Red Velvet Cupcakes

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I remember a time when I used to despise making cupcakes. It was the only thing that I would actually refuse to bake. I’m being serious guys; you’re looking at a girl who will take up any opportunity to bake, but ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that my exact words were “cupcakes aren’t even a baked good, they’re stupid little dry bricks with no flavour”… boy, was I wrong. If you make a cupcake right, you could find yourself eating the entire batch.

Which is exactly what almost happened with these cupcakes. Red Velvet Cupcakes are probably the most popular cupcake flavour out there, so you’re probably thinking: what makes yours so special?! 

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Alright, I’ll tell you. I used beetroot in mine. Right, before you completely freak out and run away from my recipe, hear me out. Traditionally, Red Velvet Cupcakes were always made with beetroot as the deep, unforgiving purple colour taints the batter to a beautiful deep maroon. Do no panic, there will be a hint of earthiness in your cupcakes but you won’t be like eating a cakey salad… ew.

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In addition to the glorious colour, the taste and texture of the cake is divine. I’ve had bad experiences with cupcakes, and I’ve always hated them due to their dryness. The beets make the cupcakes so moist and soft, so reconsider your judgement!

Here’s my recipe (yields about 15-18 cupcakes):

  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 50g good quality cocoa power (I use Cadbury’s Bournville)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps red food colouring
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 medium beetroots (with their stems cut off)
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil

For the cream cheese frosting =

  • 300g full fat cream cheese
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Start off by preheating your oven to gas mark 5/180/375 and lining your baking tray with your cupcake cases.

Drizzle your oil over the two beetroots and coat each one well. Wrap them up in tin foil, sealing them tightly in. Pop them into the oven and roast them for an hour (or until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife). Take the beetroots out of the oven and leave them to cool completely. Once cooled, cut off their root and peal away all of the skin (don’t worry, it’s easily done). Finely grate the two beetroots and place into a small bowl then remove a 1/2 cup (about 85g) of the beetroot from it.

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Doesn’t that look attractive??

Beat your butter with a spatula until soft and smooth (but not runny), then cream together your butter with the two sugars until the two are light and fluffy.

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Crack in your eggs one by one, beating in between each addition. With your second egg, add two tablespoons of your weighed out flour to prevent the mixture from splitting.

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Then throw in that beetroot and fold it in!

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Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bi-carb then add half of the dry ingredients to the batter along with half of the measured out milk. Fold everything together until just combined, then add in the other half of the flour and milk. Fold everything until combined then add in your red food colouring; fold that in too.

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Divide the mixture between your cupcake cases using an ice-cream scoop (ensuring even distribution).

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Pop them into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of each cupcake comes out clean. Take the cupcakes out of the oven and allow to cool completely.

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In the meantime, make the frosting. Cream together the cream cheese, the butter and the vanilla extract until soft. Add your icing sugar in three additions, beating the three ingredients together until combined in between each addition. When all the icing sugar has been incorporated, put the frosting into the fridge for an hour to set before frosting the cupcakes. When the frosting has firmed up, transfer it into a piping bag fitted with a normal tunnel nozzle and swirl your frosting onto the top of the cupcake. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use an offset spatula and do your own swirly, creative patterns.

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There ya go kids! A strange secret ingredient, I’ll admit, but I can promise you this: it works! 

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