I never bake for myself. If I bake, it's for a reason; to spoil a friend, to share with colleagues or to (hopefully) inspire someone on this page to create something delicious to share with their friends or families - like a ripple effect of baking love! So when I discovered that this year's theme for World Baking Day on Sunday 18 May is #PledgetoBake for someone special, I decided to do what I usually do and bake with love, but this time, it's for the person who inspired my love for sweetness and baking, the sweetest person I know - my mom (who, by the way, is probably the only person who can take down a tin of condensed milk faster than I can - I know, hard to believe isn't it?!).
It was a mini baking set I received for Christmas at 6 years old that sparked my passion for whipping and whisking but it actually began way before that, with me poking my nose over the kitchen counter and watching my mom and grandmother baking up all sorts of delights. My mother would bake fresh bread each morning and churn butter from the cream skimmed off the top of the milk that came from our cows on the farm. Homemade strawberry jam was also a regular thing in our kitchen. Despite insisting she isn't a talented baker, we still got the most beautiful, creative birthday cakes each year, made in the dead of night. Wishing wells, Humpty Dumpty's and Garden walls crawling with sweetie insects were the cakes I could only dream of. But didn't have to.
So when I started hosting my own cooking shows in our family kitchen, with every single ingredient neatly measured out in a gazillion little prep bowls (a la Delia Smith-style), my mom never complained about the mountain of washing up (despite it driving her nuts inside!). The older I got, the more challenging the recipes I attempted became. I never stuck to the simple stuff; having once seen spun sugar in a food magazine, I attempted to make it myself, only to leave my mother chiseling molten sugar off her kitchen floor and walls for weeks afterwards! Yet still, she was always encouraging of my dream.
Mom, this recipe and post is for you. You've always supported and encouraged me; from your kind words after little flops on national television to sending me countless recipes from your cookbooks and the many, many dishes you've washed during my endless photoshoots. But most of all, it's a little thank you for the passion and love you gave me for food.
These pretty red velvets remind me of my mom. Graceful and elegant; I've always thought of the red velvet cupcake as the lady of all the cupcakes. It's bright and cheerful and sweet as can be. But who will you be baking for on World Baking Day, which by the way, is this Sunday (18 May 2014)? Let me know in the comments below and also, WHAT you'll be baking for them!
Don't forget to make your pledge official here - it puts your #pledgetobake into a cute little card that you can share on social media and also allows you to tag the lucky person you're baking for so that the world knows how awesome they are!
Happy World Baking Day!
Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Recipe by Stork Bake
180g Stork Bake
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
400g (2 1/2 cups) cake flour
315g (1 1/2 cups) castor sugar
Red food colouring (I used the gel variety)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk or natural yoghurt
3 tsp baking powder
55g Stork Bake
300g Icing sugar, sifted
125g smooth full fat cream cheese
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
Cream the Stork Bake and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa, food colouring and 2 tbsp water then beat into the mixture.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and add into the mixture gradually, alternating with the buttermilk and beating on a low speed.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases, filling them 3/4 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until springy to the touch, or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cool on a cake rack, before frosting.
For the frosting, cream the Stork Bake until light and fluffy then add the icing sugar and beat well. Once very light and fluffy, add the cream cheese.