Mix all the ingredients well so that the sponge has an even colour and texture. For added colour contrast, crumble some extra red velvet sponge over the cupcakes (makes 12).
© Peter Cassidy
The cupcake sponge
* 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 150g caster sugar
* 1 egg
* 20g cocoa powder
* 40ml red food colouring
* ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
* 120ml buttermilk
* 150g plain flour
* ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
* 1½ teaspoons white vinegar
* A 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark three.
2. Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed.
3. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients
from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).
5. Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again.
6. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.
7. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.
8. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
9. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top (see below for recipe).
Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes)
* 300g icing sugar, sifted
* 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 125g cream cheese, cold
1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
2. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
3. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy (at least five minutes). Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.
Red velvet cake
To make a red velvet cake instead, double the quantities below, divide between three 20-cm cake tins and bake for 25 minutes at the same oven temperature. Frost with two quantities of cream cheese frosting.
Special offer: £2 off The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
You can buy the book at the special price of £14.99 with free p&p (rrp £16.99) by calling Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quoting the reference code GLR1KP.
Recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
By Tarek Malouf and the Hummingbird Bakers
Photography by Peter Cassidy
Published by Ryland Peters & Small