Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spaghetti and Chocolate Cupcakes . . .

Not together though of course. The spaghetti part, because spaghetti is great, I made it for a friend the other night and was reminded how much I love spaghetti. And the chocolate cupcakes because I had a birthday to bake for, and I guess I just like to show off my baking art work. So as always when you have a meal we will start with the savoury and move on to the sweet after. I want to share my spaghetti sauce recipe because it's pretty awesome and that's not just severe self-promotion because I actually got the recipe from the Australian Woman's Weekly years ago and haven't even modified it, it's that good, and really easy too.. We're not talking spaghetti bolognaise here though, this is just tomatoes. There's not much more to say about it, I have a soft spot for pasta and I assume everybody else does too so I will get to the point, which is of course the recipe:

Tomato Spaghetti Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cans chopped tomatoes (plain, unseasoned)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
30 grams butter

Heat the oil, then add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent.

Add the tomatoes, herbs, sauce and sugar. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat right down and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the sauce is thick. While it simmers, you have loads of time to get water boiling, throw your pasta in and steam some vegetables for serving on the side! Maybe chucking some garlic bread in the oven ...

Stir in butter just before serving (this is the important bit, it somehow changes the entire flavour and consistency of the sauce!).

Of course it is to be served over pasta or some kind, I really don't think I need to include the specifics of that in a recipe. Although I've noticed so many people put the pasta on when they begin a sauce, but pasta only takes like 10 minutes and sauce could take a half hour. So your pasta will be all over-cooked and mushy. You say you like it like that? It's still just not right. But whatever, everybody can just do as they please. This also makes a really good pizza sauce.

So how about the chocolate cupcakes? Am I now going to give you a delicious chocolatey recipe? I think I will, but not actually the one I used the other night. I had this new recipe to try, had it for ages actually. You know how there are ofthen recipes on the back of the box of cocoa or the bag of sugar? Well, back in NZ I took a recipe from Pam's cocoa I think it was, for a chocolate coconut layer cake. Only the interesting thing about this cake is that the coconut layer is baked in. So I decided to finally try this and also convert it to cupcakes because it was not a party but just a casual birthday celebration. Only as I was making the mixture I thought it was a bit odd, the coconut layer was just coconut and milk and sugar. The idea is to layer the cake mixture, then the coconut, then the rest of the cake mixture. But after baking the coconut had not solidified and so the cupcakes did not easily remain whole. Maybe a large cake would be a little more successfull but not much I think. Nevertheless we cemented the cupcakes together with frosting and decorated them (with spiders, in case you cannot distinguish my artwork), and I changed the recipe because I do like the idea. I will try it again, and if it is delicious I will then share! For now, my never-fail chocolate cupcake standby (and I don't think that today we need to go into the details of why these are cupcakes and not muffins).


125 grams butter
½ cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon custard powder
¼ cup milk
*3 tablespoons cocoa
*Fruit essences or zest
*½ cup chocolate chips

First preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius and grease your cupcake/muffin pan (should make 12).

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla essence together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.

If it is chocolate cupcakes that you want, add cocoa and mix well. This however can be left out and you will get lovely vanilla cupcakes. Or if you want some other flavour, you could add fruit essence like rasberry or orange, or a small amount of fruit juice, lemon or orange zest, coconut milk instead of ordinary milk, just be imaginative. And of course if they are vanilla, and you don't want them to be plain cake coloured, you could always add a bit of food colouring at this point! Although the last time I did that, I was baking with children whose mother was one of those neurotic know-all suburban housewives that seemed to think the colours make children hyperactive. Newsflash (and you can trust me, I'm a scientist) - unless the child has an intolerance to a certain chemical in red colouring, which is not common, the colours and sugar do not cause hyperactivity. The sense of an occassion, the presence of other children and the attention from adults cause hyperactivity. And why should a child not be a bit hyperactive sometimes anyway?

So to get off my high horse and get on with it: sift the flour, baking powder and custard powder into the batter and give it a good stir. If you want chocolate chip cupcakes, now is the time to add these as well. Then add the milk and give the batter a last mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 15 minutes. Hopefully they rise evenly, because mine often rise to the side! I think maybe it's the oven, or the way I have placed the tray. When they are cooked a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Let the cakes cool for awhile before taking them from the tin or you will risk them falling apart!

1 comment:

  1. 3 Researches PROVE How Coconut Oil Kills Waist Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you literally get rid of fat by consuming coconut fats (in addition to coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from big medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world around!


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