red velvet cupcakes



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This latest batch are Nigella Lawson’s red velvet cupcakes (from Kitchen, her latest book). Red velvet cupcakes are basically regular cupcakes with a bit of cocoa, a lot of red colouring (there’s no getting around it, beetroot doesn’t work and it’s got to be red somehow) and an alabaster frosting – in this case, luscious, full fat cream cheese.

The batter is a shocking, massacre red, needing a ludicrous amount of colouring to achieve the shade – about half a bottle of red colouring. In fact, the cupcake is aptly named – the crumb is fine and smooth, the colour deep and sensuous – a lot like red velvet, funnily enough.



Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen

The recipe has been changed to liquid colouring (pillar box red) and been halved. The icing has more cream cheese and butter as I found it too sweet.


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line 12 cupcake holes with liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together:
    50g soft butter
    100g caster sugar

When the mixture is pale and creamy add in:
     25ml liquid red food colouring (I tipped in half a bottle of Queens pillar box red)
     1tsp vanilla extract
Beat in:
     1 egg
When the egg is thoroughly mixed in, carefully add in:
     125g flour
     10g cocoa powder (sifted!)
     7g baking powder 
     3g bicarbonate of soda
Once the dry ingredients are just combined, beat in:
      175ml buttermilk
      1/2tsp vinegar

If the batter seems too dry or thick, dribble in a bit more buttermilk to loosen it.
Divide the vivid mixture into the cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes – check for doneness at 18 minutes, just in case! Bring to room temperature before icing.


To prepare the easy-as icing, whizz in a food processor:
     250g icing sugar
Then add:
     150g cream cheese
     150g soft butter

Process to combine and down the funnel, drip down 
     a squeeze of lemon juice 
The icing will become smooth and pale. Frost to your hearts content!


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  1. Andrea

    Goodness gracious these really are red! They look absolutely beautiful and delish :)

  2. mei

    Andrea – Hey! I know, they are scary. scary red. Like so red my mum would refuse to eat them! Work people really liked them, I don’t think males are as apprehensive of colouring…

    Wendy – Hi Wendy, thanks for dropping by. All of Nigella’s recipes (okay, maybe except one) WORK and this one is a keeper. I had a peep at your site – looks like a good concept. :)

  3. Wendy

    Thanks for this post now I understand why this Nigella recipe keeps getting mentioned – apart from the sensuous colour, the buttermilk and vinegar in the batter plus!! cream cheese icing will have to try it soon

  4. Sabrina

    Hey Mei! I stumbled on your blog the other day – it is awesome :D I love all the foooood, these red velvet cupcakes look so red – do they stain your mouth when you eat them?

  5. mei

    Sabrina – Hey Sab! You’ve started blogging again! You have a real eye for photography :) I don’t think the cupcakes stain the mouth, the colouring is cooked in so it’s not like eating beetroot.

    Viviene – Um, Feast, because I’ve cooked a lot out of that book and I like its richer flavours (where as Kitchen has lighter flavours, a bit more contemporary). Or maybe I just like the way she has written Feast, it’s more emotional. O.o

  6. Viviene

    I doubt that these cupcakes would stain your mouth >.< I don't think I had a problem with them the last time I eat them. I am salivating at them, though 'My Little Cupcake' and "The Cupcake Bakery' is just around the corner. Alas, I have to withhold my temptations as I devoured several pieces of Koko Black's Rum & Raisin last night. I have to save myself for the Hopetoun Tea Rooms on the weekend!

    A question off the topic: Would you recommend Nigella – Feast or Kitchen if you had to choose one?

  7. Mlle. S

    Red velvet! A good red velvet is divine. Not too dense, not too sweet and the perfect icing.

  8. Jess

    Thank you very much!! I’ve had this post bookmarked and I finally made these today. Very scrumptious and satisfying!

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