Monday, February 25, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have the feeling that at the moment everyone is talking about red velvet cupcakes. And especially for Valentine's Day all the food blogs were full of red velvet cupcakes, brownies, cake pops and so on. So I got curious, and wondered what is so special about that red sweet dessert. 
I started checking out recipes, and in the first place I thought, well except from the food coloring there is nothing special about these cupcakes. And then two weeks ago, again, a friend was talking about red velvet cupcakes. This is when I thought: OK you have to try them.

But which recipe would now be the perfect recipe? Most of the recipes I found were quite similar, except for the frosting. Either there was too much sugar, or too much butter, or too much food coloring. I have to say, usually I don't like artificial colors when it comes to food. Especially these flashy blue or green ones. But I decided to give it a try.

I just purchased a book called "Cantine California" which has a lot of American recipes in it. I don't know if you already know the concept. It's a truck in Paris, moving from one square to another, selling American tradition with French quality of food. As far as I understood is the Author and Manager of the concept an American who grew up in France and tried to combine French quality with American tradition. So far I can say I am convinced of the recipe, and I will try a lot more from that book.

For 12 cupcakes you need:

60g butter
150g sugar
125g flour
1 big egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1pinch of salt
1tsp baking powder
10g cocoa powder
1tbs red food coloring
12cl buttermilk
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda

For the icing:
330g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°

In a large bowl soften the butter with a hand mixer. Then add the sugar and mix again until you get a light mixture. Now you can add the egg and the vanilla extract and mix again. In another bowl whisk together the flour, the salt, the baking powder and the cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture. In a small bowl mix the buttermilk and the food coloring and pour onto the dough. Aside, you should now mix the baking soda and the vinegar and then add them to the dough. Take the hand mixer again and mix until you get an even dough. 

Put cupcake cases into your cupcake mold and pour the dough up to 2/3 into the cupcake forms and bake for 25 minutes.

Let them cool down 10 minutes in the mold before putting them on a baking rack.

For the icing mix the vanilla extract, the cream cheese and the icing sugar until you get an even mixture. Fill the latter into an icing bag and start decorating the cupcakes. Usually I put a little decoration on the cupcakes but this time I chose not to do because I tried to form a rose-like icing


Monday, February 11, 2013

Onion Veal en Papillote with Mediterranean Spices

This is one of my favorite cooking memories of university. Cooking is like a relaxing therapy for me. So during my exam periods I always prepared the best dishes. For those who actively follow my blog already know by now that I usually did the food shopping on the market. On these rainy days I start daydreaming about the gorgeous markets and its food. 

Even if the recipe is a result of a lazy evening during the exam period, it is a very healthy and light one. There is not a lot of grease in it and the sauce comes from the onions' and meat's liquid. The interesting part about papillotes is that you can play with spices as much as you want. And you can use any meat you want. Chicken is another very interesting type of meat for your papillotes. You can travel from North to South, from East to West and use as many ingredients as you want.

For 2 persons you need:

400g meat
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
herbes de provence
4 tbs olive oil 
a pinch of cayenne pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°

Peel the onions and cut them into little cubes. Place one onion on the kitchen foil. Then cut the veal meat into small dices and place it on the onion. Add salt and pepper as well as the garlic cloves. Now you can place the second onion on the garlic and meat mix. 

The seasoning is up to you. Put as much of each spice as you want but be careful with the cayenne pepper. 

Wrap the kitchen foil together in such a way that it is completely closed. Put into the oven and let it cook for 40 to 45 minutes.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Caramel Walnut Brownies

Today while preparing the arrival of my my Parisian friend I was thinking about the lovely birthday gifts I got from family and friends and I was smiling, because every year there is one dominating theme in the gifts I get. I was happy to see how well my beloveds know me so well. It's not that difficult to figure that my favorite colors are violet and pink, that I love chocolate and baking and cooking. So no wonder everything turns around these colors and themes.

These observations made me think of my birthday in 2005 when 3 of my friends baked brownies for me. I had almost 50 to 60 pieces at home, which I shared with family and friends. Three totally different and yet so yummy recipes. This was the moment when I found that this would be a perfect moment to bake brownies. BROWNIES I thought, and this is how the decision for my next blog post was taken. I went to the supermarket and bought some butter, chocolate and caramel. Arriving at home I saw that there were some walnuts left and decided to add them to give them a nutty flavor.

This is basically how I decide what to post next. In general I do not preview much in advance what to bake or cook next. There are some recipes queuing for months now. But every time some other dish or cake pops up in my head in very unexpected moments. Don't ask me why, it always happens like this.

Special Thanks also to my friend Manon L. who did a great job as a lightning assistant. During winter it's not always easy to deal with the grey sky. Very often the pictures become too dark. So thanks for holding the linen paper.

For a normal brownie mold you need:

90g flour
150g sugar
3 eggs
120g butter
180g dark chocolate
60g soft caramels
70g walnuts


Preheat the oven to 180°

In a large bowl beat the eggs and add the sugar immediately after. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie. While these ingredients are slowly melting add the flour to the beaten eggs until you get an even dough. Once the chocolate is liquid pour it into the dough. Cut the soft caramels into small cubes and chop the nuts. Now add them as well and mix again.

Bake for 25 minutes.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

There would be no perfect birthday without cupcakes. Already my cupcake friend Anne sent me a lovely cupcake postcard with even lovelier birthday wishes. So thank you first of all. I have to mention her when I talk about cupcake happiness, because she was the one who opened the world of cupcakes to me. Yes, cupcakes are not only a good-looking dessert; no they also have emotional value. And on this special day, my birthday, which I am supposed to enjoy, and I definitely do, cupcakes have to be part of it.

I guess you got it. I love cupcakes. And for former birthdays, my friends offered me recipe books of all kinds, indicating the best looking and the tastiest cupcake recipes. The one I chose is a combination I really like: white chocolate and raspberries. I allowed myself to change the recipe a little bit. Normally I am not that courageious when it comes to baking. With cooking no problem, but with baking I am always a bit hesitating to change things. But so far, I cannot complain about the outcome.

Anne, if by chance you read this during your holidays, please do know that I would have given a lot to share these with you!!!! But for all the others, I am totally willing to share with you. The only thing you have to know is, that you have to be fast enough otherwise there won't be any left. I can tell from experience, that they disappear quite quickly. 

For 18 cupcakes you need:

225g butter
225g sugar
225g flour
1 ts baking powder
4 eggs
18 raspberries
100g white chocolate chips

For the icing you need:

200g cream cheese
175g icing sugar
1 ts vanilla extract
3 tbs butter
18 raspberries

Preheat the oven to 175°

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, the sugar and the butter. Then add the flour and the baking powder. Now you can add the white chocolate chips.

Place the paper muffin cups into the mold and add 1tbs of dough. Then add one raspberry onto the dough and fill the muffin cup 3/4 full with dough again. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes.


Whisk the cream cheese and the icing sugar together. Add the butter and the vanilla extract until you get a creamy paste. Put the icing cream for 10 minutes into the fridge. Then decorate the cupcakes. To put another fruit element on top, decorate each cupcake with a raspberry.


 photo s_04.jpg  photo s_05.jpg  photo s_06.jpg