A sweet goal

I’ve set a new goal for myself, and it has been met with delight by most people – I want to bake more this year.

I love being creative. I mean, you’re reading my knitting blog. I write, I knit, I love creating in the kitchen.

That said, I really have embraced the ‘Work smarter, not harder’ philosophy. For example, I adore my bread machine. You put all your ingredients in, you press start, and BOOM. Bread. Or pizza dough. Those are my two go-to staples. It’s not that I don’t know how to make dough from scratch. I do. But in my mind, why go through all the steps of proofing, combining, kneading (oh the kneading), etc etc etc, when I can just push start.

I tend to stick to the same recipes or the same hacks (my go to cupcakes/cakes start with a box mix – work smarter, remember), so I want to try new recipes, try new techniques, and challenge myself.

The first new recipe I tried was a Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookie recipe from practicallyhomemade.com. All in all, it was a simple recipe to follow, although I did deviate from their instructions when it came to baking.

I’m already twitchy to make it again, although this time, I’d sub the chocolate chips for toffee chips, and perhaps finish with a chocolate drizzle.

So, there we are. New goal that I’ll be documenting here along with all of my knits. Hope you enjoy!

When a Knitter Takes Time To Bake

I love baking. Give me flour, sugar, butter, and an oven pre-heated to 350F, I’m a happy girl. I’ve talked about my baking hobby in a previous post, sharing pictures of Easter cupcakes from a few years ago.

When my boss started planning her May 2017 wedding, she asked me to make the cake – Red Velvet with a Vince Neil cake topper. (Side note, my boss is an amazing person whose interests span from cemeteries and museums to Motley Crue. She’s awesome.) Making the cake, easy enough. We looked at a few pictures online of other ‘rock concert themed’ cakes for inspiration, so I had a mental image of how it will all come together, but where I started to stumble was the Red Velvet Cake.

Like many home bakers, I start with a box mix then use my own add ins. My standard not-so-secret personal touches include milk instead of water and using butter instead of oil and doubling the amount called for. The richness given to the cake because of the butter is amazing.  My go-to cake flavour is vanilla. It’s my personal favourite so I make it a lot.  Chocolate cake has been made on occasion, but I had never before made Red Velvet. Challenge accepted.

Red velvet.jpg

After a few Google searches on the best box-hacks to make Red Velvet and one not-so-successful attempt with using Devil’s Food Cake as my start (it is too chocolate-y to get a good red colour), I found the perfect combo.

1 box of Golden Cake Mix
2 tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk (I wanted more tang with the flavouring – Buttermilk gave this!)
3 eggs
1 tsp Wilton No-Taste Red Food Paste*

Mix together the box mix and sifted cocoa powder.  Add the wet ingredients and follow the recommended baking times and temperatures set out on the box.

*This is important – NO-TASTE! If it’s not the no-taste, you may end up with a rather bitter and, well, gross, taste to your cake.

I did not try using liquid food colouring as I was concerned it may have also given that bitter aftertaste, and knowing this was for a wedding, I wasn’t leaving anything to chance.

Here is the batter:


And here is the finished trial cupcake:

Paired with a simple cream cheese icing, this recipe was a hit. The cake was rich and moist, and the colour was indeed red.  I could have added more colouring for a deeper colour, but I was happy with the result.

As for the final cake, once decorated with fondant and the Vince Neil topper: