After the disappointment of a third tunic not fitting, I decided that it was time I learnt about patterns properly. So I headed over to Flossie Teacakes because I remembered that she has a useful list of book recommendations. And I even managed to find one in my local library (although I have since discovered there is a little saga to that and I may have to wait a while for it to arrive). Also on her list, and also at the library, was Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache, which Flossie says she loves. It's a book of cake recipes that don't make you fat. Well, alright, make you less fat than normal cake. Apparently...
The idea is to substitute grated vegetables for the butter or Flora or whatever fat you use. This is something I have been interested in for a while but never tried. I've often heard of apple puree being used but never come across any recipes. Carrot cake, by the way, doesn't count because it has fat in it as well as carrot, and because I don't like it.
The book is written by Harry Eastwood and she has a website here. I have a feeling she may have had a tv series somewhere, maybe Channel 4; if so, you probably know more about her than I do.
So, purely in the interests of research, I thought I should borrow the book from the library and do some baking. I'm on a diet, I want to eat cake, I am trying to do book reviews on my blog. You see, purely for research.
By the way, this is not going to be a First Impression. It's going to be a Saturday Cake post. I'll need to do more research before I can review it properly...
Orange Squash Cupcakes from Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood
2 medium eggs
160g caster sugar
200g peeled and finely grated butternut squash
finely grated zest and the juice from 1 orange
100g rice flour (I forgot to add that you can substitute plain (wheat) flour - the rice flour is suppose to make a lighter result)
100g ground almonds
2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
75g cold, cubed unsalted butter
200g sieved icing sugar
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
a little grated orange zest for the top
You also need a 12-hole muffin tray and 12 x cup cake cases 5cm in diameter and 3.8cm high.
Preheat oven to 180F/350F.gas mark 4.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 5 minutes until pale and quadrupled in volume. Add the grated butternut squash and orange zest, and whisk again. Mix in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt, along with the orange juice, until they are well introduced.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, aiming for it to come four fifths of the way up each case. Place in the oven for 20 minutes until risen and cooked. don't be alarmed that they are flat on the top rather than dome shaped. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, before refrigerating until cool enough to ice.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the icing. Whisk the butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy before adding 100g of the icing sugar. Whisk again to incorporate the sugar. Add the orange zest and juice, as well as the remaining sugar. Beat once again to combine. Refrigerate until the cupcakes are cool and ready to ice.
Ice when the cupcakes are cold with the help of a small knife or spatula.
Harry says to be very precise about quantities, whisking times and cupcake case volumes. So I really did whisk the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes (I timed it!) and to be honest they were finished doing their pale quadrupling thing after about two. She also says to grate the vegetables as finely as possible so I used a fine Micro-plane grater and nearly gave myself a heart attack in the process. It took ages and my arm nearly fell off (perhaps the grater is blunt - but I thought that wasn't supposed to happen). I really need to get a food processor.
They're sitting on a cooling rack now, and they won't be going in the fridge because there's no room! To be honest, I didn't actually want to make cupcakes, just a sponge cake, but I had the squash and most of the 'big' cake recipes use grated courgette which I didn't have at the moment. So it was a compromise, but not a particularly grudging one :¬) Oh, and I'm not going to ice them either (and if I did, I'd use a water icing).
I shall feed one to Mr G later and see if he survives...30-05-10 The Verdict:
The sponge is very moist (I found it too moist yesterday but better today) and this makes me wonder how well the cakes would keep. As I said I didn't ice them and I think this was a good move because despite the sugar having been reduced in the recipe (to take the sweetness of the vegetable into account), we found them too sweet. I think next time I'd only use 140g sugar and see if that is any better. The sponge was also very orange in colour and tased orangey enough for me, but Mr G would have liked a bit more flavour. i also thought that they'd go well with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche to cut the sweetness.
All in all, I think I will certainly have a go at more recipies from this book, but I need to sort out my grater first!
I pointed the sponge and it's 4 points a cupcake. I also worked out what a 'normal' home made sponge cupcake would be and the answer came to 6. So it seems there is some saving, although 4 still seems rather a lot to me. But then you add the buttercream and it all goes downhill...