I’m not hugely romantic but I do enjoy getting into the spirit of things and Valentines Day is no exception. While there will be no cards, chocolates or massive bouquets of red roses in our household today, in their place will be a plateful of gorgeous little cupcakes to make people smile (hopefully…).
I swear by Jamie Oliver’s recipe for red velvet cupcakes. It’s fairly versatile too so if you don’t have any buttermilk in the house, then you can use a combination of milk and sour cream and the result is still very good; light, fluffy and just sweet enough (I like my cupcakes to offset the sweetness of the icing). Food colouring is just an option but if you are planning on giving your cupcakes a strong hue, I recommend using only red, yellow or orange food colouring. Blue velvet cupcakes are gorgeous but the aftermath is not pretty… Ahem…
I’d run out of vinegar (the must have ingredient in Jamie’s cupcakes) so stopped past Coles this morning. As expected, I was met with the marketing onslaught of teddy bears and single-stem red roses. I don’t get how this is supposed to be romantic. As I was hoping to use red rose petals for my cupcakes, I decided to be extravagant and bought a rose anyway. Although it did irk me to know that they’d be at least half-price by the end of the day (a la Easter eggs and Christmas decorations), a red rose certainly is a thing of beauty.
In the end, I was a little paranoid about using store-bought roses for eating purposes (pesticides and all) so only washed and dried a few petals for the icing. The rest of the rose is now proudly on display in my insta-Ikebana vase at home. Hubby was rather pleased with it, completely oblivious to the fact that the poor rose was intended for consumption. I’ve also now made a memo-to-self to plant some roses in our garden so I have my own organic source of rose petals :)
Once my luscious red cupcakes were done, I prepared by buttercream icing with a touch of pink, a dash of rosewater and a sprinkle of the crushed, dried rose petals. Ahh… Romance. After piping on some icing, I finished the cuties off with a dusting of pearl powder and sparkly caschous.
Jamie Oliver’s Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe (with my modifications)
50g of butter (room temperature)
150g caster sugar (golden preferred, I used the Low GI blend from CSR)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 tbsp of red food colouring
2 tbsp of cocoa
150g plain flour
2 tbsp of sour cream + 100ml of milk (to substitute 125ml of buttermilk)
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 tbsp of white vinegar
Preheat oven to 180C and prepare 12 cucpake patty pans in 12-hole tray. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg, salt, vanilla and colouring. Sift together cocoa and flour and mix in half into ingredients. Mix in sour cream/milk and then mix in other half of cocoa/flour. Add vinegar to baking soda in small bowl and allow to bubble. Add the mixture to cupcake mix and combine. Divide mixture between the twelve patty pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cupcakes are ready when skewer comes out clean when pierced. Let cool and ice with preferred icing. I used a combination of 160g icing sugar, 100g butter, a drop of red colouring, 1/4 teaspoon of rosewater essence and a dash of milk. More rose petals would be lovely in the icing but I strongly recommend only using organic roses for peace of mind.