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English Mum is hosting a ‘Baked With Love Bakeoff’ and now that Owen, my brand new oven, is in full effect, I had to get involved.  I like making Valentine’s day treats for my sweeties and wanted to do something new, so I tried Red Velvet Cupcakes.  I have seen many recipes for Red Velvet Cake, all of which use quite a bit of red food colouring, but the one from Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake is one that does not.  It’s an American style recipe which relies on the chemical reaction between baking soda and white wine vinegar to create the ‘red’ effect.

It was more like a science experiment than baking, but that was part of the fun.

red velvet science experiment

It started out like your everyday cake mixture using the creaming method: butter, sugar, cocoa…

Cocoa powder

Then alternately add buttermilk and flour…

Mix it up

But with this mixture you combine baking soda and white wine vinegar. Vinegar in cupcakes?! okaay…

now for the science bit

Then keep mixing until it becomes a glossy mixture…

glossy mixture

I filled each cupcake cup halfway and popped them in the new oven. (Affectionately named Owen thanks to the suggestion of Leah and Phil).

Owen shows off

Et voila… Cupcakes! They didn’t come out as red as I anticipated, but they taste amazing and are actually really velvety in texture.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

As these cakes are celebrating Valentine’s Day, I decorated them with marshmallow topping (mini G’s favourite) and heart shaped sprinkles.

Valentine's decorations

And they went down a treat with the little love of my life – mini G…

baked with love

Baked with love bakeoff


It’s that time of year where cupids and hearts are everywhere you look… Valentines’ Day.  I have a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day.  I love the idea of it – all shiny, happy and lovey-dovey.  I’m a fan of red and heart shaped things too.  I hate it because my expectations are seldom met.  I do hope for a card or something, though (hint, hint).

Men feel that it’s just a gimmicky “Hallmark” holiday, but it didn’t start out that way.  According to Wikipedia (and they are never wrong…heh), “St Valentine’s Day, named after a Christian martyr, was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD” and goes on to say “The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer.”  So there you have it, fellas! It’s history.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and my fondness for things red and heart shaped, I decided to make Valentine’s cupcakes.  I recently purchased a new cookbook and wanted to give it a spin.  I went for the American Vanilla Cupcake out of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood of Cook Yourself Thin.  It’s only appropriate being that I’m American.

Instead of using butter as the fat in this recipe, she uses zucchini (or courgettes depending on where you live).  I love zucchini bread so I thought, hey… why not!

The cake batter didn’t seem to be much different from the usual cupcake batter.

After they came out of the oven, a little munchkin was instantly hovering wanting to try the latest creation.

The texture was really nice. Just like a cupcake that used butter.  The outside was a bit chewy, but I think the oven was a bit hot and I probably could have reduced the time slightly.  They reminded me a bit of angel food cake, and that is not a bad thing!  I will definitely be trying more recipes from Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache. Boy, I could use a manicure…

**Since it’s all things hearts, here’s a photo of the cherry crumble in heart shaped baking dishes. We were able to enjoy them once the oven was fixed. YUM!**

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