It’s nearly Valentines Day which means its time for something sweet, red in colour and involving hearts – Red Velvet Cupcakes!
Yes I know red velvet has now been done to death by lots of people, but before you sigh and roll your eyes, red velvet cake is still relatively new here in the UK, especially in the small village I live in where the cupcake itself is still seen as something quite unique. I have made a take on red velvet cake once on this blog, but they were more of the traditional cocoa cupcake, without the red colouring that although a modern edition, is now more commonly associated with red velvet. I don’t normally condone putting food dye in things unnecessarily, but for a special occasion I make exceptions, plus it makes it look so pretty and perfect for Valentines Day!
I used red food paste rather than the liquid colouring that most cupcakes call for. This way I got away with only using half a teaspoon of dye, rather than a shocking 2 bottles of liquid dye! They came out a lovely red colour too (they look darker in the photos as it was a dull day). I still used the vinegar, buttermilk and cocoa powder method as well, which I think created the perfect cupcake. Not too bright, yet still visibly red, very moist and with just a hint of something cocoa lingering in the background.
Topped with a creamy swirl of contrasting vanilla buttercream they look quite striking. A few red heart sprinkles and a dusting of edible red glitter and these cupcakes are all dressed up and ready to go to your loved one (or eaten all yourself!)
The buttermilk produces a lovely textured cake and one that my fellow cake munchers didn’t even know was gluten free. A few hours after baking some of the cupcakes did ‘escape’ from their paper cases. I’m not sure if this is because they were gluten free or because they were just so moist. Whatever the reason, they were nothing short of delicious!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
150g gluten free plain flour (I use Doves Farm mix)
10g cocoa powder
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g soft butter
120g caster sugar
½ tsp red food paste
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cider vinegar
260g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk
Heart sprinkles and glitter to decorate
Preheat oven to 170C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
Make sure the butter is very soft. Beat together with the caster and vanilla until well combined.
Add the egg, buttermilk, red food paste and cider vinegar and beat again. Scatter over the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and whisk until smooth and fluffy.
Use the large scoop to divide the batter into each cupcake liner, filling quite full.
Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
Make sure the butter is soft and beat until smooth. Add the icing sugar and fold in using a spatula. Add 1tbsp milk to help them combine.
Switch to a whisk and beat the buttercream to make it light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and a little more milk if necessary, until you have a soft spreadable consistency.
Pipe swirls of the buttercream on top of the cooled cupcakes, using a large star nozzle.
Decorate with red heart sprinkles and a dusting of edible red glitter.