It’s been a while since a recipe featured around these here parts. Nothing sweet, savoury, sticky or squidgy has been granted a star feature and the silence (eh….for me, anyhow) has been deafening. I miss flitting around my little kitchen in Salamanca, calling the shots and knowing exactly what ingredients lay on the shelves of the fridge or huddled in the dark corners of the cupboard. At the moment I’m spending less time working at home and when I return in the evenings, food is ready and waiting. As a result my passion for cooking up a storm and baking up a bazooka (I know, I have such a way with words, right?!) has dwindled a little and I am SO ASHAMED. I need to pull myself together, as creating things has always been an important part of my day to day life and I promised myself I wouldn’t slide into laziness while I’m here.
Time to make up for the drought, starting with a recipe that isn’t even mine. I had to share it though, these are the most perfect Red Velvet cupcakes and I’ve never tasted better. A bold statement but it’s true. This recipe comes from the infamous Humming Bird Bakery in London, which is reposted on a couple of websites. You can visit either here or here.
I’ve made these a few times and family, colleagues and coffee morning attendees at last weekend’s Hospice coffee morning have all gaga over them, asking me for the recipe (the internet, guys!) and asking what makes them so airy and light while their eyes roll back in their heads. I don’t blame them, they’re phenomenal – light as air, cakey, moist (I had to, sorry..) and don’t dry out at all, even if you chill them in the fridge if you make them the night before an event.The Hummingbird Bakery have clearly got the perfect recipe down.
Promise you’ll give it at least one shot? You’ll see what I mean by all this indulgent jargon when you whip some up and you’ll probably add them to your recipe repertoire. And come here and tell me you rolled your eyes. Several times. You’ll probably ice them all pretty and fancy too, instead of slapping the icing/frosting on like an ape with a spoon but hey, that’s just me.
First things first, you’ll need an electric whisk or standalone mixer. This is non negociable. You’ll also need quite a large mixing bowl and a spatula, though any spoon is fine if you’re stuck. It’s just for scraping the edges of the bowl so everything’s incorporated, and later used for getting as much batter from the bowl as you can into the little paper cases. I find this recipe makes about 18 cupcakes, so I make the first 12 then the extra 6.
60g unsalted butter, room temp
150g caster sugar
1 egg (whisked)
10g cocoa powder (I use 15g)
20ml red food colouring (I use 30ml)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use 11/2 teaspoons)
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I use 1 teaspoon)
11/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (I use 2 teaspoons)
300g icing sugar (I find this far too much. I halve the amount to 150g as I don’t want a sugar overload. And it tastes a bit like Milky Bar if you reduce the sugar. This is just a personal opinion of course.)
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese, cold
My notes in the brackets are just suggestions. I find the paste binds a little better with extra vanilla & food colouring and Red Velvet cupcakes have a tendency to flatten out a bit so I think the extra baking powder helps at least a tiny bit.
Preheat your oven to 170C and line your cupcake tray. Cream your butter and sugar together, then your egg until well combined.
In a separate bowl, mix the vanilla, food colouring and cocoa powder until you make a paste. It’s ok if it’s not perfect. It will smell so good but don’t taste it, it doesn’t taste like it smells.
Combine the paste with the egg/sugar/butter mix until you have a browny pink glossy mix. Add half the buttermilk, whisk. Add half the flour, whisk, then repeat until both are gone. Add the salt, vinegar and finally the baking powder and it should look like this…
I ran out of food colouring though so I only used a couple of drops. Normally it’s richer in colour. Bake the batter for 20 minutes, (I find this is the perfect amount of time) and allow to cool on a wire tray. They’ll probably look a bit flat but it is normal and you’ll be putting cream cheese icing/frosting on them anyway so it’s all good.
Next combine the butter and sugar with the electric mixer and then add the cream cheese until you have a thick frosting. When the cupcakes are cool, spoon or pipe it on the top but be careful when holding the cupcakes – they’ll be so light you may find your thumb and index finger will create an imprint.
Enjoy! If you make them or made some in the past, let me know how yours went. When you took the first bite, did you hear angels sing?
♥ ♥ ♥