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Saturday, 29 January 2011
Hummingbird Red Velvet Cupcakes
It is disappointing when you spend the whole week looking forward to the weekend, to find these two blessed days off wet and grey. And with no signs of the London weather easing up you must find fun indoor activities to occupy yourself. So last weekend I set to work, and went on an epic trip to Sainsburys in search of all the ingredients for The Hummingbird ‘Red Velvet’ cupcakes. I have had the Hummingbird cookbook for over a year, but never had the time and motivation to actually attempt one of the recipes.
After traipsing round the supermarket I had everything, plus a few other irresistible items, namely pretty but unnecessary cake decorations. The shop came to about £25 which seemed like an awful lot for cake ingredients, but at least I got a handful of nectar points.
When you visit the mouth-watering Hummingbird shops, the cakes look dreamy and impossible to recreate, so I was expecting a challenge. Surprisingly the recipe was very easy to follow correctly and after 45 minutes of preparing and cooking, my little cakes were cooling, looking absolutely perfect. I whipped up the icing and voila! My cakes were complete and appeared just as yummy as the original versions. And it was all brilliant fun too.
For once I sat scoffing a cupcake feeling like I really deserved it.
Here’s the recipe and ingredients for you to make your very own red velvet cupcakes.
60 g unsalted butter,
at room temperature
150 g caster sugar
10 g cocoa powder
20 ml red food colouring (preferably
Dr. Oetker Red Food Colouring)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
120 ml buttermilk
150 g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and gradually pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
300g icing sugar, sifted 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature 125g cream cheese, cold
Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy- for at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.