Tiers of the Cake

A tasty slice of inspiration...

Hello foodies,

A huge warm welcome to Red Velvet Baking, the blog! I have been baking since I can remember and I have always wanted to share my experiences and tasty flair beyond the walls of my own home. In summer 2011 I launched this little blog. I blog as a celebration of my achievements and dedication to my culinary passion, alongside an overflow of my enthusiasm, with a few added delicious recipe ideas. Pictures and tips galore, sure enough to sink your teeth right into and to get your mouth watering. Delicious beautiful baking can put a smile on anyones face.

Summer 2013 saw me train for a month at Leiths, gaining a distinction in practical cookery and last summer I ran a culinary arts course in the USA, specialising in baking.

I am now back in the UK, writing for my blog from sunny Yorkshire. 2015 is going to be a big year for Red Velvet Baking, so keep posted!

Keep calm, enjoy and most importantly BAKE!


Jessica

xox

Twitter @RedVelvetBaking
Instagram @RedVelvetBaking
Pinterest Red Velvet Baking
Facebook Red Velvet Baking
Website - Undergoing a magical makeover!

Find the missing sprinkle...

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Eat: Easter Treats with Aldi

Hey foodies,


This week I received a gorgeous hamper of goodies from Aldi. To put the goodies to the test, I picked up some Easter treats, also from Aldi, and got my bake on!




In the hamper I received some cute oven gloves, conveniently red(!), a handy cske carrier, a silicone cake mould, a set of scales and an electric measuring jug.


Oven gloves

How exciting that they sent me red oven gloves - they must've known! These cute little gloves are double handed and will add a splash of colour to any kitchen. I'm sure to look stylish, whilst NOT burning my arms getting cakes out of the oven.


Weighing scales













Super handy and super slick. These touch interface, weighing scales are great for getting those all important accurate measurements when baking.

Measuring jug






















I've always wanted one of these. A weighing scale based jug makes sure all you liquid measurements are accurate. With a simple, button display on the handle, this is really easy to use and makes measuring ingredients quick and easy.

Carry case



As you can see I took my best budget bake to work. This carry case is ridiculously cheap at £4.99 and is great for transporting your delicious bakes around. You could even carry your cupcakes in here, but make sure you keep it level to avoid splattered buttercream!




With Easter just weeks away, Aldi was full of chocolate Easter egg hunting sets, mini rabbit shapes and, for the grown ups, some hazelnut and chocokate eggs! I just had to get some and I may have eaten one or two before even starting to bake! 

Aldi have a great selection of special buys around Easter, to inspire you to get in the kitchen and get baking. Make sure you pop down to your local Aldi and pick up some Easter goodies, check out the recipes below for some seasonal bakes!


Chocolate and Hazelnut Loaf

For my Aldi best budget bake I made this chocolate and hazelnut loaf cake and some cupcakes with a little leftover batter. This a really simple recipe, so get the kids involved and have a bit of fun. 

Ingredients

For the cake
80g butter (89p for 250g at Aldi)
280g caster sugar (89p for 1kg at Aldi)
215g plain flour (45p for 1.5kg at Aldi)
40g cocoa powder
1tbsp baking powder (69p for 200g at Aldi)
245ml milk
2 large eggs (£1 for 10 large eggs at Aldi)
1tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

115g butter (89p for 250g at Aldi)
65ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract
400g icing sugar (69p for 500g at Aldi)
50g cocoa powder
Orange and green food colouring

For the decoration

2tbsp Hazelnut spread (£1.78 for 400g at Aldi)
Aldi mini eggs (59p per pack at Aldi)
Aldi mini bunny rabbits (69p at Aldi)
Aldi hazelnut cream eggs (£1.69 at Aldi)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 175 (fan assisted). Line a loaf tin and put 6 cupcake wrappers in a muffin tray.

1. Make sure the butter is at room temperature and then, in a large bowl, cream it with the sugar. You can use an electric hand mixer, but start with a fork to avoid a sugar coated kitchen! This may look a little like wet sand when it's done. If you have a mixer, use the paddle attachment and watch it work it's magic!

