Not too long ago, MC Senior came home from school with this cryptic message - “I have to cook something for homework.”
After reading the homework note properly, it turned out that she was learning about fractions at school and could do an optional assignment at home. The suggested item to make was playdough, but where’s the fun in that? We needed something edible.
Enter these Red Velvet Cupcakes. I’d never had a “proper” RV cake, although I’ve seen them on a lot of blogs and even attempted a beetroot version last year. This time, I wanted to bake from an authentic recipe to find out what all the fuss was about.
I stumbled upon this recipe by Amy Butler at Design Sponge, after visiting Cannelle et Vanille one day. (See, I knew all that blog-reading would pay off). We followed the recipe faithfully, with one exception. I just couldn’t bring myself to add that much food colouring into the cake, so we used a little bit of Wilton red “no-taste” gel and about a capful of liquid food colouring. The resulting cake wasn’t as red as the original.
Overall, the recipe was really easy to understand except for the part about adding the food colouring to the cocoa but “do not stir”. How confusing - I stirred gently with a toothpick and left the crumbly colour/ gel / powder mix it to sit. (We were using less that the required amount of colouring though, so there may be a reason there we didn't quite grasp).
As for the frosting, I’d read a few forums along the way, and purists insist that the only true frosting for Red Velvet cake is the type of cooked frosting given in the recipe. I must say the whole idea of cooking flour and milk together to make the frosting was a teeny bit off-putting. Also, I got a little confused and used powdered sugar / icing sugar instead of caster sugar. In the end, I swore I could still taste flour, but this was because I knew it was there. Nobody else had any problems with it.
Quite the opposite was true in fact. I’d sent a batch to Mr. Kitchen Hand’s office and the response was so overwhelming, I had to make another batch to send in. This time, I reduced the flour in the frosting to about 4 tbsp and used caster sugar. The general consensus was that this frosting was perfect. And just for the record, there were a couple of expat Texans in the judging panel.
Who knew that homework could be this much fun ☺