I was reminded last week, by a friend, in not too subtle a manner, (you know who you are!) that I hadn't made red velvet cupcakes in ages, so, red food colouring in hand, I got baking. Please don't be put off by the vinegar in the sponge, you can't taste it and you need it for the acid/alkali reaction between it and the bicarb for the rise and texture, and there's just not enough acid in the buttermilk. I decided against the usual cream cheese frosting and went with old fashioned American buttercream, which I usually use in my red velvet whoopie pies. If you think icing made with flour and vegetable shortening sounds horrible, put those thoughts to one side and give it a try, it's actually rather good.
12 hole muffin tin, lined with paper cases
60 g unsalted butter, softened
1 large, free range egg, beaten
10 g cocoa powder
1 tbsp good quality red food colouring paste or gel
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
120 ml buttermilk
150 g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
Old Fashioned American Buttercream-
130 ml whole milk
4 tbsp plain flour
200 g caster sugar
110 g vegetable shortening eg. Cookeen
110 g butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1. Preheat oven to 170C
2. Beat butter and sugar together with electric whisk until light and fluffy.
3. Slowly add the egg and beat well.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa, food colouring and vanilla paste together, then add the sugar and butter mixture and beat well.
5. Beat in half the buttermilk.
6. Gradually beat in half the flour.
7. Beat in the reat of the buttermilk.
8. Gradually beat in the rest of the flour, until everything is well mixed.
9. Add the vinegar and bicarb and beat again.
10. Divide between the 12 paper cases and bake for around 20 mins or until the cakes are risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool before icing.
1. Whisk together the flour and milk in a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat until the mixture thickens. Set aside to cool.
2. In a bowl, beat together the sugar, butter and shortening until light and fluffy, using an electric whisk. Add the vanilla and beat well.
3. Add the flour mixture and beat for a few more mins.
To Assemble -
Pipe or spread icing on top of the cooled cakes, I used a #4 star nozzle. Decorate as desired, I used red sugar crystals.