Sunday, 16 June 2013

Red...or should I say Pink Velvet Cupcakes.

Ahhh, the infamous red velvet cake. With the deliciously rich, dense cake topped with the creamy, delectable cream cheese frosting, who can deny that this combination is a match made in heaven!
Whilst many believe the reddish tinge comes from the reaction between the cocoa powder and the baking soda, this is not the case. Instead, the colour comes from a much more obvious source- the red food colouring.

I decided that I wanted to tackle this recipe once again, as the last time I did, there were foreign crunchy bits inside my mixture. Not very pleasant at all!

Because of my love for all things pink, I chose to use pink colouring instead of red, curious to see the result. If I am being completely honest with you, the result was no different to my red velvet cake. But I just love the thought of making pink cake! Silly, I know!


I researched a wide variety of recipes on the internet and in my cook books, and settled on a basic one found on

Red (pink) Velvet Cupcakes (Taken from


© 300g (2 cups) plain flour
© 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
© 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
© 315g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
© 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
© 200g unsalted butter, melted
© 2 eggs, lightly whisked
© 1 tbs white vinegar
© 1 tsp vanilla extract
© 1-2 tsp red food colouring (I chose pink instead)

1. Preheat oven to 170°C.

2. When I make cupcakes, I love to use the free-standing cupcake patty pans (See them below). They only require about a table spoon of mixture in each, making your cupcakes go a lot further! Also, you can bake as many as you want at a time, rather than being restricted by using a patty tin.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb soda into a bowl. Stir through the sugar

Now if anyone knows me, they would know that I am a lazy baker. I don't sift and I don't measure accurately. Whilst this normally works just fine for me, I have found with red (pink) velvet cakes, the dry ingredients do need sifting, otherwise the mixture becomes lumpy. Trust me, I learnt the hard way!

4. After this, add the buttermilk, butter, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into a bowl, and mix (I used my Kitchen Aid).

Now buttermilk isn't the easiest ingredient to find, as supermarkets are lazy and don't stock it often! If you don't have any, or can't be bothered making the trip to the shop, just add a tablespoon of lemon juice into a cup of milk (as low fat as possible). This just helps make the cake extra moist and yummy!

5. Add the dry ingredients into your milk mixture, and mix until combined. Add in your food colouring. Don't be scared to be generous! The more colour the merrier I say!

6. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. If you're not sure if they're ready to take out, put a bamboo skewer through the centre of a cupcake, and if it comes out cleanly, they're finished!

7. Cool on a wire rack.

Now, we get to the icing *sigh*. Normally, this is easy for me! I whip it up, slop it into my piping bag, and swirl it on. But today, that was not the case. Because of the lack of stock at the supermarket, the only cream cheese they had was one for cooking. That sounds fine right? Yeh, I thought so too. When adding it into my mixer, I just knew it'd be too runny. And yep, it was! My icing didn't set, and I was devastated! No matter how much icing sugar I added in, it remained as sloppy as ever. In the end, I took out a small portion of mixture, and added in extra icing sugar. This worked (to a degree), but wasn't as stiff as I had hoped. But this is all part of baking, and thinking on your feet is an important skill to have!

Cream cheese frosting

© 2 x 250g pkts cream cheese, at room temperature
© 300g (2 cups) pure icing sugar
© 120g butter, extra, at room temperature
© 1 tsp vanilla essence, extra

Mix your ingredients together, ensuring the mixture is smooth and lump free.

TPB TIP: Ensure that your butter is softened - not melted, but not hard either. This guarantees that your icing will not have yucky lumps of butter in it, but will also be firm enough to set.

Until next time, happy baking.