Food. Travel. Recipes.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes (Nigella Lawson)

As you may have realised if you read my blog, I'm not someone who tends to make cakes and sweet things that much. I used to but I generally prefer cooking savoury recipes now, there's so much more choice and with cakes, there's not always that many recipes I want to try. Nevertheless, I occasionally attempt cake like recipes just to give them a go, try something different and see how they turn out (I usually stick to the old faithfuls of banana bread and chocolate brownies though...) Red Velvet Cupcakes however have always been something that have caught my eye when I've been flicking through recipe books, they really are showstoppers with the lovely deep red spongy insides that you aren't expecting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes are featured in many a recipe book however the one I chose was from Nigella Lawson's Kitchen, her latest cookery book which is a massive all-encompassing cookery bible, with a plethora of various recipes, savoury and sweet. There's so much I want to try from that book! The way she decorated these cupcakes and displayed them really drew me to the recipe.

Makes 24 cupcakes (I halved these and made 6 large muffin sized cupcakes!)


250g plain flour

2 x 15ml tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

100g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

1 x heaped 15ml tablespoon Christmas-red paste food colouring (I couldn't get hold of any paste, even though I reckon it would be better, I just used regular food colouring instead - around 1-2 tablespoons should suffice)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 eggs

175ml buttermilk (I used milk instead)

1 teaspoon cider vinegar or other vinegar

2 x 12 bun muffin tins

Preheat the oven to 170C and line the muffin tins with paper cases.

Combine the powdery ingredients in a bowl to start with; flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

In another bowl (yes you will have a lot of washing up to do after this!) cream the butter and sugar, mix well and when it is soft and blended together, add the food colouring/paste and the vanilla extract.

Continue beating the red mixture, whilst you're doing this, add 1 tablespoon of the dried ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by another tablespoon of dried ingredients, followed by the other egg, then add the rest of the dried ingredients.

Finally, when the red mixture has been combined with the dried ingredients, add the (butter)milk and vinegar and stir well.

Divide this gorgeous red mixture between the 24 (or however many you have decided to make) cases.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes by which time the colour should have mellowed slightly and the cakes should be of a lovely sponge consistency.

Leave to cool COMPLETELY before icing.

Buttery cream cheese frosting.

Now...onto the fun but slightly messy part!


500g icing sugar

125g cream cheese (full fat preferably, no point scrimping on calories here!)

125g unsalted butter

1 teaspoon cider vinegar or lemon juice

Chocolate sprinkles and red sugar for decoration, or whatever funky sprinkles you can get your hands on! I used some pink sugar sprinkles, choc chips and silver balls.

Nigella advises using a food processor to whiz the icing sugar free of lumps, however I just mixed all of the ingredients together (it's the avoiding washing up method whilst also building your guns with all the mixing!)

So mix the icing sugar, cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Then pour in the cider vinegar/lemon juice and mix/process again to make a smooth icing.

Ice each cupcake, using a small teaspoon and have fun decorating!

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