Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Halloween Red Velvet cupcakes

 9 Halloween Red Velvet cupcakes topped with ghosts, pumpkins and witches' hats

It was my turn to make cakes for the Friday meeting at work this week and, being so close to Halloween, I thought that they needed to be themed. I hadn’t made cupcakes for a while and so decided to make some Red Velvet cupcakes and also a Primrose Bakery Lemon Layer Cake.

Needing inspiration, I turned, as usual, to Flickr: a simple search for Halloween cakes brought up loads of ideas. Some of the cakes were extremely gory and although they were very clever, I just don’t fancy eating cakes with fake blood pouring out of them! I decided to go for something quite simple – grass-covered cupcakes with pumpkins, ghosts and witches’ hats!

The Red Velvet recipe came from a Sara Stanley cupcake course at the Bertinet Kitchen: we did 6 different flavours on the day – 3 of which I completely love – including this ultra-light and fluffy Red Velvet recipe. I’m not really a chocolate cake fan (secret, shameful fact – I’m actually not that fussed about chocolate at all), but these only have a tiny smidgeon of cocoa and they’re absolutely gorgeous! I add mashed up raspberries to the raspberry jam to liven it up a bit. I don’t use the food colouring as I don’t really see the need!

On this occasion, I topped the cupcakes with simple vanilla buttercream rather than a cream cheese frosting that normally tops them. The cream cheese frosting tastes fantastic and goes brilliantly with these cupcakes, but has to be eaten immediately, or be kept in the fridge, and the cakes go a little hard when kept in the fridge. A standard vanilla buttercream is also a lot easier to work with – which was necessary for piping the grass.

As a warning, this recipe rises a lot! It says that it makes 14 cupcakes (which is a bit annoying seeing as typically tins have 12 holes!) – I decided to just spread it over 12 and some of them overspilled by quite a bit!

Red Velvet cupcakes
(makes 14)
Red Velvet cupcake topped with buttercream grass and a fondant ghost


  1. 160g Castor sugar
  2. 110g soft margarine
  3. 1 egg
  4. 160g plain flour
  5. 10g cocoa
  6. ½ tsp salt
  7. ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. 120g buttermilk
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 1 tsp malt vinegar
  11. ½ whole bottle of red food colouring (optional)
  12. Approx 4 tblsp raspberry jam
  13. Approx 14 raspberries

Vanilla buttercream
  1. 110g butter at room temperature
  2. 60ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 500g icing sugar
  5. Food colouring as required


  1. Preheat oven to 165C.
  2. Beat sugar and marge until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add beaten egg gradually, mixing until smooth and light.
  4. Weigh the dry ingredients into a separate bowl.
  5. Sieve the dry ingredients into the beaten mixture, bit by bit, stirring gently between each addition.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and mix gently to incorporate.    
  7. Put cupcake cases into bun tin and fill two-thirds of each case with cake mixture.
  8. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the cakes spring back when touched lightly.  
While the cakes are baking, make the buttercream:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth.
  2. Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar and beat again until smooth and creamy.
  3. If adding colour, add drop by drop until the desired colour is achieved.
Filling and decorating the cakes
  1. Mash the raspberries and mix with jam. Warm gently if needed
  2. Once cakes are cooked and cooled, use a tea spoon to cut a cone out from the centre of the cakes.
  3. Cut the top disk off each cone and retain.
  4. Fill the hole in each cake with the raspberry jam mix and then replace a cake disk onto each cake to seal the hole.
  5. Pipe buttercream on top of each cake. 
Red Velvet cupcake with buttercream grass and topped with a witch's hat

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