Mum bought the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook for us last week. It’s got some great looking recipes in it. I decided to give Red Velvet Cupcakes a go as I’d been seeing them everywhere and the idea appealed immensely. I have to say that I liked the end result but I have a lot of reservations about the book. True, I did produce a brilliant tasting cake and frosting (the frosting is so a keeper) but it was so bloody finniky! The recipe wasn’t brilliantly written to actually cook from. I ended up with things behaving oddly and more lumps that you could shake a stick at. As a result I think I over beat the mixture and so when the cakes were cooling they shrank.
Also all of the recipes are written to be made with a stand mixer… not everyone has one of those! I do but it’s a pain in the arse to use, I prefer to do things by hand. I had to resort to using the electric hand whisk to beat the mixture in an attempt to break up the lumps as I was starting to get blisters from a wooden spoon/whisk approach. I honestly can’t see that using a stand mixer would make that much of a difference to the behavious of the mix anyway, if it’s going to clump, it’s going to clump!
So I’m not generally impressed by the recipe or, consequently, the book. It did produce a good cake but lacks the predictability and uniformity one aims for in baking. I doubled the recipe as I needed to provide for 2 offices and that should have given me 2 dozen. I got a scant 18 and due to the shrinkage issue some of those were a ridiculous size. So all in all I’m not that impressed but I loved Red Velvet Cupcakes as an idea. Using this recipe as a jumping off point I think I’m going to be having a lot of fun in the future trying to get the perfect one!
Makes 12 (according to the book)
60g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
120ml milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added (or 120ml buttermilk)
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
– In a large bowl mix the butter and sugar together until well combined and the consistency of wet sand.
– Gradually add the egg, mixing well between additions.
– In a separate small bowl mix together the cocoa, food colouring and vanilla extract to form a thick paste.
– Add the paste to the other mixture. (This is where it started to go wrong for me.) Mix until evenly combined (Good Luck!)
– Gradually add half of the buttermilk while mixing. Beat untill well mixed.
– Add half the flour and beat until combined.
– Add the rest of the buttermilk and beat until combined.
– Add the rest of the flour and beat until combined.
– Beat until everything is well combined and the mixture is smooth. (Again, good luck, clumped again for me!)
– Add the salt, bicarbonateof soda and vinegar and quickly (it will fizz!) mix it in for a few minutes until smooth.
– Spoon into the cases so they are about 2/3 full.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes (the sponge will bounce back when touched and a skewer will come out clean).
– Leave to cool slightly in the tin then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
– When cold cover with Cream Cheese Frosting.