My biggest achievement over the Christmas break would have to be mastering the art of the perfect cupcake. They've always escaped me, they've been as solid as bricks, heavy as lard or kind of wet to touch and attach to the roof of your mouth - not in a good fairy floss kind of way.
Emma at work is the Cupcake Queen and has always impressed with her perfect batches. Me? I prefer to head over to BTS to buy a dozen that I know will knock everyone's socks off.
So, when Mum presented me with the cookbook of my FAVOURITE bakery in London, I was hesitant to try any recipes for fear of ruining the dream. That final red velvet cupcake on Portabello Road will live with me forever - bliss!
A friend of mine took the plunge and brought a batch to our Ladies Grand Final Lunch at Michelle's place last year, so with time up my sleeve and looking for that killer 'x' factor dish for my BBT party, I decided to give it a whirl.
And alas, they were perfect! The texture, the colour, the taste - even the icing (thanks to my Mum's tupperware piper thing). I made my smaller than what is recommended, but everyone agreed they were the perfect bit - and meant you didn't feel guilty going back for a second!
Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes
Mix all the ingredients well so that the sponge has an even colour and texture. To make a red velvet cake instead, double to quantities below, divide between three 20-cm cake tins and bake for 25 minutes at the same oven temperature. Frost with two quantities of Cream Cheese Frosting.
60g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g castor sugar
10g cocoa powder
20mL red food colouring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
- Preheat the oven to 170C.
- Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed.
- Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red rood colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste.
- Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).
- Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk.
- 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.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarb soda and vinegar.
- Beat until well mixed, then turn speed up again and beat for a couple more minutes.
- Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.
- Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top.
- Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
- Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed.
- Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least five minutes.
- Do not overbeat as it can quickly become runny.
Makes 12 cupcakes
*Recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf. Check out other delights and treats here.