O Valentine’s Day. The day when couples get disgustingly mushy and singles band together to rejoice in their independence (not that being in a relationship makes you dependent!). Personally, I like the idea of Valentine’s, but not the idea of a Valentine’s Day. Why do we need a specific day to tell our loved ones how awesome we think they are? Why not tell them everyday?
However, Valentine’s Day is often associated with chocolates and other sweets. I couldn’t resist baking something for Valentine’s Day, even though I wouldn’t call myself a diehard romantic. I’ve been wanting to try making Red Velvet Cupcakes for ages and, well, them being red and all, Valentine’s Day seemed like an appropriate occasion. :) I made them with cream cheese icing, which is delicious and complements the mild cocoa flavour of the cupcakes.
I used Martha Stewart’s recipe, as the recipes on her website are usually quite reliable. I didn’t have Dutch process cocoa, but I substituted natural cocoa with no adverse effects. The recipe only uses 2tbsp and the internet tells me that for small amounts it’s okay to substitute natural cocoa for Dutch Process.
I did have one major mishap with these cupcakes. See, my oven only has one shelf. So me being a clever biscuit, I thought I’d put a cooling rack on the oven floor to serve as my “shelf”. Wrong. What happened is that the ones on the bottom cooked to quickly and the batter started to overflow. Ack! I eventually took them out half way through baking and had to wait until the top shelf was finished. So moral of the story is bake in an oven with two shelves, or bake each muffin try separately. In the end, although there were some cosmetic problems, taste doesn’t seem to be all that affected. :)
So, Happy Valentine’s Day! Go tell someone you love them! And then tell the again tomorrow, and the day after, and then everyday until next Valentine’s Day. :)
Red Velvet Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart
Makes 24 cupcakes
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted*****
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees/Gas Mark 4. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each.
- Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
- Ice with cream cheese icing and decorate with heart gummies or sprinkles if desired.
***** To make cake flour, add 2 tbsp of corn flour/starch to each cup and then make up to one cup with flour (ie 1 cup flour minus 2 tbsp flour and plus 2 tbsp corn flour)
Cream Cheese Icing
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g full fat cream cheese
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 800g icing sugar, sifted
- Cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy and well combined.
- Gradually add in the icing sugar until all incorporated. Beat on high until fluffy. If you want the icing a bit thinner, add milk in 1 tsp increments, beating well after each addition.
- Ice cake/cupcakes as desired. Makes enough to generously fill and cover a 2 layer 9″ round cake or ice 24 cupcakes.