Tag Archives: cupcakes

Lazari – Cape Quarter

28 Jan

Gardens used to hold a very special place in my heart – not least because I lived in the towering block of the Gardens Centre, but also because it is the home of Lazari (think pink cupcakes and absolutely delicious breakfasts entailing french toast made out of croissants!) Now that I have moved, I find myself not popping into my old spot as often. How pleased I was to find that Lazari has opened a second restaurant in Green Point’s Cape Quarter. This new location is also open in the evenings and so the three Sarahs (yes, there are three of us and I could have invited at least two more!) took advantage of another beautiful Cape Town evening and opportunity for a good meal.

The new Lazari has kept the same fresh feeling of the original, with white decor and whorls of dots on the walls. As with the original, though, the menu has stayed better geared toward lunch and breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, all of us were able to find something yummy for supper, but the entire feeling of the menu is “light daytime”. The choices range from pasta to burgers and salads, with only one steak dish. The healthy Sarahs both opted for a special, goat’s cheese and date phyllo parcels on an apple salad. Strangely, the chef seemed to have forgotten the apple! The salad did however, include lots of avo and the parcels were melt-in-the-mouth tasty. I chose my regular safe bet of a chicken burger. I was presented with toasted ciabatta, filled with pieces of chicken breast with caramelised onions and mustard on the side. Not quite what I would define as a burger – but it was delicious. The chicken was tender and the onions stayed on the right side of sweet. Oh, and the chips were pretty good.

We paired out meal with a bottle of D’Aria Music Sauvignon Blanc. I’m no expert, but is was very drinkable and the price of only R85 suited my pocket. All in all, while the evening was pleasant and the service fairly efficient, I don’t think I will be going back to Lazari at night – the restaurant didn’t afford much of an atmosphere and I like to have a large variety of choices for dinner. Bring it on for breakfast, lunch and the amazing pink cupcakes, but I will save my night time jaunts for other places in Cape Town. Possibly Lazari should have stuck with the original concept in more ways than simply design and cupcakes?

Lazari, Cape Quarter – Cnr Upper Maynard & Vredehoek Ave,  021 461 9865, Breakfast R28+, Lunch and dinner R50 +, Monday-Tuesday 7.30-17.00, Wednesday-Saturday 8.00-22.00

Cupcake Magic update

28 Aug

There has been so much interest in this stunning little book. It is available through Kalahari.net for only R121,51 or Exclusives Books for R135.The ISBN number is 9781862058101. Get yourself a copy – even if you seldom use it, it makes a lovely addition to the kitchen shelf. I have discovered that Kate Shirazi has also published Chocolate Magic and Baking Magic. I think I will need to visit the book shop very soon!

Cupcake Magic: little cakes with attitude

26 Aug

Have I mentioned I’m obsessed with cupcakes? Those delicious little bite sizes of heaven which have glorious potential for flavour and decoration and all round yumminess? I haven’t? Well, this is where it went from mild interest to full blown obsession – Cupcake Magic.

Kate Shirazi has created a stunning book dedicated to mixing, baking and decorating my favourite delicacy. The best part about this book is how the chapters are divided – “Low Faff”, “Mid Faff” and “High Faff”! From this I could immediately tell that this was going to be my kind of book. If you have ever baked cupcakes (which I highly recommend trying, even if you think you can’t bake) then you will know that the decoration depends completely on time at hand and the mood you are in. Cupcake Magic caters perfectly to finding the perfect cupcake for both these criteria.

When I have time my personal favourite is the “Black Forest Gateau Cupcake” (pictured below), but for quickies, I opt for the “Basic No-Mucking Around Cupcake” which is true to its name and can just be sprinkled with icing sugar – mmmmm… good. (Mine are pictured with purple royal icing).

Kate Shirazi has devised easy, light and fluffy recipes which all bake in 20 minutes. Her icing recipes are so useful and she also includes how to make decorations for the more adventurous (I have only got as far as roses!). Her style is informal and she will guide you every step of the way to perfect cupcakes, including tips on ingredients, baking supplies and decorations (I love edible glitter!).

Something interesting about the recipes is that they all call for margarine. Most bakers frown on this, but Shirazi bravely takes a stand and admits that for cupcakes, and only cupcakes, she prefers margarine because it makes for fluffier batter. She has quickly won me over with edible proof. Plus, who couldn’t trust someone who saves battery chickens and only uses free range eggs? (She did actually save battery chickens and now has her own egg supply at home).

I highly recommend this book for any aspiring baker or someone who simply loves cake. Plus the photographs and layout are so gorgeous that this book would give anyone’s kitchen shelves a lift.

Thank you to Sarah Duff for photographing my creations (yes, I actually made these ones!). Please check out her stunning blog at www.veggiedelish.com (it really is delish).

Just to give you a little taste – here’s the recipe for “Black Forest Gateau Cupcakes”

 Makes 12 delicious cupcakes

85g self-raising flour

4 Tbsp cocoa powder

110g castor sugar

110g margarine

1 tsp baking powder

2 large free-range eggs

1 jar cherry jam ( I used Pick’n’Pay Morello jam)

200ml whipping cream

60g dark chocolate

1 tin black cherries, drained

Pre-heat oven to 170˚C. Line muffin pan with cupcake cases (this will make washing up and getting the cupcakes out easier).

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and sugar into a large bowl, or food processor. Add marg, baking powder and eggs. Beat well until batter is light and fluffy. Spoon mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for about 20 minutes until firm to the touch. Remove and allow to cool.

Once cool, smother the top of each cupcake with a generous amount of jam, then pile whipped cream on top. Finish with some grated chocolate. I then finish them off with black cherries, but Kate Shirazi suggests glace cherries on a stick.