Sorcery in the Kitchen: Red Velvet Cupcakes

I’ve always believed in magic… ‘The Faraway Tree’ kind of magic, and maybe that’s the reason why I love baking so much. There’s something about the alchemy of baking that makes it seem like it’s been touched by a sorcerer’s wand. Like the reaction between vinegar and buttermilk that reveals a gorgeous shade of red in cocoa and gives us these Red Velvet Cupcakes. But we’re all grown ups now, we’ve moved on from our Enid Blyton dreams (sadly) and so we now use_ red food colour_ to achieve this magnificent shade.

Back to reality: I tried following Joy the Baker’s recipe from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook ‘to the t’ (I’m so ‘punny’ today!) but all that butter turned into fudgy nothingness and the cake just fell flat. It turns out that my self-confessed ‘conscious foodie’ tag is tough to shake off. So, out went the butter, only to be replaced with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a few other changes and voila! I had 9 giant cupcakes. See, it always pays to believe in magic!

Makes 9 large cupcakes or 12 regular size cupcakes.

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Sorcery in the Kitchen: Red Velvet Cupcakes
I've always believed in magic... 'The Faraway Tree' kind of magic, and maybe that's the reason why I love baking so much. There's something about the alchemy of baking that makes it seem like it's been touched by a sorcerer's wand. Like the reaction b
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Flour and corn starch need to be combined to make cake flour (see link below).
  3. Whisk the oil and sugar with an electric beater until well combined. Add the eggs and continue whisking, until they are well incorporated.
  4. Separately, mix the cocoa, red food colour, water and vanilla to make a thick paste that looks like this:
  5. Add this paste to the batter and continue whisking. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl so that the batter takes on the colour of the paste.
  6. Now, in two batches, add half the buttermilk, salt and cake flour, pausing to whisk with the electric beater.
  7. The last addition is that of vinegar and baking soda. Give it a final good whisk and your glossy red batter is ready.
  8. I scooped the batter almost to the top of the cupcake liners to get 9 giant cupcakes. You could get 12 cupcakes if you fill the liners 3/4th to the top.
  9. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre cupcake comes out clean.
  10. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before icing them.
Recipe Notes

Here's a simple way to make cake flour.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting with Sprinkles

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature

2 Tablespoons Cream Cheese at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon powdered Cinnamon

1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted

Sprinkles (to your heart's delight)

Beat the butter butter and cream cheese together to combine. Add the sugar and cinnamon and beat to combine.

Ice the cooled cupcakes and top it with sprinkles.

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