What’s all the fuss about Red Velvet?

I’ve never been a particularly adventurous person when it comes to eating. I like my tinned spaghetti, my Cadbury’s chocolate, my weetbix. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat fancy food as well, I just don’t seem to get around to it all that often. Recently however, a switch has been flipped. I’ve found myself thinking “what’s all the fuss about xyz food?” And the food that has been pre occupying my mind was been Red Velvet Cake. When I saw this Red Velvet Recipe on the amazing Bakerella’s website I thought that this must be the time to take the plunge.


Did it live up to the hype?

well… it was interesting to see the mix turn from a weird milky brown to blood red

ok so you cant really see that it’s blood red here. But you can see that I made a layer cake. Again. They’re so much fun, can you blame me? And see that filling? Its cream cheese frosting. Yummo!

And did I decorate that baby? You becha! I used these cute little hearts from Roberts Confectionery that I got at Peters of Kensington

Sometimes you just need to keep it simple. Stupid!

How good does layer cake look when you carve it up? All that cream cheese frosting…

The Verdict: well it was light and moist and my goodness, the frosting was amazing. I could eat whole bowls of that. The cake however, was not that amazing. It was nice… but I feel like its a bit of a mutant flavour. Not quite vanilla, not quite chocolate, not quite a discernible flavour of its own. Guess what cake? I want you to taste distinct! And you did not 🙁

So, my lovelies, what did I do wrong? Am I just not that enamored with Red Velvet or is there a better recipe I should be using? Advice please!! And are there any flavours that you have tried lately that you just weren’t that fussed about?

Maple Pecan Cookies – and the saddest sight in the world

Sometimes I wish I lived in Canada. Mostly when I think about how much I love Maple Syrup. In fact, in my Canadian house I would have a big Maple tree in my backyard with a tap in it so that I could get Maple Syrup whenever I want. (Because we all know that in dreams, anything can happen.) Then I would have Maple Syrup with my pancakes for breakfast, Maple Syrup in muffins for lunch and maple glazed ham for dinner. Maple Syrup with Beaver Tails… mmmmmmm….

But, while I am not living in Canada, I have had to resort to bottled Maple Syrup and find interesting ways to incorporate it into my cooking. And while bottled Maple Syrup is so incredibly expensive, I am trying to find thrifty ways of including it! Enter: Maple Pecan Cookies.

I got the recipe from the wonderfully titled Eat Me! The Stupendous, Self-Raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookies Girl when I was searching for some cookies that were not full of chocolate (like everything else I make!) The recipe was simple and straightforward, and they seemed like the perfect picnic food.

They were fuss free and turned out beautifully crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Aren’t they pretty all in a row?

And they tasted great with a glass of milk! Very More-ish!

So the recipe was easy, the product was tasty, everything went well… what is this ‘saddest sight in the world’ I hear you ask? Look on, my lovelies…

An empty bottle of Maple Syrup. All that sweet, mapley goodness… gone…

I might go away and cry now.

Then I will go to the store and buy another bottle so I can make these delicious cookies again!!!

So what ingredient, my lovelies, do you find upsetting when you run out of it? Or am I the only one with such extreme reactions… maybe don’t answer that!

Maple Pecan Cookies – From Eat Me! by Cookie Girl


100g unsalted butter

255g caster sugar (I used golden caster sugar and it was pretty damn good!)

85g dark brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

285g plain flour

1 tsp bi-carb soda

3 tbsp Maple Syrup

55g chopped pecans


1.  Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy

2. Add the egg and vanilla

3. Sift over the flour and bi-carb and mix

4. Add the maple syrup and nuts, mix well

5. roll heaped tablespoons of mixture onto baking trays and cook at 150 degrees celsius for 8-10 mins or until lightly golden. Don’t bake for too long unless you like your cookies crispy

6. Enjoy on a beautiful picnic, or late at night with a glass of cold milk!

a few of my favourite things…

Birthdays are pretty cool. They would definitely make my list of favourite things. Unfortunately my birthday falls smack bang in the middle of exams. Now it shouldn’t really affect me anymore seeing as i’ve finished high school, i’ve finished university and im crossing my fingers that i’ll never have to sit another exam (except for my driving test!). Except in teaching, the horror of exams is perpetual. Far worse than spending two hours sitting an exam is spending entire stretches of weekends marking the damn things!

