Hummingbird Bakery’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

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 The very first time I had a cupcake *ever* was in UK. People had been raving about Hummingbird Bakery‘s cupcakes and one day, we made the trek down to Soho and bought ourselves a box of Hummingbird cupcakes. Honestly, I can’t quite remember my impressions of it. It was so very long ago. But I do know that it was sweet. But delicious. Particularly the red velvet cupcake, probably because of the cream cheese icing.

Anyway… red velvet cupcakes (and indeed, red velvet anythings) hold such a fascination with people. I’ve seen red velvet cakes, of course, but also red velvet brownies, red velevet cookies, red velvet ice cream… You name it, it’s probably been red velvet-ised. But apart from the red velvet cake, everything but red velvet cupcakes just seem too strange for me, haha. In any case, let’s have a look at the Hummingbird recipe for red velvet cupcakes and see how that pans out.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yields 23
Recipe for Hummingbird Bakery's Red Velvet Cupcake - moist red velvet cake topped with a cream cheese topping.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 150g caster sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. 10g cocoa powder
  5. 2 tablespoons red food colouring
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  7. 120 ml buttermilk
  8. 150g plain flour
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  11. 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
For the cream cheese frosting
  1. 300g icing sugar, sifted
  2. 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. 125g cream cheese, cold
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
  2. Put the butter and the sugar in a medium bowl and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla essence to make a thick dark paste.
  4. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the down with a rubber spatula.
  5. Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until 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.
  7. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until 2/3 full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. 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.
For the cream cheese frosting
  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a bowl with an electric mixer 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 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.
Notes
  1. The frosting is pretty runny, refrigerate for a bit to stiffen up if you find it too runny for your liking.
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
YummyGraphy http://www.yummygraphy.com/
So you can see, there’s nothing really “special” about a red velvet cake. Just that it has massive amounts of red food colouring. I haven’t been able to find the shade of red that I wanted, but for this particular batch, I used artificial cochineal colouring (because real cochineal colouring is made from crushed insects – massive ew). This gave a deep, almost purpley red but I wanted a warmer, more orangey red. Oh well. #notimportant

 Important bit, is, of course, how it tastes. I was a bit worried about these actually, because I couldn’t find fresh baking soda and was worried that it didn’t rise properly, which would adversely affect the texture. They didn’t rise as much as my usual cupcakes in the end,  but the texture was still great. Still soft and moist, so that’s good. There’s nothing worse than a dry lump of a cupcake.

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Admittedly though, my cupcakes were a bit flat. Partly because of the baking soda I’m guessing, but also partly because I tried to stretch a recipe for 12 cupcakes into 16 cupcakes, haha. It worked well enough, but the resulting cupcake layer was thinner than usual.

 Which means that I have a lot more “space” to fill up with frosting. Which also turned out to be a problem because I didn’t have enough frosting. Probably should have made more… 

I did have a problem with the frosting though. I didn’t want to make a swirl so thought I would just spoon them onto the cupcakes. This was a good idea because this frosting is very runny. Very very runny. Definitely wouldn’t be able to hold its shape. I’m not sure if it’s because Brunei is too hot, but if you do have problems, refrigerate the frosting for a little bit until its easier to handle.

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So there you have it. Red velvet cupcakes. They seemed popular enough with the people I shared it with but … if it were up to me, I probably wouldn’t be making anything red velvet again… unless someone has this “absolute must try magical recipe”. Because that amount of food colouring is just too scary, haha. Also difficult to handle. I had red fingers for the rest of the week.

All in all, was good though. I’ve been itching to try a red velvet recipe. I know, so late. But better late than never!

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