The funny thing about marriage is that whatever action one spouse decides to take, it has an impact on the life of the other.
For instance, if Mr Harris decides to spend all day Saturday holed up in the living room with a case of Corona and a bag of pretzels watching the last leg of the Six Nations, it kind of affects my plans to spend a romantic afternoon, hand in hand, perusing Borough Market day. And if I decide to catch up with some girlfriends for dinner at the Covent Garden Hotel one evening after work, that means Mr Harris orders a takeaway Chinese and eats it on the sofa in front of the TV while feeding prawn crackers to the dog has had his day impacted by my actions.
So at 4 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon when my husband excitedly pointed out to me the recipe for Skinny Red Velvet Cupcakes he had found on a foodie blog, I was…well, slightly taken aback by the sudden interest in cupcakes, but happy to go with his plan to stop by Sainsbury’s to buy the ingredients. Mr Harris – on the rare occasions he does visit the kitchen – never bakes or cooks using what’s in the cupboard. Any recipe requires a major shopping trip and an entire restock of our pantry WHETHER IT NEEDS IT OR NOT. At quarter to five when we arrived home, the sudden passion for making cupcakes had somewhat disappeared and the lure of watching a week’s worth of CSI episodes on Sky Plus had become a far more attractive alternative. It was at this point that I found myself in a kitchen full of mixing bowls and muffins tins, elbow deep in pink batter.
So, I made the cupcakes. And they turned out fine.
It was at this point that Mr H wandered into the kitchen and interest in the recipe suddenly reignited. He decided to take over the real man’s work – frosting. He insisted that I leave ‘his’ kitchen while he prepared the cream cheese frosting. I felt distinctly nervous about the whole thing for several reasons. Mainly because Mr H didn’t have much experience eating cream cheese frosting, let alone making it. The whole thing smelled of disaster. With a self satisfied look on his face, he proudly produced a bowl of thin, gloopy…not frosting…possibly icing? It tasted of cream cheese and wasn’t really all that sweet. Worried he’d predict my lack of faith and duplicitous nature, I waited until he’d gone back to the living room before quickly grabbing what was left of the icing sugar, dumping it in the bowl and rapidly transforming the sweet soup into a slightly thin, but acceptable form of frosting.
I joined my husband in the living room several minutes later. “See?” he said, with a self-satisfied look on his face. “I told you it would be fine and YOU didn’t think I could do it.” I apologised and told him I was wrong. I told him his frosting was excellent. And quickly returned to the kitchen to finish decorating the cupcakes before he suspected the truth – that I am a bad wife.
So, I return to my original point. The funny thing about marriage is that whatever action one spouse decides to take, it has an impact on the life of the other.
Oh, and by the way, by the time I was finished with these cupcakes, they weren’t ‘skinny’ anymore. Here’s the recipe. With good cream cheese frosting.
Bad Wife Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup moscovado sugar
1 tbsp unsweetened dutch-process cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce or mango puree
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup light buttermilk
1 tbsp red food colouring
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tins with liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, salt, cocoa, and baking powder.
3. In another large bowl beat sugar, applesauce and butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl mix baking soda and vinegar. Add half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, mix well. Add buttermilk, red food colouring and mix well. Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold in vinegar and baking soda.
5. Pour in prepared cupcake liners 3/4 of the way.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool, then frost with low fat cream cheese frosting.
Good Cream Cheese Frosting
300g Icing Sugar, sifted
50g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
125g low fat Cream Cheese, cold
1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
2. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed.
3. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.