Red velvet cup cakes

Today I want to share a recipe with you. I downloaded it some time ago from the internet without saving the details of the site, so unfortunately I have no idea who to credit.

Red Velvet cupcakes are rich (very rich!) (no, I really do mean ridiculously rich!) chocolate cakes. Perhaps you can remember the groom’s cake in the shape of an armadillo with grey icing from the movie Steel Magnolias – it is said to be the reason for a resurgence in the popularity of red velvet cake. Add to that the current cupcake boom, and luckily we all now know this Southern speciality.

Originally, cocoa used to be a lighter shade and what gave red velvet cupcakes their unique colour was a chemical reaction of the unprocessed cocoa with the acid in the buttermilk. In most recipes today, we use red food colouring. It is this bright red and pink colour of the red velvet cupcakes that had me grabbing for my camera at nearly every stage of the baking process.

These cupcakes are so delicious, so rich, so luxurious, that they don’t seem to me like everyday “grandma’s coming over for tea” cupcakes. These are for special occasions. Now, to only find another special occasion for these decadent cupcakes – it should not be too difficult?

Try them and see if you agree with me.

2 ½ cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
50ml red food colouring
½ cup unsalted buttered, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a spate bowl, mix the food colouring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (the recipe says this takes about 3 minutes, but I found that it takes much longer). Beat in eggs, one at a time, the beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, and then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of the flour mixture, the second half of the buttermilk. Add the last of the flour mixture and beat until it is well combined.

4. In a small separate bowl, mix the baking soda and vinegar (it will fizz a bit). Add this vinegar mixture to the cake batter and beat again.

5. Fill the cupcake cups with the batter and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The cupcakes are done when you are able to pat the tops and the cake springs back up. If it sinks down they are not yet complete.

6. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing them. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream cheese Frosting:
230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
340g cream cheese, at room temperature
3 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Mix the butter until light and creamy. Add the cream cheese and mix until fluffy.

2. Slowly add the sugar, one cup at a time. Continue to mix. Finally, add the vanilla extract to the mixture and mux u until it has a cream consistency. (I found that this recipe makes way to much icing, so you can halve the ingredients if you want and still have enough icing).

Frost the cupcakes, add sprinkles and voila!

Image credits: All photography by me

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