2. Add the flour and baking powder and blend it in with a fork. This will look a little like breadrcumbs. Once at this stage, slowly add the cocoa powder - it creates cocoa clouds if you're not too careful! If using a stand mixer, just add it all in and put it on a low setting or you'll get clouds too!
3. Lightly beat the eggs with the milk and vanilla. With the electric whisk on the slowest speed, gradually pour the liquid into the dry mixture, until it is all incorporate. Don't whisk for too long at this stage, as it can make the batter a little stiff.
4. If you have one, use a cookie or ice cream scoop to put one dollop of mixture into each cupcake case. Use the remainder to fill the loaf tin ¾ full and pop both into the oven.

5. The cupcakes will take about 20 minutes and should bounce back when touched. Take them out quickly, as the cake will need around 25-30 minutes. Before taking the cake out, test to see if it is ready by pressing gently on the centre of the cake and seeing if it bounces back. If it is not ready, test in 3 minute increments.

6. Once the cupcakes are out, unwrap 6 hazelnut cream eggs and push one into the centre of each cupcake. 

Let the the cake cool for a short while in the tin and then run a knife around the edge to loosen it and remove it from the tin. Leave both to cool on a wire wrack, before moving onto the icing.

Chocolate Frosting


1. Cream the butter with an electric whisk or in a stand mixer, until soft and fluffy.

2. Gradually beat in a little milk, vanilla extract and 200g of the icing sugar. Keep beating on a steady slow speed until the icing sugar is incorporated and then gradually add a bit of each until it is all in!

3. In two separate bowls, take a scoop of the vanilla frosting and put to one side. This will be used for the carrots tops and leaves. Take a third scoop and place directly in a piping bag, fitted with a small star nozzle.

4. Back with the icing mixture, add the cocoa powder and slowly beat in. Feel free to have a cheeky taste test at this stage, with a clean spoon of course. If it is not chocolatey enough, add some more cocoa powder. If the frosting is looking a little too stiff, add a tiny drop of milk. Remember that liquid goes a long way in frosting, so make sure it really is a tiny drop!

5. Put the chocolate frosting into a piping bag fitted with a big star nozzle. If you don't have one, use a spatula to coat the sides of the cake.

6. Back to the separate bowls, drop a tiny bit of green gel food colour in one and orange gel food colouring in the other. Whisk in until the frosting is even in colour and place the green in a piping back with a leaf nozzle (no nozzle would be ok for leaves as you can just drag a piped dot into a leaf shape) and put the orange into a piping bag with no nozzle.

Cake Assembly


1. Once the cake is cooled, cut the top off the cake to level it. Put this excess cake into a bowl and crumble into pieces to create your flower bed 'soil'.
2. Pipe the chocolate frosting in swirls around the edges of the cake or use a spatula to coat the sides, leaving the top bare.
3.Coat the top with hazelnut spread and sprinkle on the cake soil.
4. Now to get super creative! Pipe on some white flowers, use the orange buttercream to create little round carrot tops and pipe green leaves on the top. Get your mini eggs and place them round the edges and don't forget the little bunnies!

Cupcake Assembly


For the cupcakes, I just piped a small swirl on each and topped with mini eggs and bunnies. Check out the hazelnut cream on the inside!


I really enjoyed baking up a storm with this creative, seasonal, Easter bake. What will you bake up on a budget?



For the little ones or even for a laugh at the office, why not do an Easter egg hunt with Aldi's handy kit. Hide these milk chocolate goodies and get the kids, or big kids, to find them!

Say it with Aldi this Easter.

Love, 

Jess xo


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Explore: Edinburgh


Hey foodies,


Haven't the first two months flown?! I mean March, really? 

At the end of February I took a short, weekend break to Edinburgh. I've never really explored Scotland and as a belated birthday pressie for the bf, I thought a bit of Scottish, city culture would be a welcome break.

