This past week has been crazy. We’ve been talking about getting our own place for a while – living with the in-laws has it’s perks, but we want somewhere that is just for us. Now that S has a job, and I’m about to start school, it seems like a good time to be doing it. So on Monday we finally got around to filling out a form on the housing company website to be put on the waiting list for a suitable place. That was Monday.
On Tuesday, we were offered a flat. Same building as S’s brother, 20 minutes walk from my school, slightly over budget but we could be flexible.
Wednesday we went to look at the flat, Appivanhemmat in tow. The flat was smaller than we’d expected. Practically no kitchen. Gorgeous views from the balcony – it was on the seventh floor and looked out over the lake in one direction and a forest-y area in the other. After much consideration, discussion, debate and research when we got home, we decided not to take it. For it’s size, it was very expensive. And a gorgeous view and easy commute don’t quite make up for living in an overpriced, undersized apartment.
So on Thursday S rang the housing company to let them know we weren’t interested, and to clarify that we would like a proper kitchen, if possible. We were immediately offered another place, this time a luhtitalo. This property was further away from school, but still not too far. About half way between school and where we live at the moment. It’s bigger, less expensive, and – hurray! – has a proper kitchen. Being on the second floor it’s not likely to achieve quite such spectacular views, but all in all it sounds promising.
On Friday morning we made Red Velvet Cupcakes as a new-house gift to take with us to see the family I used to child-mind for, and will shortly begin to do so again. S went off to work and promised to let me know when he found out about a viewing. When I did hear from him, the news was not good. The current owner of the flat was away and so could not show us around, and the housing company was closed for training meaning we were unable to make arrangements with them. When considering that the offer was only available to us until Monday (today!) that was… well, problematic to say the least. But there was nothing more we could do at that stage, so I distracted myself with my first foray into the world of piping icing. It was fun! And I’m pleased to say, the little girl I child mind loved these cakes.
The weekend was busier than usual. Saturday we went to the opening of a nearby shopping centre, and left with a whole host of new things ready for our flat (if we ever get it!) On Sunday we had a lovely visit to Orimattilan Kotieläinpuisto (koti – home, eläin – animal, puisto – park) and had great fun seeing the animals. Unfortunately we managed to time it that they were all either eating or sleeping when we got to them, but we got lots of lovely pictures. I may post some of them here in the next couple of day.
Which brings us to today, and to today’s recipe! Which, as I said, we made as a gift for friends.
Source – Adapted from The Cupcake by Love Food
Servings – Approximately 12 (we got a baker’s dozen out of the mix)
For the cupcakes:
140g/5oz plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp cocoa powder
115g/4oz butter, room temperature
140g/5oz caster sugar
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
125ml/4fl oz/ 1/2cup buttermilk*
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp red food colouring
For the icing:
150g/5 1/2oz unsalted butter, room temperature
200g icing sugar
100g white chocolate
*As we didn’t have any buttermilk we used a home-made substitute – for 1/2 a cup of buttermilk, put 1/2 tsp of lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring cup, fill up to 1/2 cup with milk and allow to stand for five minutes. We did have an issue with the liquid not wanting to combine properly, which we assumed was because of the ‘fake’ buttermilk. The cupcakes turned out delicious regardless, but it would probably be best to use real buttermilk if possible.
For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Get your tray and cases set up ready.
Sift the flour, bicarb and cocoa into a bowl.
Into a separate bowl, place the butter and caster sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in the egg, and half of the flour mixture. I sieved the flour mixture again as I added it, but it’s not essential to do so.
Beat in the buttermilk, vanilla extract and red food colouring. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to want to combine at this stage; like I said, ours didn’t but it turned out find regardless.
Carefully fold in the remaining flour mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the cases, being careful not to overfill them.
Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. They are done when risen and firm to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before icing.
For the icing:
Place the butter in a large bowl and beat slightly.
Melt the white chocolate using your preferred method of chocolate melting. Be careful – white chocolate burns more easily than milk or plain chocolate.
Add the melted chocolate to the bowl and beat until well combined.
Gradually sift in the icing sugar, beating well after each addition. The more beating, the lighter and fluffier the icing will be.
If the icing seems to thick, or if you will be piping it and need a softer consistency, beat in a little milk. I used 2tbsp, though it was perhaps a tad too runny, so in future I would use less.
Once the cupcakes are cool, they can be iced. This can be in the manner of your choosing. I went for piped rose swirls – use a piping bag with a medium sized (the one I used says ’27’, but I think I would use a larger one next time) star-tipped nozzle. Fill the piping bag with icing, make sure there are no air bubbles. Twist the top of the bag closed, and with a steady hand, pipe a swirl beginning at the centre of the cupcake.
And done! I would imagine these will last for a couple of days in an airtight container, if you don’t eat them all before then!
P.S, we’ve just found out we will be viewing the flat tomorrow! Let’s hope it is perfect!