Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I'm really way behind in updating my blogs... March experiments in July entries, sigh. But like the MOTH encourages - better late than never (he's master procrastinator), as long as he's getting fed. Coincidently, Red Velvet's one of his favourite choice of cakes. Purely because of how I always present the cream cheese for these red cupcakes. I fill the inside of the cakes ;-D The recipe from Hummingbird is pretty much the same as any Red Velvets. The only thing I'd say more for anyone baking these red cakes is on the colour. There's much talk about shunning excessive use of colouring in food and frankly, I couldn't agree more. Rainbow cakes are a rage here and if you see how vibrantly coloured those layers of cakes are, you can't help but cringe. I did one last year at my daughter's request for her birthday and was very careful in the amount of colouring I used. The result was less exuberant (first and last time I did that).

The sliced cake.

The whole cake.

Red Velvet is all about the red. Despite any opinion you have about the use of food colouring or the bad press about it, Red Velvet cakes are all about the red. Period. Any replacements for the red food colouring you plan to use is just not going to cut it. Beetroot is the most popular vegetable used to replace the food colouring and frankly, that little cake will be called the Chocolate Beetroot Cupcake. It honestly is! No two ways (or names) about it. The cake will never be that red whether you're using purple or burgundy beetroots.  Essentially, the Red Velvet is a moist and denser chocolate cake with red colouring. It's simply a variation of the chocolate cake, creatively birthed by the American Southerners. Key point I'm trying to make here is moderation. The occasional use of FDA-approved (US) colouring isn't going to kill you (but the made-in-China cheap red colours will!!!). No one eats a whole Red Velvet cake every week (if you do, you're just asking for it..). So, please buy a FDA-approved, reputable tub of red colouring in Cherry Red or Christmas Red for your Red Velvet Cake. It will cost you but you'd want a piece of mind when you have a piece of that cake because you'll need at least 30-40ml (about 2 tablespoon) of colouring to get that rich hue. Bear in mind that good food colours still stain (especially blue and red) BUT they stay on less than 12 hours. I know this because I use a lot of colours for my work and my fingers get stained all the time. However, after a couple of dishwashing sessions in the day, they're gone. I've had colour stains that lasted days and seen children with tongues coloured for days, too! Have fun baking your REAL Red Velvet! 

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