Dec 30, 2014

Festivus Inbetweenus. The Corner by McCafe, Camperdown.

How are you holding up today?

It's been a big Christmas break down on the farm.

In need of a bit of a lie down like everyone on the farm?


I hear you. The foolish bravado of eating dessert, short bread and fruit mince pies with every meal for the last five days has finally caught up with me. I wish it was as easy for humans as it is for pot plants to perk up. A watering can of water here, a sprinkle of fertilizer there.... I'm afraid my recovery plan over the next few weeks is going to be the painful route of eating less and moving more.

Back to my usual salad for lunch today. Even I was surprised at myself that I missed it so much.

I guess that road to recovery should begin today rather than tomorrow or the day after. Which is why I'm having salad for lunch and looking over photos of what I've been eating over the last few days rather than reaching for more cake or tiramisu.


I woke up at the crack of dawn to a silent house on Saturday and managed to convince myself to take on a baking project armed with nothing more than a bracing mug of tea and earnest prayers the gods of massive toddler sleep ins. My aim was to make this red velvet cake for his early birthday celebrations with my family.


I crept around the kitchen gathering the key ingredients including the red food colouring and cocoa that give the cake its distinctive taste and appearance.

The recipe is a little involved but easy to follow. There was even a bit of food chemistry involved with the making of a fizzing vinegar and bicarb paste to add the cake batter.


You know things are getting serious in the kitchen when I actually used both the normal round whisk and a beater blade with my Kitchen Aid. The beater blade really did make light work of the buttermilk (skim milk and lemon juice is a great DIY version) and flour stages.

You can also tell that this was going to be a cake of vivid redness because I managed to use up my bottle of pillar box red food colouring. The one I've had for two years, since the last time I made a red velvet cake.

There was a tense moment when I added the cocoa and red food colouring paste to the batter. Would the cupboards be splattered red? Would I give myself a blotchy red face?


Fortunately, neither of things happened. But I did manage to streak the benchtop with some of the batter as I quickly divided it among my three 20cm spring form tins.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the three tins fit comfortably into the oven.

And a even huger sigh with a fist pump when all three cakes depanned without incident. My prayers worked because it was at this point that Toddler SSG woke up and ran into the kitchen looking for breakfast and some morning Peppa if it was on offer.


Speaking of Peppa, I just can't seem to get the International Day episode and song out of my head. I suspect the reason the DVD is on high rotation at home relates more to me than my toddler.


Toddler SSG's homely looking birthday cake. Stars and pirate candles were both from Coles.


The only hitch I had with assembling the cake was that my slackness in not levelling off each layer of the cake resulted in a very lop sided three tiered cake that threatened to slide down into single layers if my frosting didn't harden up in the fridge. Thankfully the frosting did harden and the lean just held itself at a 45 degree angle.

Homely appearance aside, this is a seriously good red velvet recipe. It's not too sweet (even with the frosting) and the cake is a beautiful rich red. It's well worth using a beater blade because I'm sure this is the reason the colour was so even in my cake. I could even taste both the vanilla and the chocolate of the batter. Toddler SSG loved it too. Mostly the frosting but he did make a good effort with the cake between the frosting layers too.
The frosted cake keeps beautifully in the fridge and a slab makes for a wonderful holiday season afternoon tea.

My other Festivus Inbtweenus food news relates to a new cafe I found next to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. For years, the hospital was a workplace (and birthplace) famous for its highly desirable proximity to Campo's Coffee, Luxe Bakery and ... a McCafe. The McCafe is now a funky but very user friendly cafe called The Corner by McCafe. It's a little bit hipster (how could you not be after living in Newtown for so long) and a whole lot of well priced healthy food.

But while you can hipster up a McCafe, you can never completely take the Maccas out of a McCafe. These iced Ronald McDonald cookies were on sale next to the freshly baked pastries, salads and coffees.

Nicely priced pre packaged meal options.
A cabinet of baked goods I'll have to return to try.

The garden in front of the cafe even features a parking spot for dogs.


The go to order at The Corner is The Protein Box ($9).


You order your box from the back counter which features steaming pots of various slow cooked meats and a mix of salads. Orders are taken at the counter with some table service for coffees. I love the staff uniforms of a brown apron over a chambray shirt and dark trousers.

I ordered the pulled pork box to dine in and it arrived at the table in a lined baking tray with wooden cutlery. I might be a little biased as a long time lover of most things McDonald's but this was a surprisingly hearty and tasty lunch. Definitely an improvement on the toasted sandwiches and wraps of the old McCafe. The pulled pork was tender and lean with a rich and spicy sauce. The salads were fresher and more balanced flavour wise than the recent offerings I've had at Sumo Salad and all for less than a tenner.

Being a McCafe cousin, The Corner is very toddler friendly. The furniture is solid and there's lots of table space. The babycinos are pretty good too though they don't come with marshmallows. There isn't a play area as such for the little ones but Toddler SSG had a great time 'helping' the staff by returning each cup and saucer from our table to the main counter and putting his rubbish in the bin.

Have you been to The Corner? Did the protein box make your insides smile? The baked goods. Did you try the baked goods?


  1. Oh such a fancy looking McDonalds cafe! :) I wonder if they have anything like that up our way?

    Hope toddler SSG had a lovely early birthday celebrations - can't believe he is 2 already! Have a wonderful start to 2015 :)

  2. at least you can have the sun and walk it off - it's freezing here so we keep eating but don't really walk it off properly! I adore red velvet cake and the frosting even more! happy birthday to the little one!


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