I’m working on a review of Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache. I have a couple more recipes I want to try before I come to a final conclusion, but this is what I’ve made so far.
These recipes are weird. They have vegetables in them, mostly in place of butter, but then have butter and cream cheese toppings much of the time, which makes them useless for someone like me who is avoid milk rather than calories. They are made with rice flour, so are gluten free, which isn’t weird, obviously, but does make it difficult to judge if the strange texture is down to the vegetables or the flour.
When I do the review I’ll discuss the tone of the book, but to give you a hint, these are described as a ‘provocative blonde bombshell’ Which is not how I think of mini cupcakes, to be honest. In the book, she warns you not to try to cook cakes just in the wrappers and I ignored that advice and she was right. I have now bought some mini-cupcake tins, so will avoid the spreading problem in the future. So far, these were my favourite of the recipes I’ve tried and a box of them quickly disappeared from the adult table of Wednesday toddler group. I put this down to the icing, to be honest – it was extremely lemony so they were like little sweet taste bombs which disappeared quickly. This brought me around to the genre of minicakes, which I have always been slightly dubious of in the past.
1 medium egg
50g caster sugar
100g finely grated peeled courgette
25g rice flour
50g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
small pinch salt
zest of 2 lemons
small bit of yellow food colouring.
Oven at 160 C and if you have muffin trays, line with 24 cases.
Whisk the egg and sugar together for 3 minutes until fluffy. This is when I grated the courgettes, which the mixer was doing its magic. Add the courgette and beat again. It will look like this and you will feel dubious.
Keep going anyway. Mix the flour, ground almond, baking powder and salt in a bowl, add the zest and put them all into the mixer along with a small amount of yellow food colouring (I use a toothpick for this.) Mix for another mix until it is all incorporated.
Put in cases – using 2 spoons is probably the easiest way to do this. One with the mixture, the other to push it off into the cases.
Bake for 15 minutes.
150g icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Yellow food colouring
Sieve the icing sugar and mix the yellow juice and food colouring until smooth.
Let the cakes cool and then ice with the assistance of any children who want to help. They will especially enjoy adding small sugar stars if you happen to have some lying about.
Eat in little gulps of lemon.
Now on to the less successful recipe. This could be because I’m not used to the texture of cupcakes made from rice flour, but I found these heavy and strangely dense for what were physically light cakes.
100g ground peanuts (I used almonds because that’s what I had handy)
3 medium eggs
200g light brown sugar
200g peeled and grated butternut squash (I used a mini food processor for this after about a minute of trying to use the box grater)
100g rice flour
40g cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
Set the oven to 180 C and line a standard sized cupcake tray with 12 cases.
Whisk the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together and then add them while continuing to whisk.
Cook for 30 minutes.
Cool completely before icing.
60g smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
75 ml boiling water
Mix the sugar, cocoa and peanut butter until well combined. Add the water slowly until the icing is a smooth paste. Put on the cupcakes and if you’re not me, remember to tidy the cases before taking a photograph.