For the last week of term I baked up a batch of red velvet cupcakes for everyone in my group. This is one of my favourite cupcake recipes; slightly chocolaty, very light in texture despite its deceptively deep red colour. On top of that is a wonderful cream cheese frosting that cuts through the sweetness of the cake. My preferred recipe, proudly unaltered from TheHummingbird Bakery’s cookbook, almost guarantee’s perfectly decadent results.
Red Velvet cupcakes
- 80g (unsalted) butter, at room temperature
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 free-range egg, room temperature.
- 40g cocoa powder
- 30ml good quality red food colouring, or a paste, loosened with a tsp water.
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 120ml buttermilk (either buy or see below how to make it)
- 150g plain flour
- ½ salt (or use salted butter
- ½ tsp bicarb of soda
- 1 ½ tbsp. white wine vinegar.
Cream Cheese frosting
- 300g icing sugar
- 50g softened butter
- 125g cream cheese, cold
To make buttermilk: For every 225ml of (whole, ideally) milk, add one tablespoon of white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Don't worry if it is a little lumpy; once stirred in it will smooth out.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, 170’C. Prepare either 12 muffin-sized tins, or 18-24 medium cake tins with paper cases. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula inbetween steps!
Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk, for five minutes or so, until fluffy. Add in the egg and beat in over a high speed.
In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa powder with the red food colouring or paste, and vanilla extract to make a thick paste. Add to the butter until well combined. Turn the electric whisk down to a low speed and gradually stir in the buttermilk. Then gently add half the flour and beat again. Repeat this, until all the ingredients are incorporated together. Add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar, and turn the whisk up to a final, high speed beat until everything is smooth and evenly mixed.
Spoon the cases until 2/3's full. Bake for 15-20 minutes if using medium cases, or 20-25 if using larger cases until the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cupcakes to cool.
To make the cream cheese:
Beat the icing sugar and butter together with an electric whisk on a low speed until well mixed. To avoid an icing explosion, I initially mix the two together with a spatula before letting my whisk go anywhere near the icing sugar!
Add the cream cheese and beat until incorporated. Turn up to a high speed and beat for a good five minutes to get an aerated, fluffy frosting -but be careful not to overbeat!
Spoon onto the cupcakes when they are completely cool.