I turned 30! I know, I know, you're thinking I don't look a day over 21 right? Ah, I blush, you're far too kind :)
I mentioned in this post that I had been tricked into registering for the London 2012Marathon. Well, when I returned from holiday (a time when I did no exercise except eat abundantly... Oi! What do you mean eating isn't exercise? Ever heard of competitive eating? See? It is a sport!) I went straight into week 4 of my training schedule and two runs in, I developed Tendonitis in my Achilles. Painful! And worse, it meant I couldn't run for almost 6 weeks. I started training again two weeks ago - leaving me with only 8 weeks to train for my first every marathon - but hey, what can I say? I like a challenge!
By the way, if anyone would like to sponsor us, we'd really appreciate it! We're raising money for the Salvation Army - which is a great charity - and specifically their work with young people. You can read more about it and sponsor us here.
While I've previously posted a recipe for red velvet cupcakes, I much prefer the Martha Stewart recipe below. Using oil instead of butter makes for a far moister cake (is 'moister' even a word? Should it be 'more moist'? Ah well, I say it is a word and my blog, my rules!).
For the frosting, in place of regular boring ol' Philadelphia cheese, I used the amazing new Chocolate Philadelphia Cheese which I was sent a sample of.
Of course, before I used it in frosting, I tried a bit (a teaspoon or two full to be exact) and I really like it! I don't think it bears any similarity to regular Philly at all! It's lighter and tastes almost more like a mousse than something which you'd spread on bread.
When I spent a semester in Canada on an exchange program, I was introduced to Strawberry Philadelphia Cheese which was heaven on a bagel! So Kraft UK, if you're taking this whole expanding the sweet Philadelphia range thing seriously then please please do me a solid and at least consider a strawberry version. Thanks :)
Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I sift mine as I always find it leaves little lumps in the mixture otherwise)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food colour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4 / 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa and salt
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Mix in food colour and vanilla
- Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each.
- Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each halfway to three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
- Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
Cream cheese frosting recipe adapted from this Hummingbird Bakery recipe
250g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g Chocolate Philadelphia
- Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a free standing mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
- Add the Chocolate Philly cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, no more than 5 minutes as cream cheese frosting can become runny if beaten for too long.
- Frost cupcakes. I often make my cream cheese frosting a day before and leave it in the fridge overnight so that it is harder and pipes better.