Well, that was until the Coppards bought me Hummingbird Bakery's Cake Days book for my birthday. I know that the Coppard family are big fans of Hummingbird recipes and that they love cooking (and eating) many a Hummingbird Bakery treat. Well, what an absolutely lovely book Cake Days is! As soon as I thumbed through the pages looking at the exciting recipes for cakes, whoopie pies, mouth watering cheesecakes I couldn't wait to make my first Hummingbird treat.
As I am currently a lady of leisure for the duration of the summer holidays I am planning spend all of my spare time cooking and baking.
So I was excited when this weekend the perfect opportunity came up for me to make a massive batch of sweet treats - our long awaited Punk Rock Bowling outing!
Looking through my Hummingbird book for inspiration (and boy are there a lot of delicious recipes to choose from!) I eventually decided that I would give their famous Red Velvet cupcakes a go, particularly as these are very 'en vogue' at the moment. I also thought, well bowling is kind of American and all, these cakes would be perfect for a night of bowling fun.
Making the cakes was fairly easy, in that it didn't take me too long. But, unfortunately, like the last time I attempted a Red Velvet adventure, the cake YET AGAIN failed to go bright red! How disappointing!! This time I even used a full bottle of red food colouring but to no avail! Well, looking back at the Hummingbird recipe (I am a bit rubbish at reading recipes properly) I noticed it said "Remember to use the correct red food colouring" and then it said "such as Dr Oetker" next to the red food colouring in the ingredients list. Hmmm, so maybe next time I will have to shop around for a really good red food colouring if I want it to look as stunning as it should.
Anyway the cakes turned out to be really tasty - very moist and light. I got lots of positive comments from my buds about how they tasted which was good and Alex gave me a particularly nice compliment which was that he thought I would be a good person to have around in a war because I could make food for everyone. Someone then asked him "Are you going to start a war?" and he said: "If Hoolie is doing the cooking then yes." BOOM! Also Stu suggested that I could do door-to-door cupcake selling which sounds like it would be really fun if I didn't live in Rusholme.
I think having a batch of cupcakes while bowling was a really good idea and I think that from now on I will always have some cakes nearby when competing in any sort of sporting activity.
For the cupcakes
120g unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
2 large eggs
20g cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring (Doctor Oetker!)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
240ml of Buttermilk
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
For the icing
100g unsalted butter
600g icing sugar
250g cream cheese
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Get the butter and sugar together in a large bowl and cream together. Crack in the eggs one at a time, beating them in each time.
In another bowl, stir the cocoa, food colouring and vanilla essence together to form a paste.
Stir the paste into the cake batter until all nicely mixed in. At this point I am guessing your cake batter should look lovely and bright red. Mine did not, which I didn't think anything of at the time, which was perhaps my downfall but tant pis.
Mix the flour and salt together in a separate bowl. Sift half of the flour and salt mix into the bowl with the cake mix.
Now add half of the buttermilk to the cake batter before repeating the process until all the flour mix and buttermilk has been added.
In a third bowl, mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. This will all fizz up which is exciting.
Add the fizzy mix into your cake mix until fully incorporated and hey presto - red velvet cake mix-tastic.
Now put the cake mix into paper cake cases (I went for blue and red to continue with my slightly "American" theme) until two-thirds full (I think I put a bit too much in).
Put the cakes into the preheated oven for around 20 minutes. If you are cool like me you will have an awesome oven timer to help you out with this so you can just get on with your icing without having to look at the clock all the time.
While the cakes are in the oven, beat the butter and icing sugar together until there are no more lumps of butter. I don't have an electric whisk which made this rather thirsty work of this but I sort of got there in the end. The mix will start to look and feel sort of like very fine breadcrumbs. When you've achieved this consistency, you can add the cream cheese and mix well.
Once your cakes are out of the oven, leave them to cool completely. I left mine overnight which gave my icing a good 24 hours of fridge time to thicken up a bit.
Ice your cakes using a palette knife and try not to be as much of a mucky pup as me.
Once your cakes are iced, you can crumble up one of the cakes to sprinkle on top which looks very cute. What I did however, to make my cakes look super cool and bowling themed, was get my hands on some white, blue and red sugar balls and sprinkled them on top. I was quite pleased with how they looked at the end! Scrum!