I’ve been pondering whether I should post the cupcakes I made for last Valentine’s Day (I didn’t have a blog then). But after seeing the deliciously gorgeous heart-shaped Peanut Butter Fudge that Helena Gasparetto posted in her blog it dawned on me that every day is a perfectly good day to showcase our love.
I made the traditional red velvet/cream cheese combo, following a Martha Stewart’s recipe. In fact, I have adapted it a bit because of the huge amount of oil. The final result was a very fluffy cake but still somewhat oily (the paper cups leaked oil to the tin). They are made with cocoa powder but the flavour is not really there. And all that redness… so misleading! I guess I just don’t get the Americans. I chose a staple recipe from a staple cook/baker but got frustrated. I’ve never eaten a red velvet cupcake in the US but it is so popular and every cake shop carries it there that I decided to give it a go. My verdict: red velvet cakes are overrated.
Despite my fear, everybody loved it – and the decorations turned out very cute! (I’m not a dab on writing with royal icing so turn a blind eye to that one please)
RED VELVET CUPCAKES
(adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe)
2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon red gel food colouring
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Whisk together cake flour, cocoa and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food colouring.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean – about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.
The combination of cocoa powder/vinegar/baking soda on its own already produces a beautiful reddish chocolate cake (it’s a chemical reaction), so I don’t see the point of using food colouring if you’re not using an essence to justify all that redness. But that’s my humble opinion!
1 cup = 240ml
If you don’t have cake flour, just replace 2 tbsp of every cup of flour with 2 tbsp of cornflour.
To make buttermilk add 1 tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup milk and let it sit for 30 minutes.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING/FILLING
(source: Martha Stewart)
226g unsalted butter, room temperature
340g cream cheese, room temperature
450g icing sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, ⅓ at a time, and then vanilla. Mix until smooth.
It’s important that all the ingredients are at room temperature, otherwise the frosting will curdle.
I don’t know what happened (maybe the ingredients were a bit warm, maybe I didn’t beat them long enough) but my frosting wasn’t consistent enough for piping, so I used it as filling.
For decoration I used shop-bought fondant and red royal icing instead.