Red Velvet Cupcakes
This cheery red American classic is traditionally baked for Christmas and Valentine’s Day – but really it suits any occasion. I love making red velvet cupcakes all year round. Red velvet is a bit of a ‘marmite’ cake – those who love it REALLY love it and this recipe is to die for and a favourite in our household.
For the cake
For the buttercream
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment.
On medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar for 2–3 minutes, until pale, light, and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
In a small bowl or jug, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and red food colouring. Add about 2 tablespoons of hot water to form a paste. Add this to the cake mixture and mix well until combined.
Add one-third of the buttermilk mixture to the bowl with the cake mixture, then add one-third of the flour. Alternate buttermilk and flour (with salt in)until everything is fully combined, taking care not to overmix.
In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda and add this to the cake mixture.
Beat until smooth.
Divide the mixture equally between cupcake cases, filling them about ¾ up as they do shrink after they have risen.
Bake the cakes for 20–25 minutes, until cooked springy to touch. A skewer inserted into the centres should come out clean.
DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES!
Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the buttercream, place the butter and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute, until the mixture is very creamy and smooth.
Gradually add the icing sugar, about one quarter at a time, beating each addition slowly at first, to just incorporate, then on high speed for about 1 minute.
With the mixer on a slow speed, add the cream cheese until combined and smooth.
Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cakes. If you like a little red sprinkle, you will have to sacrifice one cake to crumble over the rest, worth it because they look really pretty with the added crumb hinting at the sponge cake below the creamy topping.