I’ll say upfront, I’m not a baker. If it’s not bread, my brain normally goes into panic stations. I learned all the basic principles about baking and can probably recite some of the do’s and don’ts, but when I hear baking, my brain shuts down.
As I got into cooking very late in my life, I was not one of those little girls that demanded of mum to bake things. So I’ve never baked a cupcake. Yip, in this day and age where cupcakes have been on trend and anything possible have been done with it – I’ve never filled that little paper cup with batter and decorated it.
However, a while back, my cousin invited me to join him at one of his talks for ladies who do serious cake decorating. They’ve got a company that specialises in food colouring, Rolkem. They produce and sell a high quality natural product range in powder form. Except for having an extensive range of different application products, when using their colourings you use a lot less than the standard colourings and gels on the market. They make a whole load of other products as well, targeted at the cake industry. Their latest of which is a natural glow in the dark range. And believe me, it glows.
It was a bit of a look into the trenches of baking and inspired me to actually try it. After all, baking is part of what I need to do when developing recipes, so best I get at it. I decided to attempt red velvet cupcakes, using the Rolkem red velvet concentrated powder colourant and the kaleidoscope crystals (I wanted some bling).
Being the optimist I am, I decided to boldly also make this my birthday delivery to friend and food ghuru Errieda (die huiskok) the next day. It’s relatively safe though, I share my successes and disasters with them, so it’s not like entering it for a baking competition. I knew I’ll get an honest opinion and some seriously needed advice to boot.
Ultimately, what ended up letting me down was my piping skills. You need a steady and deft hand with the bag and I realised that this will take practice. So even though the icing looked worse for wear (as the pictures would’ve showed you), they actual cupcakes were quite tasty.
However, I guess during this holiday time I will be trying some more baking, because practice makes perfect right. And above all, don’t you just have to try new things, imagine how boring it will be if we just do things which we feel comfortable with. So come on keep on challenging yourself.
(I know the standard frosting for a red velvet cupcake is cream cheese frosting. However I wanted to play more with colour and just had to use the edible glitter. That’s why I settled for butter icing, for a bit of fun.)
Red velvet cupcakes with butter icing
375 ml (1½ cups) castor sugar, sifted
115 ml butter, at room temperature
2.5 ml (½ tsp) salt
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
2.5 ml (½ tsp) Rolkem red velvet concentrate powder colouring
625 ml (2½ cups) cake flour, sifted
5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder
30 ml (2 Tbsp) cocoa powder
5 ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
5 ml (1 tsp) white wine vinegar
250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk
135 ml butter, softened
250 ml (2 cups) icing sugar, sifted
15 ml Vanilla extract
Little bit of Rolkem red velvet concentrate powder colouring
Rolkem Kaleidoscope crystals, to dust at the end
Heat the oven to 170 °C.
Line 2 muffin pans, with 12 holes each, with the paper cupcake cases.
Cream your sugar and butter together with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy.
Gently beat in the egg, the salt, the vanilla extract and the food colourant.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder and cocoa powder together.
Fold half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by half the buttermilk.
Now fold in the other half of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk. You must have a smooth mixture when you’re done.
Separately, mix the bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar together, it will fizz. Now add this to the cake mix and gently fold in.
Divide the batter into the cupcake cases, fill them to about ¾ full. Let it bake for 20-25 minutes.
Cream the butter and the sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Whisk in the vanilla extract.
Now add the milk bit by bit. Fluids always vary in different baking environments, so don’t just dump it all in there. Add it bit by bit, while beating to make sure you get the right consistency.
I wanted to colour the icing as well, but not dark red, so I added just a touch of the colouring and just gently mixed it through. This gave it a bit of a white and red swirl effect. It is up to you, what you want your icing to look like.
Icing the cupcakes
Decorate your cupcakes with the icing as you please – do this however when the cupcakes are completely cooled down.
Then finish off by dusting with the crystals.
For the occasion, I got Max all dressed up.
It’s after all not everyday I bake sweet stuff, even if it wasn’t a raving success.