Friday, February 26, 2010

Red Velvet Cakes

I read the amazing blog Delicious Delicious Delicious (one of my favourites) and saw the recipe for red velvet cupcakes.  I had heard of these before but wasn't sure about trying them, but after reading Mr P's glowing recommendations (and the fact that they looked good enough to eat off the screen) I thought I would give them a go.

I am soooo glad I did, this recipe is amazing. The uncooked batter has the consistancy of a chocolate mousse and is nice enough to eat on it's own.  I did restrain myself but it took a lot of effort.  The cooked cakes are the lightest fluffiest cakes ever.

I made these for my sister's birthday, and as she is a bit of a fan of pink and purple I adjusted the colour accordingly.  I know the cake is sensational enough on it's own and doesn't need decoration but it was her birthday and I was going all out.

This was also my first attempt at sugar flowers.  If I may make a suggestion, doing this on a 38 degree day is not the smartest move.  Something I learned the hard way.  The flowers are not great but my sister liked them and that is all that mattered.

To make the flowers I made a batch of royal icing, which is basically egg whites and icing sugar.  This hardens up nicely when you are done, but is very sticky in the heat.

Royal Icing
2 egg whites
4 cups icing sugar

I also bought a few pink sugar decorations and sparkles (which I am building up a collection of) just to top them off.

I have made these a few times now once even in red.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vodka Infusions

Here is a new favourite of mine.  They are called vodka infusions and they are seriously addictive.
It is a very simple process add lollies to vodka, wait for them to dissolve and then drink either straight up or with lemonade.

I have made these with redskins, skittles, jelly beans and raspberry lollies.  The gelatinous lollies take a lot longer to dissolve, up to two weeks, whereas skittles and redskins can dissolve in a day.

I would normally add a packet of redskins or skittles to a bottle of vodka.  The citrus skittles are really nice all mixed together, it looks kinda weird browny colour but tastes really good.  I did the other skittles all separated as I had been warned that these don't mix well.

My very first one I made was with raspberry lollies, not knowing how many to use I filled an empty vodka bottle with them and then filled the gaps with vodka, this was a very slow dissolve, mostly I think because I had too many lollies in there.

After four days I got impatient and decided that I probably needed to dilute the mix to allow the lollies to dissolve.  Upon tipping the (VERY THICK) mix out, it became a thick syrupy type of liquid (and I use that term loosely) so I simply put it through a strainer and decided it was ok.  This has to be stirred when mixed with lemonade but tasted incredibly good.  I did decide after that though that it needed to be diluted so I did add more vodka till it was pourable.

Skittles are quite nice as well, and they disolve overnight which is really cool.  The only problem is the film of sedament that floats on top.  It is not nice and really needs to be filtered to get rid of it.  I've heard the best way is to use a coffee filter but since I don't have any of those I ended up using a paper towel over a strainer.  Taste the colours of the rainbow has a whole new meaning.