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Yummy vanilla cupcakes

Faith Faith

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Ok, dramatic, but it’s like the “tell”. If you don’t have a good vanilla, can anything else really be that good? There are so many ways to vary a vanilla cake and I want the best of all of them! I’m greedy like that. Plus, I know not everyone has the same idea of the perfect cupcake, so I like to have options.

You may or may not have tried my original VANILLA CUPCAKES. They are loved by many and were my favorite for some time. I still remember the batches upon batches of cupcakes I made while testing those and the fabulous friends that lined them up and tasted tested them all to help me find the best one. If you haven’t tried them, they are worth checking out.

VANILLA CUPCAKES
INGREDIENTS
*2 1/2 cups (325g) all – purpose flour
*2 cups (414g) sugar
*3 tsp baking powder
*1 tsp salt
*1 cup (240ml) milk
*1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
*1 tablespoon vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*1 cup (240ml) water

VANILLA FROSTING
*1/2 cup (112g) salted butter, room temperature
*1/2 cup (95g) shortening
*4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
*1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*(30-45ml) water or milk
METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs to a medium sized bowl and combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
5. Slowly add the water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined. Please note that the batter will be very thin.
6. Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
7. Remove the cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
8. To make the frosting, combine the butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
9. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
10. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of water or milk and mix until smooth.
11. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
12. Add remaining water or milk as needed and mix until smooth.
13. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes
NOTE: *If you’d prefer a more traditional vanilla cupcake you can uses butter instead of oil and other liquid.

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Faith Faith

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This is one of my all time favourite recipes.

This ‘pasta’ is warming for the soul, freezes well and reheats even better: making it perfect for meal prep. Some may prefer to call it a salad as its light and that mixture of red green and yellow makes it more authentic and at the same time appetising. Try it for a romantic meal for two or those lazy cold nights where by you don’t want to hover around the stove after a hard day at work.

CHICKEN PESTO PASTA

INGREDIENTS
1 brown onion finely diced
3 rashers streaky bacon nitrate free is best, diced
2 cloves garlic finely minced
3 button mushrooms chopped
1 whole smoked chicken deboned and chopped
1 can Coconut Cream
2 tablespoons heaped pesto free of nasty oils
3 sundried tomatoes diced
4 medium Zucchini made into ‘zoodles’
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pine Nuts to garnish

METHOD
Heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add a tsp of coconut oil. Add your bacon and begin to fry off. After the bacon starts to get nice and crispy, add your onions. If you’re using a non-stick pot then you won’t need oil, however I like to use it to help the onions sauté down.
Once your onions are starting to go translucent, add some salt to taste (maybe a tsp) followed by your garlic and mushrooms.
After a minute of frying these together, add your chicken and stir to combine, followed by your coconut cream.
Now add your pesto and stir. Once combined, add your sundried tomatoes.
Finally add your zucchini and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender.

CHEF’S TIP
*Best served garnished with pine nuts.
*NB – This column is a repeat. Chef Faith returns with new yummy dishes next week.

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HIGH CLASS DESSERTS

Faith Faith

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Making the perfect chocolate mousse is all about ingredients and preparation. There are only three ingredients, so they should be fresh and high-quality. Have your bowl and whisk for the egg whites immaculately clean and your cream very cold. If you’ve done these things, you’ll end up with a rich and perfectly whipped mousse that can win marks out of any chocolate pudding.

VANILLA WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
*100g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
*4 sheets gelatine
*2 medium eggs, separated
*1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
*1 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
*200 g whipping cream
*400 ml bottled elderberry juice
*1 heaped tablespoons corn flour
*Mint sprigs or sprigs of lemon balm for decorating

METHOD
1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
Soak the gelatin in cold water.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, vanilla seeds and sugar until it thickens and is creamy. Stir in the melted chocolate.
3. Over a low heat dissolve the gelatine. Stir in tablespoons of the chocolate mixture before stirring the gelatine into the remaining mixture. Refrigerate until the cream begins to thicken.
4. Meanwhile, in separate bowls beat the egg whites and cream until stiff. Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture and then the egg whites. Return the mixture into the fridge for about 4 hrs.
5. In a saucepan bring the Elderberry juice to a boil. Using a little water mix the corn flour into a smooth paste before adding to the Elderberry juice. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 2-3mins. Set aside to cool.
6. To serve, spread the elderberry sauce across the plate. Using 2 warm and moistened tablespoons make quenelles of the mousse and place on the elderberry juice. Garnish with sprigs of mint or lemon balm.
CHEF”S TIP
It is possible to substitute white chocolate with dark brown chocolate and I recommend pairing it with rice pudding…Yummy!!!!

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