Red Velvet Cupcakes

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Red Velvet Cake is a rich, moist cake with a distinctive red colour popular in the Southern United States. Traditionall it got its colour from a chemical reaction between cocoa and vinegar. Due to the modern processing methods now used to make cocoa, this reaction doesn't occur so red velvet is now much more likely to include red food colouring to get its rich colouring.

You don't really find red velvet cake in the UK unless you're at an American bakery. I've been spying it on blogs for years and figured now was a good time to have a go at making it myself. I chose to do it for the cakes I made for my brother's birthday and did some research into recipes. I didn't manage to get a decent picture of the colour of the cakes so you'll just have to believe me until I make them again.
This recipe from Epicurious came highly recommended. I halved the batch and frosted with a simple vanilla buttercream though a cream cheese or cooked roux frosting appears to be more traditional. This is the halved batch with metric measurements and my alterations.

WARNING - Wear an apron when you make these or you WILL get covered in red colouring, no matter how careful you are.

195g plain flour
85g butter, softened
225g sugar
1 large egg
3 tbsp red food coloring
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
175ml milk + 2 tbsp lemon juice (or 175ml buttermilk)
3/4 tsp cider vinegar
3/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven to 180C and line muffin tray with 12 paper liners.
In a small bowl, sift the flour and set aside. Combine the milk and lemon juice in a cup and set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat well.
In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.
In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

There is quite a lot of washing up to do after this recipe but it really is worth it. The cakes are tender and moist and come out a beautiful shade of red. Top these with a bright white frosting to enhance the colour of the cake.


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