As soon as I read about Maison Cupcake's Forever Nigella challenge I had an idea of what I was going to make - Nigella's take on perhaps the prettiest cupcake of all time - the red velvet, from her most recent, and wonderful, book Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home. The theme was seasonal which I interpreted to be comfort food, and what is more comforting than a delicious cupcake and a lovely cuppa?
Nigella's red velvet cupcake contains nothing unusual for those of you who've made red velvet before - just the usual cakey stuff, with some vinegar, buttermilk and LASHINGS of red food colour thrown in. Now, I didn't have a chance to get to Party, Party in Dalston before the episode of Nigella's Kitchen, featuring these cupcakes, aired, just before Christmas, so by the time I got there London's baking community had gone
Christmas Red food colour mad so I couldn't get her shade of choice. Instead I made do with fuschia and as you can see the cakes still came out a beautiful colour of red.
Alas, it was not only the cakes that came out red. I accidentally spilt a teeny tiny splodge of food colouring when opening a new tub, onto the kitchen floor, without noticing, then of course proceeded to walk it through the house. I've spent two days finding splodges of food colour in unusual areas of the house! This is not something I'd imagine Nigella would do! Thankfully the cats somehow avoided walking through it! Something else I can't see Nigella doing is nearly answering the door to the Ocado delivery man in pyjama bottoms covered in so much food dye she resembles John Hurt character in Alien after the 'birth' scene.
So if you're like me and a little bit messy, and blonde, then these cupcakes are messy little buggers to make BUT they are so delicious you forget about the mess as soon as you sink your teeth into one!
I've only made red velvet cupcakes once before, and while they were ok I was never fussed to make them again - however these cupcakes will be made over and over - they were divine! As good, if not better (dare I say it!) than any I've had from some of London's more well known cupcakeries. The base was incredibly moist - we ate the last two cupcakes today, (two days after baking), and they were still moist and full of flavour. But, what really made these cupcakes delicious was the frosting. I'm often not a fan of cream cheese frosting, finding it a bit claggy on the palate but this one was perfect. Nigella calls for some lemon juice or cider vinegar to be added to the frosting, I opted for lemon juice as vinegar sounded yuk, and it really made a difference and made the frosting the kind of melt in your mouth cream cheese frosting I've been striving to make for some time. This will definitely be my 'go to' cream cheese recipe from now on.
It wasn't just me and Manny who enjoyed them - I took some to work and was told by one colleague that they were "the lick" which I'm led to believe means good! They were certainly snaffled quick sharp! I was also encouraged to leave my job and take up baking instead. If only!
And, I don't mean to blow my own trumpet but I have to say I think my cupcakes look better than the domestic goddesses - Nigella seems to just slop on her frosting. Tut tut. Less time stroking fruit suggestively and thrusting your chest at the camera young lady, and more time practising those piping skills. Just imagine the double entendres you could smoulder at the camera while wielding an oozing frosting bag?
Finally, Ms Lawson can spout on about liking greedy people all she wants but she is slightly mean with her cupcake sizes. This recipe was meant to make 24 (I knew it wouldn’t from the quantities) but I got 12 – it could’ve perhaps stretched to 13 as one was a whopper! Mind you who am I to quibble over size when they taste so luscious.
And in a non-cupcake departure I also made the Thai Chicken Noodle Soup from Kitchen and it was so delicious I couldn't wait to scoff it before I got a decent picture. Sorry!
Oh, I forgot, originally I'd said I was going to do something different with the red velvet cupcakes - my original plan had been to top them with pomegranate as for some reason I always think of them when I think of Nigella (her going on about them being jewels gets my goat for some reason) but they were so beautiful and pure looking I couldn't bring myself do sully them!