Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes, with a cream cheese frosting, are rich, red, and decadent. Perfect for Valentine’s Day – or any other day.
Most of the cakes I cook I’ve been making for years, but occasionally something new comes along and a Red Velvet Cake is one of them. I’m not a big fan of artificial colourings, but for this, I make an exception. It is quite a big exception because there’s a lot of colouring and if anyone who might eat reacts to colouring, then don’t make these cakes. Otherwise, this amount won’t hurt once in a while.
Key ingredients for Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes
There are a few unusual ingredients in these cakes, and really they are necessary to give the cakes their distinctive Red Velvet flavour.
Buttermilk is needed to provide an acidic medium for the bicarbonate of soda to act.
In theory, you can use yoghurt thinned with milk, or milk with added wine vinegar or lemon juice. For 90ml, use 85ml milk (whole is best) and 5ml lemon juice. (For 250ml, use 235 ml milk and 15ml lemon juice.) Stir together and wait for 5 minutes.
However, in this recipe, it is better to use buttermilk if you can get it and you can easily buy it in most supermarkets these days. I’ve seen it in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, and both Tesco and Asda show it online, so I guess they have it in-store too.
You don’t need a whole carton for this recipe, so either make some Buttermilk Scones or freeze what’s left – ideally measure it into e.g. 30ml quantities. If you like these cakes, then freeze 90ml at a time, ready for your next baking session.
Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
Again, it’s about providing some acidity. I prefer Cider Vinegar, but please don’t buy it just for this recipe! At a push, you could use lemon juice.
Christmas-Red Paste Colouring
The colourings I usually use are liquid and fairly natural. This isn’t. A liquid red will not work because you won’t get a strong enough colour. I bought mine from Amazon (Sugarflair Christmas-Red Paste food colouring) or you can find it in specialist cake decorating shops.
If you really don’t want to use this strength of colouring and prefer the natural colours, you can still make the cakes but they will be more pink or peach than red – which is a good compromise if colouring is a problem, e.g with hyperactivity.
Cream Cheese for the Frosting
You do need full-fat cream cheese or the frosting won’t work properly. To be honest, if you’re making cake, just go the whole hog (as my grandfather used to say) and ENJOY!
- Kenwood Hand Mixer – My old hand mixer – also a Kenwood – finally gave up the ghost after about 25 years. I replaced it last year with this model and it’s a joy to use. My stand mixer is too big for the quantities of the Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes, so the hand mixer is a perfect substitute.
If you like this…
…Why don’t you try:
Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 125 g plain/all-purpose flour
- 15 g cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (5ml)
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (1.25ml)
- 50 g butter softened
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 level tablespoon Christmas Red paste food colouring (15ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5ml)
- 1 large egg
- 90 ml buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon cider vinegar or white wine vinegar (2.5ml)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 250 g icing sugar
- 75 g cream cheese
- 50 g butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon cider vinegar (or lemon juice) (2.5ml)
- Sugar hearts for decoration
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan/ gas mark 3/ 325°F
- Line the muffin tins with paper cases.
For the Cupcakes:
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl(Flour, sieved cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda)
- Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until you have a soft, pale mixtureYou could also use a hand mixer
- Beat in the food colouring and the vanilla extract. The resulting mixture is a vivid red colour
- Beat 1 tablespoonful of the dried ingredients into the mixture, then the egg, followed by the rest of the dried ingredients – just enough to combine
- Scrape down the bowl with a spatula between additions
- Beat in the buttermilk and the vinegar and divide the batter between the 10 cases
- Bake for about 20 minutes until the top springs bake when lightly pressed. The resulting cakes won't be quite as bright, but still a good, red colour
- Leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack until completely cold.
For the Frosting:
- Put the cream cheese and butter into a bowl and beat together until soft
- Add the cider vinegar or lemon juice and beat again
- Sieve a third of the icing sugar into the bowl and beatStart slowly to avoid icing sugar everywhere
- Add the remaining icing sugar in two batches, scraping down between additions
- Ice each cupcake, using a teaspoon or pipe using a large nozzleIf you pipe you may need more icing!
- Decorate with heart sprinkles
- Serve to your loved one.