It seems some people love St. Valentine‘s Day. Some people hate it with a passion and refuse to have anything to do with it. And that’s fine. Speaking for myself, I kind of sit on the fence with Valentine’s. I neither love nor hate it. All I really want to do is spend it with the people who mean the most to me. The people who know that we don’t really need a special day in the calendar to say I love you. But it’s an excuse to celebrate which is always a good thing!
I was never really struck with red velvet cupcakes until I found this recipe by Nigella Lawson. Some recipes I had tried in the past were just not quite right – they either tasted bland or just plain weird. This recipe is bang on the money. They have a lovely light chocolate flavour and the sponge is so light and fluffy. The frosting is absolutely gorgeous. Hands down the best red velvet I’ve tried. My hubby and two boys love them so much I couldn’t consider making anything else today.
Red Velvet Cupcakes – Adapted from Nigella Lawson “Kitchen”
250g plain flour
2 x 15ml tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g soft unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1 x heaped 15ml tbsp Christmas-red paste food colouring (I used Wilton Red Red)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cider vinegar or other vinegar
BUTTERY CREAM CHEESE ICING
500g icing sugar (no need to sift if using a processor)
125g cream cheese
125g soft unsalted butter
1st Vanilla Extract
1 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice (you need this otherwise the icing is tooth-achingly sweet)
Preheat the oven to 170C and line the muffin tins with paper cases. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb in a bowl. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating well, and when you have a soft, pale mixture beat in the food colouring and the vanilla extract. Into this vividly coloured mixture, still beating, add 1 spoonful of the dried ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by some more dried ingredients, then the other egg, followed by the rest of the dried ingredients.
Finally, beat in the buttermilk and vinegar and divide this extraordinary batter between the cases.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until risen.
Leave them to cool on a wire rack and do not ice with the frosting until absolutely cold. Adorn with what ever sprinkles take your fancy. I baked some cupcakes in a silicone heart mould but they wouldn’t come out with breaking up!! I’m so done with silicone. I just crumbled the broken cakes up and used them as decoration – super simple but effective!
To make the buttery cream-cheese frosting
You can use all butter rather than half-butter and half-cream cheese for this icing.
Put the icing sugar into a processor and whiz to remove lumps. Add the cream cheese and butter and process
Pour in the vanilla extract, cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and process again to make a smooth icing.