Well, It’s been a pretty long time since I last posted as I’ve been somewhat busy having a baby! The Boy was born in February this year, so unfortunately I have had my hands pretty full and haven’t had much chance to do any baking. Not having the opportunity to spend much time in the kitchen has made me realise just how much I enjoy getting to bake and therefore I am hoping to prioritise a little more time for myself as baking is a bit of a meditative exercise for me and I always feel happy and refreshed after I’ve baked. Also, now the Boy is weaning I am going to be able to experiment with baby appropriate bakes which is going to be fun. I’m sure I will post some recipes in the future.
This weekend it was my friend’s birthday and she was having an ‘Afternoon Tea’ party, the perfect opportunity to try out one of the recipes I’ve had my eye on for a while in the new Hummingbird Bakery book ‘Life Is Sweet’. There are some fantastic recipes in there, I particularly was pleased to see an entire chapter dedicated to pancakes. Pancakes make me very happy!
It wasn’t too hard to decide what to bake first from the book, Red Velvet is a fantastic cake in my opinion, whether in cupcake format or a 2 or 3 layered cake the chocolately, rich sponge next to the creamy cream cheese frosting is just a delightful taste combination. I think anything Red Velvet always looks pretty impressive too! So when I saw that Hummingbird had devised a Red Velvet Brownie recipe, I was sold before I’d even tried them!
I found that the recipe was quite involved, but that’s to be expected with something which has 2 different layers, but the result was lovely. The brownie was moist and rich and the cream cheese layer complemented it perfectly.They sliced really cleanly and held their shape very well, sometimes I can find brownies to be quite gloopy and messy but these were perfect little brownie bars. The swirl effect on the top also looked pretty impressive. Using the 23x32cm tin means that this makes LOADS of brownies! They are quite rich so I cut them into sensible standard brownie squares and this made 25 brownies!
Recipe: Makes one 23x32cm (9x13in) tray, to slice as desired. Requires one 23 x 32cm (9x13in) tin.
For the Brownie Layer:
- 200g unsalted butter
- 390g caster sugar
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 55g cocoa powder
- 1tsp red gel paste colouring, mixed with water to make 1 1/2 tbsp liquid
- 2tsp white vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 175g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the cream cheese layer:
- 390g full-fat cream cheese (eg Philadelphia), softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (350F/Gas mark 4). Line the tin with non-stick baking parchment.
- To make the brownie layer, melt the butter in a medium sized heatproof glass bowl set over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water, then stir in the caster sugar and vanilla. Beat by hand until the mix is slightly thickened, then remove from the heat.
- Using a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, mix the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vinegar with the sugar and butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs and beat until nice and smooth, then fold in the flour & salt.
- Pour the red velvet batter into the prepared tin, saving about 60ml of the batter for the top and setting this aside.
- To make the cream cheese layer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
- Spread/pour the cream cheese over the RAW red velvet layer, carefully smoothing it evenly. Dollop bits of the reserved red velvet batter onto the cream cheese layer and, using a skewer, swirl to make patterns.
- Bake for about 30-35 mins, or until the top is firm to the touch and just starting to go golden at the edges. Remove from the own and allow to cool before cutting.