So this post is a little belated, I suppose. These babies were made on Valentine’s Day for the Aussie girls who are living in Seattle with me. Well, not with me, with me. But they’re all within a 30 minute drive. Which is awesome.
One of my friends Chath decided she would have a little lunch to properly introduce her new baby, Callum, to his “Seattle Aunties.” He’s such a little spunk!
Okay, so you can’t see his cute little face but trust me; he’s a looker. And he pulls the funniest faces when we’re talking. Well, at least his eyes are very expressive. Normally looking at us as if we’re idiots and he was concerned for our mental well-being. But maybe that was just gas…
To the cupcakes! I was a tad skeptical about making red velvet cupcakes, for all they just scream Valentine’s Day. I’d tried one from one of the better-known bakeries in NYC on my 24th birthday and I had been pretty under-whelmed. Dry and not particularly flavourful of anything, which was disappointing because I’d heard so much about them. But I decided to give them a go.
Here’s the recipe I followed, from BigOven’s website http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/207947/red-velvet-cupcakes and altered to be GF and to have a LOT less red food dye… because we all know how great red 40 is for you 😉
Red Velvet Cupcakes:
- 3 1/2 cups GF plain flour
- 1 tsp. xanthan gum
- 3/4 cups/1 stick softened unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups castor sugar
- 3 eggs at room temperature*
- 2 tbsp. red food colour (3 if you really feel like it)
- 6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. bicarb soda
* It’s always good to work with room temperature eggs.
Preheat your oven to 350 F/180 C. Either grease your cupcake pans or place patty pans in them for 24 cupcakes.
Sift the flour, xantham gum and cocoa powder into a bowl, then set aside for later.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, until they’re smooth and fluffy – this should take a few minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Then add the red food dye and vanilla.
Stir the salt into the buttermilk then add it into the batter, alternating in thirds with the flour. Ensure that the batter is well combined but do not over-beat it. Separately, mix the white wine vinegar and bicarb soda in a small bowl and then add it to the batter and incorporate well. The batter should be smooth.
Pour the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, swapping pans on the top and bottom shelves half way through. When a tester comes out clean, they are done. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes before you finish cooling them on a rack.
Cream Cheese Icing:
- 16 oz/450 g cream cheese
- 2 tbsp. softened unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 9 oz/250 g icing sugar (more or less to your personal taste)
This makes enough icing to put generous servings on top of the cupcakes if you’d like; I normally end up with half of the mixture left over… you don’t hear me complaining!
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until combined and smooth.
Gradually add the icing sugar and beat it into the icing until you have reached the sweetness level that is right for you. You can add more or less than the amount I gave, that is just a guideline and I usually go by taste and not by weight at all.
You can either mound the icing onto the cupcakes and spread with a spatula or using a piping kit to ice them.
As you can see, I’m pretty terrible with the piping kit and I still need lots of practice. If anybody out there has tips or tricks they’d like to share I’d be very grateful. That’s why I normally go for the “rustic” look and just dust them with icing sugar (as above). My secret is out! Although I suppose the benefit is way less calories.
Sprinkle with red crystals, cut out red fondant love hearts, do whatever you’d like. It will all look pretty.
I can’t vouch for red velvet cupcakes in general but I have to say that this particular version blew my previous bad experience away. They were moist, chocolate-y and had just the right amount of fluff to the cake’s texture. Add on the cream cheese icing (my second favourite icing, behind the all time best icing ever, passion fruit cream cheese icing) and you have a pretty bloody awesome combination.
Just try not to eat them all in three days.