Sunday, 13 June 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

©Anna Blanch

Don't you love those recipes that don't ever fail you?
One of my favourites is that for the Red Velvet Cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. I got this recipe from their cookbook 'More From Magnolia' which is my favourite one...not so keen on the other ones....but oh, the amazingness....if I didn't have to sit on my hands to stop the hyperness from taking over I wouldn't mind eating 3 in one go...
If you stick to the recipe (yes, I can't believe I'm saying this...but for this recipe it's true....the batch I made for this year's Eurovision party was an embarrassment....too chocolatey, too you want me to continue?) it will not fail you. So dig out your measuring cups and spoons and go crazy :)
That aside, I can't think of any cake or cupcake (though I prefer the cupcake version...) that combines all the good things in colouring, sugar...lots of sugar....and the most amazing icing I have ever come across.
Anyhow, here we go:

Red Velvet Cupcakes
makes 2 dozen and a few spare ones you can feed whoever is helping you with the icing
-31/3 cups plain flour
-3/4 cup unsalted butter (if you're metric that is about 85 g), softened
-21/4 cups sugar
-4 medium eggs at room temperature
-Red food colouring - if you're using liquid use 6 tbsp, if you're using paste like me I don't have a clue....I think I tend to end up with about a tsp but I can't get a measuring soon into the tub so go for what I tend to do....use lots :) you want a deep and rich colour
-3 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened) - this is where proper measuring spoons come in handy....
-11/2 tsp vanilla extract
-11/2 tsp salt
-11/2 cups buttermilk (if you can't find any in the shops use milk and about 1 tbsp of cider vinegar)
-11/2 tsp cider vinegar
-11/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees.
Line the cupcake tins.
Sift the flour in a small bowl and set it aside.
Cream the butter, add the sugar and keep going for about 5 minutes (and yes, we're using an electric mixer here....unless you've got the most amazing arm muscles ever!!). Once you get a fluffy consistency you start adding the eggs one at a time (beat well after each of them).
Now you mix the food colouring, the cocoa and the vanilla in a small bowl. If you're using food colouring paste you might want to add 5tbsp of water for the consistency. Now you get to feel like a kid because we're adding the colour to the batter :)
Stir the the salt into the buttermilk and add it to the batter alternating with the flour. Splitting the flour into 4 parts tends to work the best for me. At this stage you don't want to overbeat the batter so make sure the ingredients are mixed in but don't worry if it's not completely mixed through.
Now you mix the vinegar and the baking soda and add the bubbling mixture to the batter. Once it's properly mixed in, scrape down the batter in the bowl (make sure the batter is smooth) and fill the tins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes but check with a cake tester before you take them out.
Let the cupcakes cool in the tins for 10 minutes and then put them onto a wire rack so they can cool completely.

The Best Vanilla Frosting
makes enough for your cupcakes and to keep your helping hands happy
-6 tbsp plain flour
-2 cups milk
-2 cups unsalted butter (450 g), softened
-2 cups sugar
-2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk the flour and the milk in a saucepan until you have a smooth mixture (i.e. lumps are bad!!!) and put it over medium heat, stirring constantly (no watching 5 minutes of something online or fixing some code or whatever.....) until it becomes really thick and starts bubbling like custard tends to (this should take about 10-15 minutes if you listened to me and put it over medium heat....).
Take the saucepan off the heat and cover the mixture with waxed paper - make sure the paper sticks to the surface (otherwise you get that weird skin custard gets and while it is amazing in custard it will turn your icing into a lumpy mess) and let it cool to room temperature.
If you're struggling time-wise I would do this step either before you start with the cupcakes in the first place or once you've put them into the oven.
Now, once the milk mixture has cooled down you beat the butter in a large bowl for 3 minutes (we're still using an electric case you were wondering....) at the medium high speed. It will get smooth and creamy. Slowly add the sugar and keep beating continuously for 3 minutes until it's all fluffy. Add the vanilla.
Add the milk mixture and keep beating for another 5 minutes (don't be tempted to switch to the high speed because you'll get too much air into the icing and it goes all weird...) until it goes whiter - you'll notice it, suddenly it seems to go from it's buttery colour to a lighter shade of off-white...just wait for it....
Cover the mix and put it into the fridge for 15 minutes (any shorter and it's going to be too soft to spread it with a spatula, any longer and it gets too no running off!)
Now you're ready to ice your cupcakes!

©Anna Blanch

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