Red Velvet Cupcakes

A few years ago, while visiting a friend in London, I was taken to the Hummingbird Bakery for cupcakes. As this time, the cupcake phenomenon was very new in Australia and as you could imagine, I was incredibly excited about the idea of a shop that specialised in cupcakes! Now of course they are everywhere and have somewhat lost their appeal… especially since I am often disappointed in the cakes themselves. Anyway, back to my London experience – so I was taken to this fabulous little bakery in South Kensington and advised by my friend to try the Red Velvet cupcake. I had never had Red Velvet cake before, and in fact had only ever heard one reference to it – as the bachelor cake in the movie ‘Steel Magnolias’ (a great movie if you’ve never seen it) . For many the bright red colour of the cake can be of-putting, for me, on the other hand, it was particularly appealing! So, in 2007 I ate my first red velvet – a light, bright red, chocolate sponge topped with fluffy cream cheese icing – what is not to enjoy in that? Upon returning home I, of course, jumped onto the internet to find a recipe – and have, with some adaptations, ended up with this:

Red Velvet Cupcakes
40 min 20 min prep
12 Cupcakes (well, depends on size of patty cases…)

2½ cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
115g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp cocoa powder
one bottle of pillar box red food colouring
water (use the food colouring bottle to measure the same amount as the colouring)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

Cream cheese frosting
1 (225g) package cream cheese, softened
115g cup unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Line tray with paper liners.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and blend well.
  4. Make a paste of cocoa and food colouring and add to the butter mixture.
  5. Add flour and salt into this mixture.
  6. One at a time, add the following ingredients: buttermilk, vanilla, and water.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and the baking soda. Fold it into the cake batter. Make sure it’s incorporated, but don’t beat it.
  8. Pour the batter into the cupcake cups (only fill each cupcake 2/3 full). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and onto a rack to finish cooling completely.
  10. Cream Cheese Frosting: Blend together the ingredients until smooth.
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