Coconut Macaroons - Recipe 30 of the Women's Weekly Challenge

Happy Sunday!!

Hope you are all enjoying a lazy Sunday, I know I am. It took a lot of effort to pull myself away from our comfy couch and Downton Abbey, however I somehow managed too. It has also been too long since I had baked anything for my Women's Weekly Challenge, and so it continues with... 

Coconut Macaroons

Makes 24

2 eggs whites
110g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
35g plain flour
120g desiccated coconut

Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius and line oven trays with baking paper. 

Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until dissolved between additions. Stir in extract, flour and coconut, in two batches. 

Drop level tablespoons of the mixture onto trays about 5cm apart. Bake for about 30 minutes and cool on trays. 

Serve with a cup of tea. 

Happy Baking Sunday x

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

It was about 6 years ago now that I first heard of a red velvet cupcake and   the best place to try them at the time in London was at Hummingbird Bakery.

There was a lot of hype around them and when I finally got to try it I think my hopes were too high and therefore I was slightly disappointed. I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly, however I could not see why this was anymore tasty than a plain vanilla or chocolate cupcake. To this day my feeling towards them hasn't changed but people love them and the one thing I can say is that 
the contrast between the red cake and white cream cheese icing a simplistic combination that is visually stunning. 

Despite not loving them myself, I do enjoy making cakes for others and seeing the enjoyment people get from my cakes. This order was a challenge as I had never actually made a red velvet cake before, only cupcakes. 

From the report back, I believe the cake didn't last very long after the 3pm tea break... so I would think my job here is done. 

Red Velvet Cake 
from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
60g unsalted butter, room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 free range egg
20g cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp white vinegar

for the icing
600g icing sugar, sifted
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
250g cream cheese, cold

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line three 20cm tins with baking parchment.

Put the butter and the sugar in your mixer and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).


Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk.

 Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.

Evenly measure out the mixture into the 3 pans.

 Bake for 25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. 
Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. 

Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating the icing sugar butter together in your mixer on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it until it is completely incorporated. 

Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least five minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

When the cakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top, followed by another layer of cake and then the last layer.

Then completely cover the cake in icing.

 And maybe add some pretty edible pearls.

Happy Baking x

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

In the words Dory, must keep blogging, must keep blogging. I have been slack this month with blog entries and today I decided to just skip all the backlogged (I make my own rules) recipes and put up the recipe I promised for my friend Jane. I think her fiancĂ© Pat is in for a surprise with these gluten free treats.

I have made this recipe many times before and for sometime it was the only cupcake recipe I would make. However, if you read the recipe below you will see the first instruction (after turning on your oven of course) is beating the eggs for 4 solid minutes. This can feel like forever when you have to stand and hold the beaters and of course this was back in the day before my Kitchen Aid and burning through £3 hand beaters from Argos was a regular occurrence.

Eventually I moved away from making these cupcakes so frequently, as lets be honest self-raising flour is a whole lot cheaper than ground almonds and even with the Kitchen Aid, my all in one vanilla cupcake recipe was a lot quicker to make.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 12

2 free range eggs
160g caster sugar
200g peeled & finely grated courgette *cough* zucchini *cough*
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g white rice flour
100g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

for the icing
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, softened
125g cream cheese, cold, it has to be cold!

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a cupcake tray with paper cases.

Whisk up the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until they are pale and fluffy; this takes about 4 minutes of solid whisking.

Whisk the grated courgette and the vanilla extract into the bowl until well incorporated. Be carefully dropping this into the bowl, you don't want to knock out the air you have just spent 4 minutes beating in. 

Finally, whisk in the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt until everything is completely combined, again careful when adding to the fluffy mixture.

Spoon the mixture into your cases until they about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes until risen and blonde on top. Once the cupcakes are cooked, cool them in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove from tin and allow to cool completely before icing. 

Whilst they are cooling, make the icing. I usually make this and then stick it back in the fridge to harden up which makes it easier to pipe, when you take it out of the frige you will have to give it a quick beat before its ready to use.

Beat the icing sugar and butter together with electric beaters on a slower speed until the mixture comes together. If you don't want icing sugar everywhere use a damp clean tea towel to cover the mixer. Straight from the fridge; add the cream cheese and beat until mixed through and then turn the beaters up to a medium-high speed and beat for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy, however do not overbeat at it can quickly become runny. Pipe or use a palet knife to ice cupcakes. 

Happy Baking x