I was sorting through my “baking cupboard” the other day (you know the one crammed full of cake tins, icing nozzles and all sorts of sprinkles) and came across this lovely Christmas cupcake kit. I actually bought it last year (from In Good Company) and for whatever reason never got round to using it. Well I certainly couldn’t let this sit in the cupboard for another year and immediately began planning my Christmas cupcakes. You see, I’m not really one for fruitcake. Or mince pies. Or Christmas pudding. But cupcakes I like – a lot! And with red being such a Christmassy color, I figured that red velvet cupcakes would be the perfect treat to put in these gorgeous cupcake cases!
The recipe I used is very slightly adapted from nigella.com and worked out perfectly. The cupcake cases were quite large but this ended up being a bonus as after dividing the mixture between 24 cases, the resulting cupcakes were nice and flat – much better for giving a generous swirl of icing.
Being the festive season and all, I boxed a few cupcakes individually and gave to friends as a little gift. Happy days!
Right, enough babbling. Time to get baking and sharing these beauties right away!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

250g flour
30 ml cocoa powder
10ml baking powder
2,5ml bicarbonate of soda
100g butter, softened
200g castor sugar
Approx 10ml of red food coloring gel (not the liquid. Gel available at baking shops)
10ml vanilla essence
2 large eggs
175 ml buttermilk
5ml vinegar

Cream Cheese Icing

200g cream cheese, softened
100g butter, softened
5ml vanilla essence
500g icing sugar

Red, white or green edible glitter

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For the cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (I use 160°C for a fan assist oven) and line 2 muffin tins with paper cases.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating well, and when you have a soft, pale mixture beat in the food colouring and the vanilla. Don’t be shy with the food colouring!
  • Into this bright red mixture, still beating, add 1 large spoonful of the dry ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by some more dry ingredients, then the other egg, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients.
  • Finally beat in the buttermilk and the vinegar and divide the batter evenly between the 24 cases. Don’t be tempted to overfill the cases.
  • Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes.
  • Leave them to cool on a wire rack and do not ice them until absolutely cool!

For the cream cheese icing:

  • Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Both should be well softened to avoid lumps. Mix in the vanilla.
  • Gradually sift in the icing sugar and beat well after each addition until you have a gorgeously glossy and smooth icing.
  • Ice the cupcake with a piping bag or simply spread the icing on top with a palette knife.
  • Dust the iced cupcakes with edible glitter (be prepared to be covered in the stuff by the time you are done!)

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Tip:

The cupcakes can be baked 2 days ahead and stored, un-iced, layered with baking paper in airtight containers. The icing can be made 1 day ahead: cover with clingfilm and refrigerate; remove from fridge 1 hour before needed to allow to come to room temperature then beat briefly before using. Best iced and eaten on same day but iced cupcakes can be kept in fridge in airtight container for a few days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Un-iced cupcakes can be frozen, layered with baking paper, in airtight containers for up to 2 months. Defrost for 3-4 hours on a wire rack at room temperature. Frosting can be frozen separately in airtight container for up to 3 months; defrost overnight in fridge then bring to room temperature and beat briefly before use.

PS. This is the Christmas cupcake kit I used!

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