There seems to be no conception of how long it actually takes to mark exams but just to give you an idea, im a slow marker. I can mark maybe six papers in an hour? (including commenting, annotating etc) Multiply that by 120 papers and you get… well… a whole lot of hours sitting on my butt marking. I needed to pick some things from my favourite things list to soften the blow.

So alongside my exams (that stack isnt even all of them!) I packed the lastest Gourmet Traveller and a double box of Guylian Seashells which are my favourite chocolates.

Having emerged victorious (and only slightly paper cut) from my marking battle, I needed to put my feet up for some R&R. In order to do so I hit up my favourite things list again. If you have had a conversation with me in the last few months, I can guarantee that there are two words that I will have found a way to work into the conversation. Cake Boss.

Mover over Statue of Liberty. Carlo’s Bakery is my new #1 New York destination!

If you haven’t been able to see this gem of a show then you are missing out! Cake Boss Buddy Valestro runs a tight ship and he and his workers rise to the occasion no matter what the challenge. And boy, are there some challenges! I mean, how on earth do you make one cohesive wedding cake for fourteen couples who all want different flavours and fillings? Buddy knows! As well as producing some amazing cakes, the chemistry and camaraderie between the staff makes for fantastic viewing. This dvd may not leave my machine for a very long time…

All things come in threes. So naturally I need to tell you another of my favourite things to complete today’s list. Little did I know my wonderful boyfriend would surprise me with a new banner for this little blog of mine! Hooray!! Now it is even more colourful and cute! (And that is me in cartoon form in the top left corner). So my lovelies, what are some of your favourite things? Baking or non baking related!

Another year older…

Last Saturday I woke up thinking “where did all the time go?” I looked behind the sofa, nothing. Under the bed? Nope, not there either. At the bottom of my handbag (a common hiding place for other necessities such as keys, lipstick, spare change)? Nuh uh!

I had to face the startling conclusion that the time had just gone. Poof. Another year, another notch on the wall. But birthdays are not supposed to be about doom and gloom! So despite the time sucking black hole following me around, I put on my apron and started baking for my annual afternoon tea party!

I had been secretly planning this for weeks and had hoped to have my tea party outside in the garden. But as E.E. Cummings would say, the world was “puddle wonderful” as the heavens opened for an almighty deluge. So the garden was not to be, but at least it cooled down so that the heat from my baking wasn’t so uncomfortable. See? Always a silver lining!

On the menu was:

Thumbprint cookies

Vanilla cupcakes

Mini vanilla cupcakes with fondant duckies


Brownie Bottom Cheesecake (on the bottom left)

Violet Cream Cupcakes (With sugared violets courtesy of the fabulous Mrs S!) And yes that is the Bourke St Bakery Flourless Chocolate Cake hiding in the corner.

and of course…

Birthday Cake!!

This time filled with strawberry jam and chantilly cream

(and yes, I can see my wonky layers! I didn’t realise chantilly cream was so unstable!)

I was particularly proud of my Violet Cream Cupcakes which came to me in a flash of inspiration. When I was in Adelaide recently, I fell in love with Haighs’ Violet Cream Chocolates. I loved them so much that I got to thinking… I had made Elderflower cupcakes, rosewater cupcakes, why not Violet ones? Furthermore, why not make chocolate cupcakes with Violet Buttercream Icing so that they would be Violet Cream Cupcakes? Brilliant!!

Thankyou to all my lovely friends who made it last Saturday and thanks also for the birthday wishes from those who were otherwise engaged. I had a wonderful time and I hope you all did as well!

So my lovelies, what food do you love to eat on your birthday?

(p.s. I think my camera lens might have been a bit grubby. Oops.)

Violet Cream Cupcake Recipe

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe – from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook


100g plain flour

20g cocoa

140g caster sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

40g unsalted butter

120ml full cream milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract


1. Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and butter in a bowl and mix until you have a sandy consistency

2. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla together in a separate bowl

3. Pour half the milk mixture into the flour mixture and beat until smooth and combined

4. Slowly pour the remaining liquids in and beat until smooth

5. Spoon into paper cases and bake for 20-25 mins on 170 degree celsius

Violet Buttercream Icing


250 g icing sugar

80g unsalted butter

25ml milk

a dash of violet essence

purple food colouring


1. Beat butter and sugar until combined

2. gradually add milk until desired consistency is reached

3. Add a dash (maybe half a teaspoon) of violet essence and mix well. Add more essence as desired (bear in mind that if you are making this in advance the flavour will intensify the longer they are left)

4. add food colouring until desired colour is reached