Blue Velvet Cupcakes for the Bluebirds
It's probably not often that football and baking go hand in hand, but as my beloved Bluebirds are returning to Wembley for the fourth time in as many years (and it'd be nice to actually win for a change), I thought it was about time I tried out something I'd been thinking of for a while. I've never tried a Red Velvet cake, but I had thought about adapting a recipe to make a Blue Velvet version. Instead, I found a fantastic recipe courtesy of Heather Baird of Sprinkle Bakes.
It is notoriously difficult to get a good colour with a Red Velvet cake, and similarly with blue - I certainly was not able to replicate the deep denim blue Heather managed (at least on this attempt - I'll try a dash more violet next time). I also had the opportunity to use for the first time the US Swan's Down Cake Flour I sourced from The Stateside Candy Co. (A lot of US recipes call for Cake Flour which is very finely ground (think 'oo' flour), enriched and bleached - bleaching is banned in our flour - and can be difficult to find. There are some alternatives you can use, and one is 'Kate Flour' - see A Merrier World - by Kate Coldrick).
The recipe is straightforward, and resulted in a deliciously tender sponge, with a sweet but hint of sharp cream cheese frosting.
I've adapted some of the US measurements in Heather's recipe to hopefully make it easier.
Ingredients makes approx 12
I cup caster sugar
4oz/113g soft unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 tbspn cocoa
1/2 tbspn Wilton Royal Blue gel paste colouring
dab (I added a drop from a cocktail stick) Wilton Violet gel paste colouring
1 1/4 cup cake flour (I checked the weight after sifting and measuring and got 144g)
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1/4 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tspn white vinegar
For the frosting:
250g pack cream cheese
125g butter softened
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
4 cups (maybe a little more) icing sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 155 fan /175 conventional. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners (I think you could get 12 out of this mix).
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix.
Mix the food colourings with the cocoa powder to form a paste and add this to the bowl.
Sift the flour and salt together, and add this to the mix in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk.
Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the vinegar in a small bowl (it'll fizz) and then add that to the mixture.
Scoop into the prepared pan, so that each cupcake case is no more than two thirds full.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting. It's extremely important that the cream cheese and the butter are soft and at room temperature - if they are too cold, they won't mix properly and the frosting will be lumpy (I have been guilty of this in the past and I can tell you, it's not good).
Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Add in the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
(I don't seem to have a good track record with cream cheese frosting - it always comes out too runny and in order to rectify it I have to add more sugar. On this occasion I initially halved the proportions in Heather's recipe, so had two cups of icing sugar. It took a further two and a bit cups to find a good consistency, but then I ended up with more icing than I needed. On that basis, you could have a go at halving the cream cheese and butter and sticking with two cups of icing sugar - you may then end up with frosting in the right quantity).
When the cupcakes were totally cool, I then used a piping bag and star nozzle to pipe a swirl on the top of the cupcakes.
Add a bit of magic sparkle ...
Unfortunately, you can't sneak one of these, the bright blue tongue is a bit of a giveaway.
Hope you like them. They can of course be used for any team that plays in blue that you may support instead of Cardiff ... :-)
Good luck on the 26th Feb.C'mon Bluebirds!