Friday, February 27, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes

This was my first attempt at making Red Velvet Cupcakes. I'm going to go back to the drawing board with this one, but thought I would post them anyway - afterall that's what this is for!

A lot of the recipes I came across had reviews saying how oily the cupcake was. So I was a bit worried, wondering if this recipe would come out dripping - Not moist enough! Also, I also used
1 1/2 bottles of red food colouring - not red enough! And, I'm not sure why, but it was like when the cupcake baked, the food colouring was drawn to the centre so when you unwrapped the cupcake it looked like it was a chocolate cupcake. When you bit into it, was when you saw the red. That was kind of cool, but I want to see ALL red! So the Red Velvet Cupcakes will go back to the test kitchen!

Red Velvet Cupcakes (Makes 24)

3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
6 tbsp red food coloring
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla.

Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk.

Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.

In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth. Divide the batter among the cupcake cups. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting with Shredded Coconut

8 oz. Cream Cheese (I used light)
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups *powdered sugar
2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth). Pour the coconut onto a plate. Lightly roll the cupcake tops in the coconut so that it's covered. Serve.

*If you want a thicker frosting, more powdered sugar can be added (up to 4 cups).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Strawberry Scones

A few weekends ago there was some strawberries on sale at Safeway, so I picked up a couple of containers. We had some with brunch the day after I bought them. They were not very tasty at all. I really should know better - it's not the season. But, I figured it was close to Valentine's Day and they usually bring out some good strawberries around that time, so why not. With one bite, I remembered why not. So I told Dave that I would wash and hull them and throw in the freezer - smoothies! Well as the week went on, the strawberries were forgotten about and they got pushed to the back of the fridge.

The day I made the banana muffins I was flipping through the recipes and came across the Strawberry Scones recipe. I thought hmmm...I've got those strawberries that need to be used...bookmarked!

So the recipe actually called for dried strawberries, but I thought I'd try it out with the fresh strawberries to see how that would be. I would have to was an experience. Because I used fresh instead of dried, the dough was MUCH stickier. The recipe calls for you to roll the dough out and then cut into the triangles. Well, I plopped the dough on the counter and I plopped it right back into the bowl. There was no way it was going to roll out or have been cut into triangles. So, I just used a 1/2 cup scoop and scooped them onto the parchment paper and just let them bake freeform - which turned out alright. If you like an unsweet scone, this is a great recipe to play with - I'd definitely add some orange zest.

Strawberry Scones (makes 12-16 large scones)

4 cups flour, plus 1 tbsp
2 tbsp sugar, plus 1 tbsp
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cold butter, diced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream (I used skim milk)
3/4 cups small diced dried strawberries (I used 1 cup diced fresh)
1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp water or milk for egg wash (I omitted this step)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the strawberries with 1 tbsp of flour (if using dried), add them to the dough and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch plain or fluted cutter and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a baking sheet lined parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

Recipe taken from:

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I love bananas - But they have to be just right. A banana for me has to be just coming out of its green stage. It has to be firm and can't have any brown spots or be too yellow. The riper it is and the more banana-ey it tastes, no thank you. I can't stand a sweet banana! Though, they do come in handy. My bananas always tend to just sit on the counter. A couple of them will get eaten, but then they'll just sit there...and get ripe - ew! So, I used to just throw the whole bananas in the freezer to use at a later time, and they would pile up. But one thing I've been doing lately is either chopping or slicing them in half and sticking them on a parchment lined cookie sheet in the freezer (to prevent from sticking together). Then once frozen, I throw them in a ziploc bag in the freezer - perfect for smoothies!

A couple weekends ago I had some bananas sitting on the counter and already had a pretty good stock of frozen ones in the freezer, so I decided to make banana muffins. This is the recipe I made (slightly altered from the original recipe). They were absolutely delicious! I would definitely make them again. Thanks Ina!

Banana Crunch Muffins (18 large muffins)

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup skim milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana (2-3 bananas)
1 cup banana, medium diced (1-2 bananas)
3/4 walnuts, small diced
3/4 granola
3/4 coconut, medium unsweetened
diced banana chips, granola or shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line 18 large muffins cups with paper liners. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. (If no mixer, use a wooden spoon.) Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour and butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't overmix.

Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top. (I use a click handle ice cream scoop.) Top each muffin with dried banana chips, granola or coconut, if desired. (I used granola.) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from pan and serve.

This recipe taken from:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine Sugar Cookies

I wanted to do something different for Valentine's Day and I remembered the sugar cookies my mom used to make when we were younger. She would make sugar cookies, dye them pink and cut them out in hearts. So I wanted to make these sugar cookies, but with the Terracotta Café touch.

Sugar Cookies (3-4 dozen)

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake cookies for about 10 minutes (depending on size) or until brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Royal Icing

2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
6 drops red food colouring
red sugar crystals

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. Add the food colouring and beat until fully incorporated. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Frost the cookies and sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Be sure to let the royal icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours.) Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

Welcome to the Café!

In my grade 12 yearbook write-up, my two future ambitions were to be on the radio and to own Terracotta Café. I took the radio program at BCIT after graduation and it's hard to believe that I have now been working in radio for 8 years.
I always loved being in the kitchen, experimenting with recipes and trying new foods. I love to cook for people, to see the smile on their faces when they see what I have prepared. In this blog I will share with you the recipes I create and make as I explore my passion.