Hi again everyone! So spring has finally arrived in the UK – we’ve had some really nice and sunny weather over the last few days ☺️ It’s supposed to go back to being grey and cold again from tomorrow, but I’m hoping the sun will poke its head out again soon! My theory is that we had a proper winter this time with lots of snow, so we also have to have a proper spring and summer with some really nice weather. But we’ll see how far I get with that theory, haha 😅 I’ve had a bit of a look through the posts I’ve already done and noticed that there is a distinct lack of cupcakes on here! I did the spider web cupcakes for Halloween last year, but no others so far. So to rectify that I’ve got some red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for you this week!
I have a little confession to make: this is only the second time I’ve had red velvet cake! I know, I know, it’s shocking 😉 I tried making some a few years ago, and even though I liked the look of them I didn’t particularly like the taste. But since then I’ve found out that the recipe I used back then was a rather unusual one and wanted to give a more classic recipe a go. So this is what I’ve come up with and I have to say, I like them much better! They’re so nice and soft and, well, velvety 🙂 with a slight taste of cocoa and then the creamy, tangy cream cheese frosting on top, yum!
To make these you cream the butter and sugar together and then add the eggs one at a time. After that you alternate adding the dry and the wet ingredients. By alternating them you can make sure that everything is evenly mixed without over mixing the batter. The resulting cake is also nice and light because you don’t knock so much air out of the butter and egg mixture by adding the dry ingredients in stages, rather than plonk it all in in one go. The buttermilk helps to make the cake nice and soft – if you have trouble finding buttermilk, you can just make your own by adding a little vinegar or lemon juice into regular milk and leave to sit for a few minutes. It will thicken up and get a tangy taste, don’t worry about it looking grainy and separated, that’s perfectly normal. When you mix together the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda it will foam a lot, that’s the bicarb reacting with the acid in the vinegar. Just pour the foaming liquid into your batter very quickly and mix in immediately.
I like my cupcakes more domed than flat, even if flat cupcakes is the thing everybody’s after. I guess I’ve always been one to specifically not do whatever is the in thing at the moment 😂 But anyway, if you want these cupcakes to be flat, you can just fill the cupcakes a little less full and you should be good to go. That’s why I’ve written this recipe for 12-16 cupcakes, because it will depend on how flat or domed you would like your cupcakes to be. You can also adjust the frosting to your liking – I like things a little less sweet so I’ve added lemon juice to it, but if you have more of a sweet tooth, you can use less or leave it out completely. Because of the cream cheese in the frosting these cupcakes will need to be stored in the fridge until eating!
Makes 12-16 cupcakes
You will need
For the cakes
200g baking spread
150g caster sugar
180g self raising flour
15g cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp buttermilk
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp red gel food colouring
1 ¼ tsp cider vinegar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the cream cheese frosting
250g butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract
350g icing sugar
250g full-fat cream cheese
2 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3 and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
- Put the butter and caster sugar into a mixing bowl and cream together for about 5 minutes using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between each addition. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix together the buttermilk, vanilla extract and food colouring.
- On a low speed, add one third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then half of the wet ingredients. Follow with another third of the dry ingredients, the remaining wet ingredients and then the remaining dry ingredients. Mix on low until combined. Stir together the cider vinegar and bicarbonate of soda and immediately pour into the batter and mix in.
- Divide the batter between the cupcake cases, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter with the vanilla extract for 5-10 minutes using a stand mixer or an electric hand whisk. It should be really light in colour and take on a lot more volume. Sift the icing sugar and add it in two stages, whisking really well between each addition. Add the cream cheese and lemon juice and whisk in until well combined. Take care not to over whisk or the frosting might separate!
- Fill the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Holding the bag vertical over the cupcake, squeeze a blob of frosting onto the cake and flick your wrist slightly in a circle to finish off. Decorate with sprinkles if you like. Will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
PS: How cute are those mini cake stands that my best friend gave me for Christmas?! I love them so much 😍