A few weeks ago, after many fairly disastrous attempts, I think I managed to create the perfect red velvet cupcake. Having gone through so much pain myself and in the spirit of generosity (it is lent after all) I thought that I would share the recipe with you.
It’s basically the Hummingbird Bakery original recipe, with a few of my own tweaks – get the temperature too high or the amount of colouring wrong and hey presto you have an inedible monstrosity on your hands. If you’ve not tried red velvet cake before, you absolutely must. It’s deliciously light and of course calorie free *ahem*.
You will need…
- 60 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 150 g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 10 g cocoa powder
- 3 tsps red gel food colouring (Sugarflair)
- ½ tsp red liquid food colouring
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 120 ml buttermilk
- 150 g plain flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1½ tsp white vinegar
- 1 x 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
- 250 g icing sugar, sifted
- 20 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 125 g cream cheese, cold
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
- Beat the butter and sugar using an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well mixed.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder (not too much or the cocoa cancels out the redness of the food colouring), red food colouring gel, red food colouring liquid and vanilla extract to make a dark paste. If too thick, add a small amount of warm water.
- Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and a nice rich red colour. If not red enough, add a little more food colouring.
- Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk.
- Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.
- Divide the mixture into 12 cake cases and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Turn them out onto a cooling rack.
- The tops can sometimes go slightly hard and crisp. If you want to avoid that, slice the top off each cupcake once cooled.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating the icing sugar and the remaining 20g of the unsalted butter together in a freestanding electric mixer until it is well mixed.
- Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Be careful not to over-beat, as it can quickly become runny.
- When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top.
And there you have it, the perfect red velvet cupcake. If you want to make a red velvet cake instead, double the quantities but make sure that you divide the mixture between three 20-cm cake tins otherwise the mixture is too dense to cook the cake right through. Bake for 25-30 minutes.