Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Beach Cafe

Sometimes we get the best gifts and don't even realize how big they are. In the Beach Cafe, the book our club read this month, this happens to Evie, our heroine. Evie is one of those people who muddle alongside a highly successful family. They know Evie's not in their league and never fail to remind her. Everyone except for her aunt, who dies in a car crash and leaves her cafe set by a Cornwall beach to Evie.

Even then, Evie doesn't realize the gift she's been given. After a series of mishaps involving her trying to remotely run the cafe, dealing with some sticky staff situations, Evie comes over to this little Cornish town to live. And to enjoy her legacy. The book is all about this ugly duckling turning into a swan. There is also some romance thrown in and while the story is utterly predictable, this is a great sunday afternoon read.

What else is great on sunday afternoons? Cakes, specially since cakes were what made Evie's aunt so popular. And cakes were what put Evie back on track in running the cafe (well, Cornish pasties did too, but Sweatha already made some). And for this book, I decided to spend my sunday afternoon baking the ultimate vanilla cupcakes. Stef over at cupcake project nominated test bloggers for this one...I wrote in but she didn't pick me so I had to wait until she made the recipe public a few days back.

To make the cupcakes, leave 30 grams butter and an egg out of the fridge until they come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 175 C. Scrape the seeds off a vanilla bean and add them to 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, mixing to break any clumps of seeds and to infuse the sugar with vanilla. Mix 7/8 cup (or 90 grams) plain flour with 3/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda. Add vanilla sugar and mix to combine. Now add butter and mix until you get a fine crumb like texture. In another bowl, combine the egg, 1/6 cup yogurt, 30 ml (2 tbsp) canola oil and 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract. Add this to the flour and mix until just combined. Finally, add 1/3 cup milk and mix until everything's blended in. Don't worry that the batter's too liquid, that's how it's meant to be. Fill 8 muffin tins a little more than halfway with the batter. Don't be like me and try to fit everything in 7 cups (and dont even dare think about 6) - you need to get 8 muffin tins filled!

Bake for 15 minutes, test with a toothpick to see if it comes with any crumbs attached. If it does, continue to bake, checking every 2 minutes, until the cupcakes are done. So are these the ultimate vanilla cupcakes? Sure, they are. With a much lighter crumb and sponge like texture, these cupcakes displace the currently reigning French Yogurt Cake as my default go-to cake. There isn't a picture because they look quite ordinary. So you will just have to bake them yourself to find out how special they are.

And if you would like to find out what our next book is and read along with the club, just write in!

5 comments:

notyet100 said...

Book sounds good,..will give this recipe a try next time I am baking,..:) happy festival

culinarystorm said...

Sounds awesome! And I'm sure the pictures were too!
Want to see them :)

DouxProject said...

I can't wait to try them Simran! I was just about to write in saying my post will be delayed this month, swamped with exams but will write in soon :)

Stef said...

I'm so glad that you liked them! Thanks for the post!

Curry Leaf said...

Simple and delicious Simran. Love the post.