So I have been intrigued about red velvet cake for a little while now. In my online trawling I kept coming across artful photographs of this bright red layer cake with white frosting. Some mid afternoon browsing of Sugadeux’s website turned my mild interest into a fully fledged craving. As always, the issue for me is the wheat-free factor, so rather than indulging in one of Sugadeaux’s beautiful creations, I had to have a crack at making them myself.
Red velvet cake is a light chocolate cake traditionally served with a creamy white frosting. Apparently the signature red colour of the cake is because in the past, the unprocessed cocoa used in the cake turned a red colour when combined with the milk. Today, it’s all food colouring:
So where to start? Google naturally and my search for “best red velvet cupcake recipe” yielded positive results from a site aptly named best cupcake recipes. I used the red velvet recipe as a basis and tweaked it slightly. I separately found a recipe for cream cheese frosting that is suitable for piping and altered that recipe to suit my tastes (I find American recipes can be too sweet for me).
The result? It was a light and airy cake with a subtle chocolate flavour. The cream cheese icing is the absolute hero here – creamy and delicious. Get to making these pronto!!
Red velvet cupcake recipe
(adapted from best cupcake recipes)
Makes approximately 20 regular sized cupcakes (I made 12 regular and about 16 mini cupcakes)
275g sifted plain flour (or 330g of spelt flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
red food coloring (how much you need will depend on how strong your colouring is, we used about 40ml of Queen food colouring. The Wilton gel food colouring I used in making the fire engine cake was much stronger)
115g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240ml buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking soda / bicarb soda
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C degrees.
- Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder with a fork to form a smoothe paste. If you are using a concentrated food colouring you will need to add a little bit of water to help the cocoa form a paste. If you are unsure about how much colouring is appropriate, hold back and you can always add some more in later.
- In an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla essence and the red cocoa paste.
- Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of the flour mixture, then the remainder of the buttermilk. Add the end of the flour mixture and beat until well combined.
- In a small, deep bowl, mix vinegar or lemon with the baking soda/bicarb soda. The mixture will froth. Add the mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners and fill until they are about 3/4 full.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes for the large cupcakes (and about 12 for the mini cupcakes), rotating the pans halfway through.
- Cool the cupcakes in their tins then transfer to a wire rack and to cool completely before frosting.
Cream cheese frosting
205g cream cheese, cold
140g butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
180g icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- Using an electic mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter until creamy and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and icing sugar and mix until combined.
- The frosting should be thick enough to pipe, if it is too thin, add additional cream cheese (softened) or place in the fridge until it firms up.