A Red Velvet State of Mind

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I hadn’t planned on finding time to blog two days in a row, which can only mean one thing:

Bank Holiday!!

Today, Bug and I walked into town to pick up ingredients for Red Velvet Cupcakes, by the request of Husband. He’s got good taste. Obviously.

Upon searching, I discovered that one of my favorite baking sites was now on restricted access, meaning I would need to pay a monthly premium to access all areas of the website, including my normal Red Velvet recipe. Lame! I knew all of the ingredients, but couldn’t quite remember the quantities, namely the bicarb and baking powder. Anyone who bakes knows that using the wrong measurements of these two components can spell disaster. Once I composed myself from the shock/horror, I began searching for a new recipe and happened upon Nigella Lawson’s Red Velvet Cupcake recipe. It contains all the same ingredients, with the addition of cider vinegar at the end. Awesome.

I began by sifting all the dry ingredients together.

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Then, I creamed together the butter and sugar.

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I like to dry out used vanilla pods and stick them in with my caster sugar. It infuses the sugar and creates a beautiful aroma and flavor.

Next came the food coloring.

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What a beautiful hue!
The interesting thing about this recipe was that it called for one spoonful of dry ingredients before each egg, and the milk at the end. I assume this was to prevent curdling, and it worked beautifully. The normal recipe I followed explained to crack in both eggs, then the dry mix in thirds, separated by two halves of the milk. I gotta say, I much preferred this mix as it came out so silky and smooth. The only thing I would do differently is add a little more cocoa, since I like my red velvet slightly more chocolatey. Thankfully, my husband was available to rescue the remnants of batter left in the bowl after filling the cases.

Into the oven!

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I slightly overfilled the cases and ended up with 17 cakes, but the original recipe says it makes 24.

I started to whip up the Cream Cheese Frosting recipe I love, from Sweetapolita.

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I have to admit, I have always found this recipe to be temperamental, with the consistency running very thin about half the time. The Husband did a bit of research and found that Brits often have a hard time making cream cheese frosting, because American powdered sugar contains corn flour (starch). The more you know! I ended up deviating from the recipe and creaming together the butter and cream cheese first, then adding in the powdered sugar. I was able to better control the consistency and the sweetness. I believe that real vanilla pods should be used when making frosting, or at least great quality extract.

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I think it’s safe to say that Bug was a fan of the frosting. Just to clarify, the “No Pants Required” policy in our kitchen only applies to adorable individuals under 2.

The result!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes 

 250 grams plain flour 

2 tablespoons cocoa powder (sifted) 

2 teaspoons baking powder 

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 

100 grams soft unsalted butter 

200 grams caster sugar 

1 heaped tablespoon Christmas-red paste food colouring 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

2 large eggs 

175 ml buttermilk 

1 teaspoon cider vinegar 

Method here

There’s also an option to switch to US measurements if you need it! 

 Cream Cheese Frosting 

1/3 cup (75 g/2.5 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature 

 1 1/2 lbs (5 1/2 cups/685 g) confectioners’ sugar 

 1 1/2 packages (8 oz packages) cream cheese (12 oz/345 g), cut into cubes, cold 

 1/4 cup (60 ml) whipping cream (heavy cream 35%) 

 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract) 

 pinch of salt 

 The instructions are about a quarter of the way down the page.

Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we have!

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