research UK. (I ran the race on 1.07.2012 in 22min 15sec.) and 2.07.2012 was the 5yr. anniversary of my Grampa’s death. He passed away from Cancer of the colon, so this charity is the best one for me to support. I had been trying to persuade myself for the past 3yrs. that I would run this race and it wasn’t until a few months ago that my friend, S, signed up and encouraged me to join her.

I’ve spent the past few weeks encouraging my friends and family to sponsor me and so far I’ve raised £200, £100 more than my target :) Even though the 4K run was an achievement in itself I decided to set myself an extra goal- for every friend/family member that sponsored me £10 or more I would bake them a cake of their choice. (No one can resist cake, so I knew this would be a good bribe!) So far I’ve baked five cakes and I have another eight or so to bake! With every cake I’ve baked the money has come from my own pocket, and every penny donated has gone to charity.

The actual day of the race was so much fun- there was a Zumba instructor who helped us warm up; the Mayor of the City came to encourage us, and everyone who participated was in such good spirits. After the race, myself and S indulged in a little post-workout treat of McD’s and Red Velvet cupcakes at the Fallen Angel bakery :) …Don’t judge us, I can feel you judging us! You gotta live a little!

My donation page is still open for sponsorship so feel free to drop some pennies my way. It’s for a good cause.

http://raceforlifesponsorme.org/traceytrace

Love cupcakes & a cure for Cancer,

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