I never really ‘got’ the whole red velvet cupcakes thing. Why were they so popular, they’re just red cupcakes, right?
Wrong. I was very wrong.
I spent a lovely afternoon baking with my mum who fancied making red velvet cupcakes.
I did a bit of an eye roll and ‘WHY couldn’t she just pick regular cakes?’ thing but we had such a great time and the cakes came out so well I thought I’d share the recipe here.
And then I was contacted by online store Kaleidoscope who asked me to join in with a Blogger Bake Off and use some of their Katie Alice bakeware to help while I made my creation.
The items were absolutely gorgeous; huge old-fashioned style mixing bowls, adorable ceramic measuring spoons, pretty cake storage tins and pretty cooling racks. All very vintage inspired.
The sort of things that you’d find in a traditional old tea shop – only they’re available online. And absolutely perfect for Christmas presents (oops, dropped the C word in there . . . )
So I made these Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet cupcakes again but using some of the What Alice Did range.
The texture of a red velvet cupcake is very different from a regular cupcake, which I guess comes from the reaction between the bicarb and the vinegar (hello science class!)
A note on the red food colouring. If you buy the regular liquid variety you are going to have to use a LOT to get that rich, red colour.
I opted for a quality paste from a local cake decorating shop and it really paid off as the finished sponge had a beautiful, deep red colour, so I’d really recommend taking the time to shop around.
Another thing to note is, if you over mix and cake batter it doesn’t work so well, so as some stages (4, 5, 6) I just used a spoon to mix the ingredients in.
And finally with the icing; I’ve found this recipe makes more than you will need. Personally I’d veer down the less is more route on your icing as too much can be too sickly and take away the taste of the sponge.
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
10g cocoa powder
2 tbsps red food colouring or one third of a post of quality paste
Half tsp vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk (if you can’t find buttermilk, you can use plain yoghurt and milk – 80ml of yoghurt and 40ml milk)
150g plain flour
half tsp salt
half tsp bicarbonate of soda
1half tsp white wine vinegar
Cream cheese icing
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
1. Preheat oven to 170C (Gas 3)
Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases. HOWEVER, please note, if you feel you’ve filled your cases sufficiently and still have a little cake mixture left over, do not be tempted to add a bit more – just pop it in another case/s. Adding too much to the case will cause your cakes to flow over the top of the cases and you really don’t want that!
2. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream using a handheld electric whisk or freestanding electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extra to make a thick paste.
4. Add this paste to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined.
5. Add half the milk and beat until well mixed.
6. Add half the flour and mix until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the milk and flour have been added. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure all the mixture is well mixed.
7. Now add the salt, bicarb and vinegar – these will react and fizz when you add them which gives the cakes their distinctive texture. Mix and then turn the speed up on your miser and blend well.
8. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases. ONLY fill to a maximum of two-thirds full or the finished cupcake will rise too high and spill over the edges of the case.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
11. While the cakes are cooling make the icing. Mix the icing sugar and butter together until all the ingredients are well mixed, then add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
Now beat until it’s light and fluffy. If it seems to runny (doesn’t form stiff peaks when you pull a spoon out) add a touch more icing sugar and beat again.
12. When the cakes are totally cool, add the icing and decorate.
Recipe adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
The items I used from the Katie Alice range were;
Cottage Flower Mixing Bowl, £20
English Garden Measuring Spoons, £10
Cottage Flower Cooling Rack, £10
Cottage Flower 10 Piece Icing Set, £8
Cottage Flower Cake Tins (set of 3), £21
And I also had the Highland Fling Cake Slice, £10