Monday, February 14, 2011

Bringing in the love with Red Velvet Cupcakes

Well what can I say. Love is in the air, its everywhere - Its in the over priced flowers and in the long wait times at restaurants on valentines. But that's the realist in me. The romantic in me of course wore RED to work, enjoyed a take out dinner and movie with my husband in the comfort of our home and finally tried my hand at the red velvet cake :)

When I first laid my eyes on this cake the color just shocked me enough to think that if it ain't brown it ain't no good. Of course that opinion was totally biased because of my love for chocolate. And then I tried it once at a friends place and kind of liked it. There is a light chocolate flavor to it...YIPPEE !!!!

This year I decided to be predictable and make something pink or red for the day, of course the first thing that came to my mind was that red velvet cake. Having browsed through endless recipes, the comments on the shocking amount of food color that goes into making this cake, and the opinions on cream cheese frosting versus regular whipped cream frosting, I decided to make cupcakes with a regular cream cheese frosting. I always have used regular frosting and wanted to try the cream cheese for a change.

Ended up that people were right. Its got a tang and requires a lot more sugar to make it sweet. I liked it but next time around I am going to stick to regular whipped cream frosting.

Ingredients: (makes about 10 cupcakes)

1 1/4cups all purpose flour
2 Tbs corn starch
1 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbs liquid red food coloring
1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degree and line a muffin pan with paper liner.
In a large bowl beat the egg, sugar and butter at room temperature with a hand blender. Once its creamy add salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, corn starch and beat for a few seconds. Add the red food coloring and the mix well with a spatula. Be careful not to get the color on your counters or on yourself.

Once the color has been mixed well, add the flour and buttermilk in alternate batches and beat to mix well. Finally add the vinegar and beat for a few seconds scrapping down the sides of the bowl.

Fill the lined muffin pan with the cake batter adding a little more than half way through in each cup. I got enough batter to fill regular sized 10 cups. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick through the center comes out clean. Top with frosting and serve.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Now add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 heavy chipping cream and beat with a hand blender. Start at a low speed and increase the speed until the mixture thickens. you might need to add a little more sugar and/or cream to get the right consistency and sweetness. So be sure to check in between.

bon appetit !!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting on Foodista

Friday, February 4, 2011

Creamy Delight - Spaghetti in Carbonara sauce

Not sure if its the richness or its simplicity that attracts me more to Italian food. Either ways its always a pleasure to cook pasta. Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish that's usually cooked with egg, cheese, fatty pork and black pepper.
Since I am not fan of pork we modify by using some heavy cream.  I also added some mushrooms, peas and sauteed shrimp for added flavors and textures. It turned out to be a welcome break to my usual dinner and is most definitely here to stay :)


Pasta Spaghetti - good for 2 people
Chopped Mushrooms - 1/2 cup
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Shrimp - 1/2 cup
Garlic salt
Ground Pepper
Paprika (optional)
Eggs (beaten) - 2  (I used the egg whites and yolk of 1 egg)
Heavy Cream - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Grated Parmesan cheese - 1 cup


Bring water in a large pot to a roiling boil and add some salt to it. Drop the pasta in to cook to al dente - about 6-8 minutes. Once the pasta is cooked drain the liquid and set aside.
While the pasta gets cooked, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the mushrooms and shrimp and saute. Season it with garlic salt or some minced garlic and salt, paprika and freshly ground pepper
Add the green peas and continue to saute until the shrimp and mushrooms are cooked - about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix well. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the cream, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and milk to the pasta. Mix well to combine the sauce but be careful to not let it curdle.
Give it a minute or two and turn off the heat. Sprinkle some of the leftover cheese on top and serve.

Tips: top with fresh chopped parsley or crushed peanuts.

bon appetit !!!

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

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