Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Durban - I Love My City

I came across this fantastic video by Chris da Canha showing beautifully shot time lapses of Durban. I love my city and this just gives you a glimpse of some of her beauty...

Monday, 18 March 2013

Red Velvet

I've never quite understood the obsession with Red Velvet Cupcakes that the world seems to be going through. Personally, a rich chocolate cupcake or light berry cupcake are up on my favourites list, but I realised that I couldn't in all honesty call myself a baker if I'd never tried to make these. 
So I did.
And they turned out spectacularly. 
In fact I may just make them again. If everybody wants Red Velvet, well then I am happy to oblige...

As with most treats I bake, this recipe is pretty easy to follow and doesn't require too much fancy skill...

Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1  teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 bottles food colouring (80ml)
1 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons white vinegar

1.  Preheat oven to 180C.  Prepare cupcake pan with liners. 

2.  In a large bowl whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt, and set aside.

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment), beat oil and sugar until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time, and continue beating.  Add food colouring and vanilla and mix well.

4.  Add flour and buttermilk alternately, in two batches.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Mix just enough to combine.

5.  Place baking soda in a bowl or cup, add vinegar and stir (it will foam and expand).  Add to cake batter and beat for 10 seconds.

6.  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, and bake for  20-24 minutes.  

This recipe will yield about 24 - 26 cupcakes

Original Recipe taken from here 

Cream Cheese Icing
1 tub (about 230g) Cream cheese (cold - directly from fridge) 
1/3 cup butter ( room temperature)
1tsp Vanilla Essence 
4 - 6 cups Icing sugar

1.  Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until fully combined, about 30 seconds.

2.  Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar (one cup at a time) while mixing.  Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy. Keep adding sugar until you get the desired consistency. I find on hotter days I need to add more sugar as the cream cheese is a lot more melty.

3.  Frost cupcakes and decorate if desired. 

Ingredients. I always first lay out all my ingredients before I even start. This helps avoid those awful situations where you realise you are missing an ingredient and have to stop everything to pop out to the shops.

Lovely red colour

Fresh out the oven



Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Looking through the photobox...

I love going through old photos! I love the way a photo can bring memories flooding back in. I was recently going through a few photos while I was at my mum's and through giggling at the old fashions and my dad's perm (not even kidding - he had a perm in the 80's) I found this little pic of me and a friend.

Turns out my aspirations to bake and create aren't a new thing... I may not wear a bakers outfit nor bake as a profession, but I'm happiest when I'm mixing up a batch of moist cupcakes to share with friends.

I wonder if my friend next to me followed her dreams and pursued being a cowgirl ;o)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Holi One

The Holi One festival is finally coming to Durban (Yippee!). The date has been confirmed for 6 April and is set to be a day of colour and music!

In brief, the Holi One festival is a large outdoors party where everybody wears white and every hour on the hour we all throw massive amounts of coloured powder in the air. 

This however is not totally random. Holi is actually a spring festival celebrated by Hindus as a festival of colours. The festival has many purposes; first and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. 

Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying springs abundant colours and saying farewell to winter.. During this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw coloured powder at each other, and celebrate wildly.  Holi lowers the strictness of social norms.  Together, everyone enjoys each other’s presence on this joyous day.  No one expects polite behaviour and as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement, fun and joy. 

The global HOLI ONE festival is not directly linked to the original Holi Festival, nor with it’s religious aspects, but is definitely inspired by it and shares the same values - a day steeped in the old Indian tradition of bringing people together in love and peace, a tradition that transcends backgrounds and cultures, embodying the ‘We Are All One’ philosophy
(Details and all photos taken from the Holi One Website)

To book a ticket click here or for more info on specifically the Durban festival click here.

I've already got my ticket and I will be sure to share what it was like!