Friday, 30 April 2010

Red velvet cupcakes with cinnamon frosting

It was my birthday on Wednesday. Let us not dwell on the number and rather focus on the cupcakes I baked to celebrate the day. As I think I have previously mentioned I have been planning to make some red velvet cupcakes for some time now, but not found the right occasion until now. I have seen some recipes out there, but decided to use the one from "the hummingbird bakery cookbook" with a few tweaks here and there. The hummingbird bakery suggests a cream cheese frosting for the cupcakes, which I would normally go for, but I wanted to be a bit adventurous and try something new. I know Magnolia Bakery in New York partners their red velvet cupcakes with a vanilla icing, which is made out of a boiled flour and milk pudding which is let to cool a bit before adding sugar and butter. I tried this icing when I was trying out recipes for my daughter's baptism cupcakes. As it would coincide with the start of the Greek Easter week I had to avoid cow's milk and butter. I therefore used vegetable margarine and soy milk. The results was a very bland icing which did nothing for me. I decided very quickly that I did not like that type of icing. However, a fellow baker (who bakes faboulous cakes) told me that I had to use real butter and good quality vanilla.

So I decided to try out the cinammon frosting from the cookbook "Baked-New Frontiers in Baking" by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. As a red velvet cupcakes really is a chocolate cupcake I loved their idea of adding the cinnamon, I thought it would enhance the chocolate taste.

I didn't have enough liquid red colouring, so added what I got, but it didn't give much a red colour. Just as well as I a bit sceptical of putting that much red food colouring in my food. I love to add a few drops to my icing, but 40-60ml is quite a lot! I think next time I'll try to add beet juice instead, although I expect it'll change the taste somewhat.

I was really happy with the results of my cupcakes. The cupcakes themselves were not too sweet, but did remind me quite a lot of my normal chocolate cupcakes as I also use buttermilk in them. I think the white vinegar made the difference. The frosting was soft, fluffy, silky texture to it, and really, really yummy good. Despite all the butter it didn't taste butter as I found the traditional buttercreams do. The cinnamon was literally the icing on the cake!

I topped them off with some chocolate filegrees which I thought were pretty cute. I had a template in a new cupake book I recently purchased and I'll def try to make more of those.

My brother-in-law who has tasted almost all of my different cupcakes told me these were his favourite. I think I trust him on that, as he previously prefered the chocolate nutella cupcakes I have made a few times. I took the last 6 to today's baby group for the mummies and toddlers to taste and I hope they liked them. Personally I thought the cakes had already gone a bit dry and I made a rookie mistake by living them partially uncovered in the fridge. I hope the mummies will forgive me, they were really much better when I had just made them!

So for the recipe, with the adaptions I got 16 cupcakes.

Red Velvet Cupcakes adapted from "the hummingbird bakery cookbook"

60 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150 g caster sugar
2 eggs
20 g cocoa powder
40 ml red food colouring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 ml buttermilk
150 g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Preheat the oven to 170 degreesC (325F) Gas3

Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the nixer up to high speed, slowly add one egg and beat until well incorporated. Repeat with the second egg.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thouroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any umixed ingredients from the side of the bowl wiht a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pur in half the buttermil. 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.

Mix bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar in a small bowl or a mug, and stir until the soda dissolves. The mixture will fizz. Add to the batter and beat until well mixed.

Spoon the mixture inteo the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mintues or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. When they are cold, pipe or spoon the frosting on.

Cinnamon frosting from "Baked. New Frontiers in Baking"

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy milk
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks)unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally (I whisked quite often to avoid the milk to burn), until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and the cinnamon and continue mixing until combined.

No you can spoon the frosting onto your cold cupcakes "hummingbird bakery" style or Carine style with some nice piped swirls. I think my cupcakes look quite pretty!


  1. They were yummy! Thanks for sharing them at baby group! xx

  2. Thank you, Carolyn! They were better totally fresh obviously, but am very happy you enjoyed them!

  3. Great Job! I am so happy that you live in Thessaloniki! I wanted to discuss about a 'job' offer with you. Is there an e-mail address that i can contact you?
    Thank you in advance

  4. De ser kjempebra ut!
    Jeg trenger en oppskrift på noe hvitt å toppe en sjokoladekake med, og fant denne. Bloggen din var første stedet jeg sjekket. Gleder meg til å prøve denne oppskriften :)

    Hilsen Marthemor

  5. Tusen takk, Marthe! Jeg regner med tilbakemelding på om de falt i smak! ;)