I have had the pleasure of a sweet tooth being one of my defining features for as long as I can recall. Numerous times, I have been told that I inherited the wondrous possession from my grandmother (my dad’s mother). Whenever my family and I stayed for dinner in her and my grandfather’s humble abode, I always excitedly anticipated whatever mouth-wateringly good dessert that would soon be served. Keep in mind that I was at a very young age. Even when dinner was served, I merely picked at the contents of the plate in front of me, while my mother attempted to coax forkfuls of vegetables into my unenthusiastic mouth. However, it wouldn’t take me long to gobble down each forkful, once the sentence “Little girls who don’t eat their vegetables, don’t get to have dessert.” came from the mouth of one of those dearest to my heart. And so, each family meal would end on a highly positive note, with my sweet tooth being extremely impressed.
In celebration of this memory, I introduce to you a real treat and a favourite of mine: red velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp red food colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
120 ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
Put the butter and the sugar in a in a bowl and beat with an electric mixture on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to high speed and slowly add the egg, beating until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa, red food colouring and vanilla until a thick paste of a dark hue is achieved. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until all of the ingredients are fully combined and coloured. Beat at low speed, slowly pouring in half of the buttermilk. Beat until well combined, adding half of the flour. Beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat these steps until all of the buttermilk and flour have been used. Beat at high speed until the mixture is smooth and even. Beat at low speed, adding the baking soda and vinegar. Turn up the speed again, beating for around 4-5 minutes.
Spoon the mixture into paper cases, filling he cases 2/3 of the way with batter. Bake in a preheated over for approximately 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly before removing from the pan. After removing the cupcakes from the pan, leave to cool on a wire rack. In order to make red crumbs to sprinkle on top of the frosting (recipe below), cut the top off a cupcake and crumble between your fingertips.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
Beat the icing sugar and butter in a bowl at medium speed until the two ingredients come together and are well incorporated.
Add the cream cheese, beating until completely incorporated. Beat at a high speed, until the frosting is light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes. Over beating will result in a runny mixture.