Saturday 18 February 2012

Valentine Cupcakes

This luscious cupcake recipe is inspired by American Red Velvet cakes, but I find that recipes for this can be a little greasy.  The sour cream combined with the cocoa adds a real depth to this cupcake batter mixture. 

Ingredients for the cupcakes (makes 18 standard size cupcakes)

170g unsalted organic Butter
225g organic natural Castor Sugar
2 large organic free-range Eggs
40g organic fair-trade Cocoa Powder
80mls just-boiled Water
80mls organic Sour Cream
¼ teaspoon Christmas Red Food Colouring Paste
½ teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
185g organic Plain Flour
¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt

Ingredients for the White Chocolate Frosting
130g unsalted organic Butter
30g Cream Cheese
225g Icing Sugar
½ teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
75g organic White Chocolate
Edible Glitter for dusting

1. Ensure that eggs and butter are at room temperature by place in a warm room (or airing cupboard) for at least 2 hours before starting cooking. Pre-heat your oven to 180C. Line your bun tins with cupcake liners.

2. In a heat-resistant bowl, sift in the cocoa powder. Add the boiling water and mix to a smooth paste. Allow to cool a little and then mix in the sour cream, vanilla extract and red food colouring paste (do not use the bottles of red food colouring liquid, you will need too much liquid to achieve the desired colour). Set to one side.

3. Place the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric food mixer (use the paddle blade). Cream together the butter and sugar, starting on a low speed at first and then on a medium-high speed once all the sugar has been incorporated. After 5 mins, scrape down the side of your bowl. Repeat the beating for 5 mins and scrapping twice more – yes that is a total of 15mins of creaming but you will not believe the difference it makes to your finished cupcakes.

4. One at a time, break each egg into a small bowl or jug and give it a quick mix to break up the yolk. Add each egg about a third at a time to your creamed butter and sugar, beating between each addition until the egg is fully incorporated, then scraping down the sides before adding the next batch of egg. After both eggs been added, scrape the sides again and continue to beat on medium-high for a further 5 mins.

5. Slowly beat in the cocoa mixture, again beating well between each addition and scrapping down the sides.

6. In a large airy bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Repeat sifting process 3-4 times to get as much air as possible into the flour. Turning down the speed of the mixer to low, add the flour about a ¼ at a time, ensure it is well mixed after each addition but complete this process quickly as you do not want to overbeat the mixture once the flour is added as this results in a tough cupcake (not good)!

7. Spoon the mixture into your cupcake liners. Don’t overfill, they need to be about 2/3rd full. Cook in the oven for 25-30 mins, until the cupcakes spring back on top when touched. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 10mins in their tins, then remove to wire racks and set aside until completely cooled.

8. To make the frosting, first melt the white chocolate in a small, heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Then beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 2-3mins. Add butter and beat again until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift the icing sugar, turn the food mixer speed to low and gradually add in the icing sugar, beating well after each addition. Then add the room temperature melted chocolate. You now need to turn up the speed of the mixer to medium-high and leave to beat for at least 10mins. This final lengthy beating stiffens up the mixture, which would otherwise be too loose. Put the bowl of icing in fridge for further 10-15mins before use. If mixture has over stiffened in fridge just beat again for a minute and it will become more malleable. Pipe onto cupcakes, dust with edible glitter and present with love!

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