Thursday, 30 August 2012

Not Quite Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

From what I hear, there's Red Velvet cupcakes, and red chocolate cupcakes and the two are completely different things. I've never tried the former, but I've certainly made plenty of the later. Apparently, you can tell the difference between the two by the velvety texture of the proper Red Velvet cupcakes. Ever since I heard this, and since one of the guys at work's American wife wouldn't tell me the secret ingredient I've been determined to make proper Red Velvet Cupcakes.
When I came across a Magnolia Bakery recipe for Red Velvet cupcakes I was sure this had to be it. I mean, if Magnolia Bakery couldn't get it right, who could! Unfortunately, I was wrong...they didn't end up right, but they are still a delicious version of red chocolate cupcakes, so I thought I'd share it. I used 7 minute icing with it (which apparently is another big no-no for red velvet cupcakes, but at the same time so delicious) and topped it with chocolate...but let me tell you about it properly.

By the way, if anyone can point me in the right direction of this secret ingredient, I promise to share the first batch!!!

Ingredients:
Cupcakes:
3 1/3 C plain flour
180g unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 C caster sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tbsp red food colouring
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (the good stuff)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda


7 Minute Frosting:
2 1/2 C caster sugar
6 egg whites, at room temperature (tip: separate them when they are cold...it's easier)
1/2 C water
 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping:
230g semisweet chocolate (you can use milk or dark if you want, whichever you prefer)
6 tbsp canola oil

Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees and line your lovely cupcake tins with patty cases. Sift the 3 1/3 C plain flour and put it aside. Put the 180g unsalted butter and 2 1/4 C caster sugar in a small bowl or an electric mixer (I went the lazy/easy route and used the electric mixer) and mix them together until they are lovely and light and fluffy. It should take about 6 - 7 mins.
Add in the three eggs, one at a time making sure each egg is mixed into the mixture before you add the next one.
In a small bowl, put the 6 tbsp of red food colouring and the 3 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa.
Mix it together, and add in the 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
Add the chocolate mixture into the sugar and egg mixture. It will go a lovely rich red colour.
In a cup, add the 1 1/2 tsp salt to the 1 1/2 C buttermilk.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the batter, one third at a time, alternating with the flour a third at a time. Each time you add a bit, make sure you mix it in well, but don't overmix it.

In a little bowl or cup, mix the 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar and the 1 1/2 tsp baking soda together.
Finally, add the vinegar mixture to the lovely red batter and make sure every things mixed in well and smooth.
Put the batter into the patty tins, and cook for 15 - 20 mins, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Once they are cooked, turn them out of the tin and let them cool completely. You want them nice and cool so they don't melt the frosting.
While the cakes are cooking, you can make your frosting. Now, let me start by saying traditionally red velvet cupcakes have a cream cheese frosting, but given these aren't traditional red velvet cupcakes, I'm sure you'll forgive me doing something different.

Put a pot of water onto the stove, and put it onto a medium heat. In the bowl of an electric mixer (don't use the hand held one...trust me!) combine the 2 1/2 C caster sugar, 6 egg whites, 1/2 C water and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar. Whisk them until they are foamy.
If the mixer bowl isn't heat proof, transfer everything into a heat proof bowl and place it over the pot of water you put onto the stove. By now, the water should be simmering. Make sure it's not boiling, as that will create too much heat, which will cook the egg whites. Whisk the sugar mixture until all the sugar is dissolved. The recipe says 3 - 5 minutes, but I think it took me longer.
Put the mixture back into the electric mixer bowl and beat on high speed until it forms stiff peaks. This will take around 15mins, hence my suggestion to not use a hand held mixer. Finally, add the 1 tbsp vanilla extract. You should be left with a lovely, white, fluffy but glossy mixture.
Hopefully by now your cupcakes should be nice and cool, or at least cool enough to put frosting on top.

Put the frosting into a piping bag with a round nib on top. If you don't have a piping bag, don't stress. Just grab a zip lock bag and cut off a corner making the hole as large as you want.
Pipe the frosting onto the cupcake in a spiral, but leave a bit of a gap at the edges. You should end up with a tall, white cone, like Mr Whippy van soft serve ice creams.
Stick the cupcakes into the fridge while you get the chocolate ready.
For the chocolate, put the 230g of semisweet chocolate in a saucepan with the 6 tbsp canola oil. Put the saucepan on top of the pot of simmering water you used for the frosting. Again, don't make it too hot. Stir it until it's melted, smooth, and glossy.
Put the bowl in the fridge for about 15mins. This will help it cool off enough for you to be able to use, and so it doesn't melt the frosting.

Now you have to put the chocolate onto the cupcake, and the trickiest thing about this is finding the right shaped container to put the chocolate in. You need something that will be deep enough do you can dip the cupcakes in without ruining all the hard work you did making nice tall frosting. I ended up using a mug.
Hold the cupcake by the base, turn it upside down and dip it into the chocolate so that it coats the frosting. Let the excess drip off a little bit (but just a little...you don't want to loose too much of the chocolatey goodness. If there are any bits missing chocolate, just spoon on a little extra. Or just spoon some on cos you want a little extra.
Let the cupcakes stand for about 15mins, then put them in the fridge for half an hour. This will let the chocolate set. Cover the cupcakes and refrigerate for another two and then enjoy.

Usually when I'm storing cupcakes, I leave them out of the fridge, but these ones need to stay in the fridge so the chocolate and frosting doesn't melt. They'll keep for a few days, or as long as they last which is generally less time.

Now it might not be a traditional red velvet cupcake, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that they are yummy, and people enjoyed them. And I have a feeling they did

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