Because Cupcakes are a GREAT place to start.
These little beauties might have been knocked off the top spot by The Cronut last year, but in my book, they have cemented themselves into the good home bakers Hall of Fame. Plus, who wants a dessert that takes 3 days to make?
This girl waits for no-cro.
Not that I’m adverse to buying them – see this little gem from Harrods Food Hall. YUM.
Anyhoo cupcakes are back to stay. Mainly because they are so darn easy to make and they can be customised to just about any flavour that takes your fancy. You can make cupcakes on a rainy Tuesday afternoon with the kids (licking the bowl is a must…obviously) or you can dress these beauties up, whack on a bow tie and make these the centre piece of your Wedding. It’s up to you!
My ultimate fave has to be the illusive Red Velvet. And let me tell you, this bad boy was my NEMESIS for the longest time. I tried everything; the normal liquid food colouring (by the bucket which made everything taste gross), adding apple cider vinegar, mixing the colour with the cocoa, beetroot, crossing my fingers and toes whilst mixing backwards…the lot.
Nothing would give me that vivid red colour I so desperately craved.
And then it happened.
In September of 2014 I stumbled across this little beauty. In a Farm Shop of all places! You can buy it here for a teeny sum of £1.45.
And it changed EVERYTHING. One tiny smidge of this magical potion transformed my batter into the most vivid, delightful and wondrous bright red nectar. And it tastes…amazeballs. Add my delish cream cheese frosting and you my friend are cooking on gas.
Bakery Bird’s Really Red Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 250 grams plain flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 100 grams soft unsalted butter
- 200 grams caster sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon red food paste (use your judgement based on the colouring you are using)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 175 ml buttermilk (you can use sour cream)
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 225g cream cheese, room temperature (has to be full fat)
- 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 225g icing sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325°F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and bicarb in a bowl. Set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in milk, food colour and vanilla.
- Into this vividly coloured mixture, still beating, add 1 spoonful of the dried ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by some more dried ingredients, then the other egg, followed by the rest of the dried ingredients.
- Beat in the buttermilk and the vinegar and divide this into about 24 cupcake cases.
- Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
For the Cream Cheese frosting:
- Beat the cream cheese in a mixer until smooth
- Gradually add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue beating until smooth and well blended.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract
It took me a looonnng time to get there but this recipe works like a charm every time.
I’d love to know if any of you conquered your own struggle with the wicked Red Velvet so get in touch by leaving your comments below.