With Valentine ’s Day around the corner we can’t help but see red, pink and heart shapes everywhere! This recipe by Nigella Lawson (unashamedly copied, because face it, no one describes things quite as well as Nigella can) is the perfect sweet addition to any day of celebration.
PS This is one day where you can be as kitsch as you’d like and get away with it :)
Nigella’s Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 24 Cupcakes
You will need
250g plain flour
2 x 15ml tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g soft unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1 x heaped 15ml tbsp Christmas-red paste food colouring
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cider vinegar or other vinegar
500g icing sugar (no need to sift if using a processor)
125g cream cheese
125g soft unsalted butter
1 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
Red food colouring to make it pink
How to make it
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line the muffin tins with paper cases. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb in a bowl. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating well, and when you have a soft, pale mixture beat in the food colouring and the vanilla.
Into this vividly coloured mixture, still beating, add 1 spoonful of the dried ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by some more dried ingredients, then the other egg, followed by the rest of the dried ingredients.
Finally, beat in the buttermilk and vinegar and divide this extraordinary batter between the 24 cases.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, by which time the redcurrant-sorbet-coloured batter will have morphed into a more sombre, but still juicily tinted, sponge.
Leave them to cool on a wire rack and do not ice with the frosting until absolutely cold.
To make the buttery cream-cheese frosting:
You can use all butter rather than half-butter and half-cream cheese for this icing. Equally, decorate as pleases you, too.
Put the icing sugar into a processor and whiz to remove lumps. Add the cream cheese and butter and process.
Pour in the cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and process again to make a smooth icing.
Ice each cupcake, using a teaspoon or small spatula.
Decorate with sugar hearts.
* The cupcakes can be baked 2 days ahead and stored, un-iced, layered with baking parchment in airtight containers. Frosting can be made 1 day ahead: cover with clingfilm and refrigerate; remove from fridge 1-2 hours before needed; beat briefly before using.
A fab Valentine’s themed spread I made for a Girl’s night with Gazpacho, Terrine,
Pate, Cheeses, Preserves and Nigella’s cupcakes.