Back to baking: Red Velvet Cupcakes

I love to bake. there’s something about putting 10 very different ingredients together to create magic. Ever since picking it up in school, I’ve been baking ever since. My crowning achievement was sticky date pudding, which I tried to make after I had it at Marmalade Pantry, and it was a stunning success at first trial. My biggest failure was carrot cake, which came out more like carrot slush than anything else and ended up in the trash.

I stopped baking when the oven at home broke down. we never got around to fixing it so I never went back to baking, until Bryan decided to buy an electric oven yesterday because the one at his home was acting weird.

We bought a Tefal electric oven coz it’s within our budget and we just needed a simple one that did the job. it has a double door, and the heating element is a bunch of strips across the top underside of the oven, where most other ovens only had 1 strip. this meant the heat is distributed evenly across the oven.

I was itching to bake the minute he bought the oven so i got myself a Cornell mixer which was going for $36 only at Courts! of course it’s no Kitchenaid (by the way I want the red one thank you my generous friends) but I’m no Masterchef. It did the job pretty okay, how difficult can mixing be?

Speaking of Masterchef, a few episodes ago they were tested on cupcakes and that episode had some of the most yummilicious looking cupcakes, and of course some of the world’s greatest disasters. inspired, I decided to make cupcakes for my first foray back into baking. and what else but my favourite Red Velvet Cupcakes? However this trial was peppered with a great many errors right from the beginning.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
recipe by Epicurious

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces water
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

The most painful part of the entire experiment was that the recipe was in U.S. measurements so I spent a lot of time toggling between reading the recipe on my iPhone and converting ounces into tablespoon measurements and so on. Since baking was more of a science of precise measurements than the art that cooking is, I was very careful on getting it all right.

First, cream butter with sugar. my next mistake was buying raw sugar instead of white sugar, which for some weird reason I couldn’t find a single pack at all at NTUC. it was everything else but white sugar. So instead of fluffy, I got grindy mush.

Add eggs and blend well. can’t get that wrong.

Next make a paste of cocoa and red food colouring. I tried to stir it into a paste but there was more powder than liquid so I couldn’t make a paste out of it. I glanced at the recipe and noticed 2oz of water so I threw some it to make the paste, not realising till later that the water was meant for something else in the recipe. oops?

sift flour and salt into mixture. except Bryan didn’t have a flour sifter so we made do with a regular sieve, whose holes are so big it let everything through so I’m not sure what the sifting we did was supposed to achieve.

One at a time, add the following ingredients: buttermilk, vanilla, and water. (oops. there’s the water.
I also didn’t have buttermilk but there was a buttermilk substitute recipe floating in the Internet so I used it).

in a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda. Fold it into the cake batter. Make sure it’s incorporated, but don’t beat it.
(I have a general confusion about baking soda and baking powder. most supermarkets don’t carry baking soda but baking powder instead. so at which point is it okay to substitute one for the other? i tried to mix vinegar and baking powder but the bubbling was so scary looking I tossed it and used baking powder alone instead).

Pour batter into muffin tray. this genius forgot to buy cupcake holders so ah well.

Bryan helping to pour the batter into the tray, he’s more precise than I was, wiping the spillovers I was ready to leave on the tray. He popped his baking cherry with this one.

into the oven for 18-20 mins, 180C.

Hello my pretties!

after it was done, we took out the tray and left it to cool. 10 minutes later I jumped out of bed and ran back to the kitchen, belatedly remembering that they aren’t supposed to cool in the still hot muffin tray, but to be taken out to cool on a rack.

looks good despite the many mistakes I made at every step along the way.

we had leftover batter so Bryan made a red velvet pancake.



  1. Penguin · · Reply

    thanks for the recipe! i also want a RED kitchenaid mixer. it’s so pweety it can almost gave me an orgasm! hhaha

    1. you can buy me one for my house-warming and i will buy you one for your house-warming!

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