After a quiet night of watching new years around the world on tv and sipping Prosecco and munching cocktail shrimp and chocolates with my mother I got up ready for the new year!
We tried to start off the year on the right foot (feet) and went for a brisk morning walk around our neighbourhood. It was pretty refreshing. We intend to watch the Rose Parade on the tv a bit later on. So that left the rest of the morning for us to laze around and have some breakfast. Many people go out for breakfast/brunch on New Years which is awesome. However we don’t need a big over the top meal to start the year, just something delicious and filling.
Bottle of Prosecco (Champagne’s cheaper cousin I like to call it) and 2 glasses to ring in 2013.
For brekky (breakfast) I decided to try something I’ve wanted to for a while……Red Velvet Pancakes. Sure I’ve done red velvet cupcakes and cakes before but I’ve never tried red velvet-ing anything else.
A WORD ON RED VELVET
I spent a great deal of energy some time ago researching what red velvet really means.Boy is this a controversial flavour!
For some, it’s simply red cake; add some red food colouring to white cake mix and that’s it! For others the focus is on the reaction between baking soda and vinegar that many put into their mix and coco powder; apparently coco powder of the past (which was processed slightly differently to what we use today) reacted with these ingredients and gave the cake a reddish hue (rather than the brilliant red we associate with it today).
Many other people have varying views about what red velvet cake should contain and how it should taste: I’ve heard people say it’s like eating red chocolate cake and for others it doesn’t taste like anything at all.
Well I did my homework, I read recipe after recipe, watched you tube videos of people making red velvet cake, researched the history and views on this mysterious flavour.
My humble opinion based on this research is this;
1) Red velvet did originate from the colour produced from the reaction between cocoa and baking soda/vinegar hundreds of years ago-this won’t work with the average dutch processed cocoa we use today.
2) Red velvet should have a MILD chocolate flavour- so no you shouldn’t feel as if you’re eating red chocolate cake or just red plain cake, it should have that nice cocoa taste without overpowering the flavour.
3) Use apple cider vinegar and baking soda to “velvet”(Yeah I made it into a verb) your cake- I have been made to understand that the vinegar/baking soda mixture allows the cake to have a fluffy texture. To this end I actually use it in lots of other cake mixtures to “velvet” them.
4) Use a recipe with buttermilk-Again this can be used in almost any other basic cake recipe. It gives a smooth,moist cake which is exactly how I expect red velvet to be.
All in all when I envision red velvet cake I think of a rich,moist mildly chocolate yet decadent flavour.
In recent times, people have made red velvet a flavour not just for cake but pancakes,cookies,brownies,ice-cream, even yogurt!
This brings me to this morning’s breakfast-red velvet pancakes.
BACK TO BREAKFAST
Here’s what I did;
4 CUPS of pancake mix (I make just about everything from scratch but never pancakes)
2 CUPS H2O (Use the amount of water required for your particular pancake mix)
1 1/2 TABLESPOONS of cocoa powder- Mix in-batter will be only slightly brown
Red food colouring to suit- Make it as pale or deep red as you wish
1 TEASPOON vanilla essence
PINCH of cinnamon
2 TABLSPOONS granulated sugar -The cocoa makes the mixture a bit bitter
1 TEASPOON baking soda and 1 TEASPOON apple cider vinegar(or white vinegar)-mix these together quickly and add to mixture to “velvet” it.
Mix everything well ensuring your sugar is mixed in well.
Heat skillet and make pancakes!
The Red Velvet Pancake Batter
Pouring batter into pan.
What goes great with red velvet? Cream cheese of course!
Instead of a pat of butter I softened some cream cheese (in the microwave for about 20 seconds) and put that on the top of my stack of pancakes.
These were no ordinary pancakes, so we couldn’t use ordinary syrup. I decided to try another first. I made a strawberry, balsamic vinegar reduction. I know there are numerous recipes for this kind of thing but I just decided to wing it, and it came out fine.
Here’s what I did:
1) 1 CUP frozen strawberries-I defrosted them then cut them into chunks and let them sautee for a few minutes.
2) 1/2 CUP white balsamic vinegar (I’m sure regular balsamic vinegar works the same)
3) 1/2 CUP sugar- Add more for a more syrup-ey consistency
4) Intermittently I added a few teaspoons of water to keep everything going. This is really a done to taste kind of a recipe.
This came out tasting fruity and sweet but with that acidic kick you get from balsamic vinegar. I drizzled it over the top of the stack for that perfect finish.
Wishing you all a great New years and have an awesome day!