It’s been a crazy few weeks as we have moved into a new house (a particularly monumental event as it has meant a move into the first property I have ever owned – a homeowner at last!), and then there was the 10k run to prepare for. So it’s fair to say that my baking challenge has taken a bit of a back seat of late, however before we upped and left our old house I did find time to make one last creation.
I was thrilled when a friend of mine, who is getting married next year, asked me to be bridesmaid for her. She recently invited her bridesmaids round for an evening of bubbles, bridesmaid bonding and trying on our dresses for the big day (the dresses are simply gorgeous, by the way), so I thought what better sweet treats to take with me than ‘Loved Up Cupcakes’?!
I decided to give red velvet cupcakes a go from my fave baking book – yes, you guessed it, the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book, then I planned to give the cakes a loved up edge by decorating the tops with assorted love heart decorations.
I was pretty confident that my red velvet cakes would turn out to be a pretty vibrant colour because I planned to use food colouring paste rather than liquid, and I’ve been told this is usually a successful move. But instead, the cakes ended up this rather murky red-tinged brown!
I felt pretty pushed for time when decorating the cakes so they didn’t look quite as pretty and polished as I’d hoped and after the raging success of my previous KitKat Cake, this recipe felt like a step backwards, but this challenge is all about sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of my creations with you!
I must say though, as ever the Hummingbird Bakery recipe was easy to follow and tasted lovely, a lot better than it looked.
I was disappointed with the red velvet effect, or lack thereof.
For the cupcakes:
- 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 10g cocoa powder
- 20ml red food colouring paste (I used Sugarflair Velvet Red paste)
- ½tsp vanilla extract
- 120ml buttermilk
- 150g plain flour
- ½tsp salt
- ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1½tsp white wine vinegar
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 300g icing sugar, sifted
- 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 125g cream cheese, cold
- A dash of pink food colouring paste (I used Sugarflair Baby Pink paste)
To decorate, I used:
- Morrison’s Sugar Candy Hearts
- Dr Oetker’s Chocolate Hearts
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
- Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.
- Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 mins, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile for the cream cheese frosting: Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 mins. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.
- When the cupcakes are cold, spoon or pipe over the cream cheese frosting on top (I chose to give piping a go this time).