Being the organised person that I am, I researched restaurants, walks and activities and read review after review. With it being a city of great tourist attraction there's so much to see, including Edinburgh Castle, the National Art Gallery and all the beautiful garden walks. So to give you foodie explorers a heads up, here at my five Edinburgh highlights:

1. The Scotch Whisky Experience

This was part of George's birthday treat, as he's definitely more of a whisky drinker than me! However, I also really enjoyed the experience. The tour started on a ride! I was rather shocked and so excited, as we sat coupled on a journey through the making of Scotch whisky. As we disembarked the ride, we were greeted by our tour guide and taken into a brief seminar on whisky, using scent cards to embody the tasting notes of whisky from the different regions. We then got to pick our favourite to sample. Being the sweetie that I am, I opted for a blended whisky, with honey. More of a liquor really, compared to all the other hardcore whisky drinkers in the room. As we took back the notes of our chosen sample and swirled the golden liquid in our glasses, our guide walked us through the largest collection of Scotch whisky in the world. It was huge! Our tour ended with a look at some of the most unusually designed and sought after whisky bottles, from chess pieces to Big Ben, there were some beautiful whisky works of art.


We upgraded our tour to include a platter of tasters from the different Scotch whisky regions. A very sensory, but relaxed experience and it's safe to say I needed a glass of water before leaving to help me get back down the stairs!

Tours start from just £14 and it's a must! www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk

2. Afternoon tea at the Dome

It was my Dad who actually suggested this. Being a lover of luxury and I think it's obvious that I'm a lover of delicious food, afternoon tea in this stunning building was also high on my priority list. With its impressive grandeur, who wouldn't want to spend their afternoon eating petite finger sandwiches, macarons and of course - scones! I mean even George enjoyed it, so it must have been tasty.


Prices start around £18 and book in advance to avoid disappointment. www.thedomeedinburgh.com

3. Thai banquet at Time for Thai

I must have spent hours searching for a restaurant. I'm quite difficult to please and with internet reviews so easily accessible, it only takes one comment to put me off booking. When going to new places, I always try to eat somewhere local and avoid most chain restaurants like the plague. George and I have a particular love for Thai cuisine and I wanted somewhere which wouldn't disappoint. After numerous phone calls I finally got us a table at Time for Thai. The decor looked modern and elegant, so I booked a table for 8pm. When we arrived the restaurant was packed, which although meant a short break, I knew I'd made a good decision! With complimentary drinks for our patience and faultless service, this was one of the best Thai meals I've ever had. I will certainly be going back, even if only for the generosity of the front of house staff.


Set menus start at £23.95 and you definitely need to book as far in advance as possible for this one! time4thai.co.uk

4. Evening drinks at the Jazz Bar

With the dark, atmospheric lighting in this place I didn't get any pictures, but all the more reason for you to visit it for yourself! This little gem, hidden away in a basement off Chambers street, is home to the very best of funk, soul and blues. Holding up to four live sessions a day, you really have no excuse! The bar was packed, but we managed to get seats, and the live band were fantastic, especially as they were a mix of solo artists. It was like an open house rehearsal, so anything could've happened!

It was incredibly relaxed and you could tell all of the musicians were fully immersed in the music. Check out their online calendar for a little inspiration...www.thejazzbar.co.uk

5. Camera Obscura

Now this is an odd one really, for me anyway. I tend to stay clear of the typical tourist attractions, but with George not being a fan of history and castles, we thought we would try out Camera Obscura. With incredibly high ratings for being family friendly and fun for all ages, we though WHY NOT?

With several floors full of fun, obscure activities, including a rotating tunnel walkway, mirror maze and photo booths which simulate your face as a monkey, we spent hours walking round in hysterics.It really was a great laugh and we took loads of silly pictures too, see my big head below!


The original main attraction, is the camera obscura itself, where you can view live moving images of Edinburgh projected onto a viewing table, through a giant periscope. With 360 degree turning facility, this intriguing projected image allows you play games with the image, lifting people up on paper bridges and dropping them back onto the table. Although this is more exciting and interactive for the little ones, I found it fascinating and it has been a major attraction for over 150 years in Edinburgh.


Here's me on the top of the building, in rather dismal weather, but nonetheless taking a selfie the waving 'Hello' flag. General admission is £13.95 and you can come and go as you please! You will need to leave plenty of time for silly selfies! www.camera-obscura.co.uk

So all you need to do now is book a city break!

I'm really looking forward to going back to Edinburgh in May and super excited for all my upcoming city break plans through 2015. Where will your adventures take you?

Say it with experience, go explore.

Love,

Jess

xo