red velvet cupcakes

:: To welcome in the first weekend of spring, I helped host a garden tea party for my friend’s bridal shower.
We were so lucky with the weather as it was pouring with rain the day before but come Saturday morning the sun came out to reveal a gorgeous, fresh spring day.
The tea party was held at a fellow bridesmaid’s house and turned out beautifully – two long white tables overflowing with vintage floral china, tea pots of every shape and colour, bright bunches of fresh flowers in old glass bottles and last (but certainly not least) plate upon plate of delicate sweets, finger sandwiches, mini quiches, pastel candies and chocolate swirled strawberries.
Part of my contribution to the menu was the bride’s favourite red velvet cupcakes.
Red velvet cake is basically a vanilla mix with the addition of cocoa and red food colouring to produce a rich red cake with a moist, velvety texture.
All the red velvet cupcakes I’ve ever eaten have been iced with decadent cream cheese frosting, which seems to compliment the dreamy, cocoa-flavoured cake perfectly.
This recipe is adapted from the vanilla daisy cupcake recipe in Jennifer Graham’s Crabapple Bakery Cupcake book.
Jennifer is the founder of the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery and this book shares the amazing and creative cupcakes produced there.
2 3/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
200g softened unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup castor sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp red food colouring
1 cup milk
cream cheese frosting
125g softened unsalted butter
400g softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla essence
6 cups icing sugar
Preheat your oven to 170°C and line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.
Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter for two minutes. Add the castor sugar one third at a time, beating for two minutes after each addition.
After the last addition, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the red food colouring and beat until the mix is a smooth, even colour.
Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined.
Add half the milk and beat until combined. Repeat this process.
Add the remaining third of the flour and beat until you have a smooth, thick batter (don’t over-beat as this will toughen the mixture).
Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three-quarters full.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly. Remove cupcakes from the trays straight away and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes until frosting.
For the frosting, cream the butter for two minutes. Add the cream cheese, vanilla and half of the sifted icing sugar and beat for three minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Gradually add the remaining icing sugar and beat until the mixture is thoroughly combined and is a spreadable consistency.
Frost your cupcakes using a decorative piping bag and top with red sugar crystals.

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