Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baking with Poppet: Red Velvet Cupcakes

There are not many people I know who can take more than 60 photos of a single baking session. 

There are not many people I know who would feel compelled to start baking at 10pm, inspired by a show they claim to hate, which may or may not be Masterchef. 

Furthermore, I know even fewer people who would devour approximately 50 grams of leftover icing while watching the weight loss special of Extreme Makeover. 

Last night I achieved all of the above, and I made some damn well delicious Red Velvet Cupcakes in the process, if I do say so myself. 

I adapted a recipe from a blog called 'My Strawberry Heart,' which adapted it from somewhere else, and I am sure if you attempt this it will be adapted again. 

The whole fiasco took about 20 minutes, excluding 15 minutes of baking and the time taken between the cupcakes cooling and the icing being applied.

This recipe made 30 decent sized cupcakes and for once there was enough icing to generously cover all of them... and then gorge myself afterwards. 

I also want to note that I am an extremely haphazardous, fill-in-the-blanks, work-with-what-you've-got kind of cook, and these still worked perfectly.

❥ For the Cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups regular sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 or 3 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder 
(I used sweet drinking chocolate)
1 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature 
(I used regular full-cream milk)
2 large eggs, room temperature
(Mine were straight from the fridge, of course)
2 tablespoons red food colouring 
(I used pink because I didn't have red!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

❥ For the Cream Cheese Icing:
125g cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar 
(I used WAY more than this, just play it by ear until the consistency is right)

❥ Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers, it means there is less cleaning up too!
❥ In a medium mixing bowl, SIFT together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food colouring  and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
❥ Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins, filling them about 2/3 to the top. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes. Test the cupcakes with a skewer. Remove from oven. 
❥ For the Cream Cheese Icing: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on a low speed, beat until mixed through. Increase the speed to high and mix until fluffy. The more icing sugar you add, the more icing you get. I probably used about 4 cups by the time I was done. It should be quite easy to mix and will feel aerated and light. 
❥ Cool completely before icing.


As you can see, these Red (read: Pink) Velvet Cupcakes are not the slightest bit girly. I know this because they were enjoyed by all the boys in the family, especially the love-heart shaped cupcakes, but perhaps that was just because they were a tad larger (note the use of the past tense, they went fast!).

If your household cannot manage to eat 30 of these pretty little cupcakes, they are the perfect gift for a special someone with a sweet tooth. That is, of course, if you can manage to part with them. They almost look too good to eat... almost.

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