Monday, 16 July 2012

Raspberry Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet cake is one of my very favourite cakes. An ordinary buttermilk sponge is nothing special, but when you add food colouring to the batter, well, that's a different matter altogether. I mean, what's not to love about a whole bottle of rose pink food colouring?

I first discovered this cake about five years ago on the internet. Back then Red Velvet Cake was nowhere to be seen in Australian cake shops and was somewhat of a novelty. Ordinarily I cover the outside of the cake with the white cream cheese frosting, so you can imagine the surprise of cutting into a seemingly white cake for the first time to reveal a shockingly red interior.

 Nowadays you can find red velvet cake all over the place and consequently partakers are not overcome with the same wonder and awe as when they first gazed upon its crimson interior. Nonetheless, it remains one of my favourites and I make it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

The sponge itself is made with canola/vegetable oil instead of butter. This, in addition to the buttermilk makes for a very moist, tender crumb. The best thing is that the cake keeps extremely well and can be made several days in advance.

It is a lovely cake, served with a deliciously fluffy cream cheese frosting and makes a wonderful addition to any special celebration. Do try it!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

French toast with poached pears, maple syrup and roasted hazelnuts

Yesterday morning, I made myself french toast for breakfast. Lord knows that after the week of bad eating I've had (and by bad, I mean good, but unhealthy), I didn't need it, but I just had to have it. I just had to.

Anyway, you need no recipe for french toast, just a bit of common sense. If you like it sweet like me, add a tablespoon of sugar to a couple of eggs and some cream or milk. Then get your bread - I used some stale apple and cinnamon raisin toast, but you could use anything- and soak it really well. I mean really well- give it plenty of time to absorb what is essentially an uncooked custard. Don't attempt to do more than one slice of bread per egg. If you do, you'll find your french toast will be dry on the inside. What you want is a beautifully soft, custardy interior with a crisp outer shell. Also, cook it at a low heat. My pan got a bit too hot and  my french toast ended up rather dark. It was still delicious, but it would have looked much nicer had it been golden brown.

You can serve french toast however you like. Some like it savoury, in which case, omit the sugar and add a good pinch of salt at the start, plus more to serve. Here I have added some poached pears, which I heated in the pan after cooking the toast, a good slug of maple syrup and a scattering of delicious roasted hazelnuts,  that I blitzed in a food processor. Why not give french toast a try for a perfect lazy Sunday breakfast? It's quick, easy and every bit as delicious as pancakes.