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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | July 11, 2020

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Visions of velvet

Visions of velvet

| On 21, Jun 2013

Baking is my idea of heaven.

I cannot stress how much it has the ability to instantly de-stress me.

My kitchen, my mixing bowl and my oven is all I need when I just want to relax and go to a very happy place.

So let’s get baking!

Ever wanted to have your Sex and the City moment?

Well here it is.

It’s Carrie Bradshaw’s favourite devilish red velvet cupcakes made famous by bakeries such as London’s Hummingbird and New York’s Magnolia.

I love the rich colour of the cake and the perfect union of cream cheese frosting – absolute divinity.

And when the time is right to decorate your little babies, heaven gets even better.

I’m on a natural high and nothing can vex me while I’m with my little cakes I nurtured with precision, love and care.

Red velvet cupcakes

My recipe has been adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery cook book.


60g unsalted butter, at room temperature (cut into cubes)
150g caster sugar
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring
½tsp vanilla extract (you can use vanilla essence – it just won’t be as strong)
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½tsp salt
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½tsp apple cider vinegar (you can also use white wine vinegar)

For the cream cheese frosting:

200-250g icing sugar, sifted (measurement depends on how sweet you want it. I also like to buy ‘icing mixture’ rather than ‘pure icing sugar’ – it’s easier to work with because it’s finer)
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature (cut into cubes)
125g cream cheese, cold


1. Preheat oven to 170°C.

2. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cups.

3. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is light a fluffy.

4. In a separate bowl mix together cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick paste.
Add to the butter mixture and mix until thoroughly combined and evenly coloured.
Make sure you scrap down the sides of the bowl to incorporate the mix.

5. Turn electric beater down to slow speed and slowly add in half the buttermilk until combined – this will give your cakes that heavenly fluffiness.

6. Sift in half of the flour and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining buttermilk and flour until combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

7. Turn your beaters to high speed and beat until the mixture is smooth.

8. Now on a low speed add in the salt, bi-carb soda and vinegar, beat until well mixed.
Turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.

9. Spoon the delicious mixture into your prepared paper cases until two-thirds full (we don’t want them to spill over!)

10. Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 20-25 minutes, or until sponge bounces back when touched.
If you want to double check just insert a skewer and if it comes out clean your little creations are ready to come out!

Now for the cream cheese frosting:

(Frosting is pretty heavy on the beating so if you have a free stand electric beater it will save you  a lot of strenuous exercise  – if you don’t then get ready to work those arms)

1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together on medium-slow speed until it comes together and is well mixed. (if you are using a free stand mixer use the paddle attachment)

2. Roughly cut up and add in all the cream cheese and beat until completely combined.

3. Turn beaters up to medium-high speed and continue beating until frosting is light and fluffy – you are looking at at-least 5 minutes of constant beating, so manual beaters – get those muscles working!

BUT remember do not over-beat as the mixture can become runny.

It’s time for the fun part!

Once your cupcakes are cool they are ready for their makeover.

Now you can either pipe on the frosting or simply spoon it on.

If you are game try Magnolia Bakery’s signature swirl.

All you need is a butter knife and some patience.

For this technique spoon a generous amount of the frosting on the cupcake and with your knife build it up.

Then using the flat of the knife slowly smooth out the frosting in a circular fashion coming into the centre as you move around.

It takes a little practice but it is a crowd pleaser.

You can also opt for the classic swirl piping bag.

Now for the decorating.

We all love to impress but not all of us have the moola for gold leaf or fancy fondant.

So I headed out to my garden and picked some pretty little flowers – presentation = 10, cost = 0!

Or go for a bit of colour and ad a few drops of food colouring to your frosting.

You can also get one of your cupcakes and just smash it up and sprinkle it on top of the frosting.

Decorate your cupcake with smashed up cake

Decorate your cupcake with smashed up cake

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Cupcakes decorated on the cheap with flowers from the backyard

Enjoy and happy baking!