Sunday, 17 February 2013

Best Ever Red Velvet Cupcakes

You know that I said to you when I showed you my Red Velvet Valentine Springerle Cookies, the other day, that I was not too keen on those bright red velvet cakes, because a red velvet cake is meant to be a chocolate cake? Well, I was out shopping with my son at the weekend and we had stopped in a well known chain of coffee shop, here in England, for a spot of lunch and I saw that they had a "New" Red Velvet cake of the very, very red variety. I think it is important to keep an open mind about these things and so, I decided, purely in the interests of research, that I ought to try a piece.

I am sorry to say, that I have rarely been so disappointed in a cake. The frosting / icing was passable, I suppose, though I don't think it was of the cream cheese variety usually accompanying a red velvet sponge, it did have a nice vanilla flavour. Then cake however was spongey like a bath sponge in texture and the only thing it tasted of was red food colouring. In fact, I didn't actually finish the cake and this has only happened once before, when in a local garden centre, I was served the largest piece of mint aero cheesecake you have even seen.

So today, I am going to share my red velvet cupcake recipe (a proper one with chocolate) with you and show you my first experiments with edible icing. I have to warn you up front that this cupcake recipe is an unusual method. If you don't get on with the traditional creaming method, then, this recipe is one you should try. The first time I made it, I was almost to arrogant to follow the recipe given, thinking to myself, "that's not how you make a cake", thankfully though, I did follow the given method and this makes a really lovely cake. You will also note, that the recipe has considerably less fat than a conventional cake recipe. The recipe given makes about 12 cupcakes and you will need a stand mixer to make them

Cake Recipe

(Oz referred to are imperial UK)

100g / 4oz plain flour
20g / 1oz cocoa powder
140g / 5oz caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
40g 1 1/2 oz unsalted butter / margarine
120ml / 4 fl oz whole milk
1 egg
1tbsp LorAnn Red Velvet Emulsion*

*If you don't have the Lorann red velvet emulsion use a teaspoon of red gel colour and for a more authentic flavour, replace the milk with buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 165 C Fan / 170 C / 325 F
Get your tin and cake cases ready

1. Mix together the egg, milk and red colouring or emulsion in a suitable sized jug
2. Measure the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking powder and butter into your mixer bowl
3. Mix with "K" beater on low speed until the mixture turns into fine crumbs
4. Slowly start to pour in the milk and egg mix until the mixture just turns to liquid
5. Stop pouring and turn up the speed of the mixer for about 1 minute to get rid of any lumps
6. Switch back to low speed and our in the rest of the milk and egg mix
7. Spoon the mix into cupcake cases
8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes

Here is the cupcake with all its red, but chocolatey, glory exposed

Frosting / icing recipe

(Oz referred to are imperial UK)

Every good red velvet cupcake must be topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting / icing flavoured with vanilla. This is the recipe I  used. Both the buttercream and the cream cheese need to be soft before you start

250g / 8oz unsalted butter
1tsp of vanilla bean paste or vanilla flavouring of your choice
350g / 12oz icing sugar
300g / 10oz Cream cheese

1. Put the softened butter and vanilla into mixer and beat for couple of minuted
2. Add half the icing sugar and beat again until all mixed through*
3. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until all mixed through
4. Finally add the cream cheese and beat until all combined

*You may wish to drape a clean kitchen towel over your mixer before switching it on so that the icing sugar does not blow all over the kitchen in clouds


Everbody's favourite, the buttercream swirl. The black specks you can see are the vanilla bean seeds from the vanilla bean paste that I used. I piped this by holding the piping bad at 90 degrees to the cupcake, piping a rose out from the centre and piping another layer on top for the swirl

I had been trying to get hold of some large Ateco tips / nozzles for piping buttercream swirls, but have found them quite hard to find. I decided that I would try this one from purple cupcakes. To my delight when it arrived I found that it was the very Ateco 855 that I had been trying to track down. Just to give you an idea of the size of this top / nozzle, here it is below next to the Wilton 32 I used for piping the cupcakes shoe further down the page and the Wilton 1M which I often use for a buttercream swirl

I tried some sprinkles on the top as well

Edible Images

A little while ago, I tried some edible images on my cookies, as shown below, so thought I would try some on my cupcakes too. I find using the edible images a bit tricky, but, I do really like the results they give. The images arrive on a sheet of 12 little icing circles. Before using them you wait for them to dry a little and then carefully detach them from the sheet. I did this by rubbing the sheet over the edge of my worktop. The you put them on top of freshly rolled sugar paste, gently smooth them dow and then cut out the shape you want with a cutter.

First of all, I tried the same technique as the cookies and placed sugar paste with the edible image on top of some piped buttercream.

This isn't quite the look that I wanted, so, I used a different shape for cutting the sugar paste after having applied the edible image. Much happier with this one.

The frosting was piped with a wilton 32 and looks like this underneath the edible image

That's all for today

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