The weather is playing mind games with the people here. The clouds are a deep grey, the air is still and it looks as though the rains would soothe our scorched souls any minute, but no; just a measly drop here and there, I wouldn’t even go as far as calling it a drizzle. The next thing you know, you feel like giving yourself an ice bath.
But this is the story of summer every year. Vendors still sell vegetables in the hot sun. Kids still play cricket, perhaps during the hottest part of the day. And I still bake, like I’ve been baking every other day. It’s a question of existence for some people and it’s also about doing what you love doing without paying heed to obstacles, in this case, a climate that is extremely volatile.
So sometimes, when the weather is so off putting, I don’t feel like setting myself up with too much considering my kitchen is the hottest part of the house. I want to do something as easy as combining wet and dry ingredients and let the oven do my work for me. Apart from the fact that they look pretty, there is a reason why cupcakes sell the way they do. They are super easy to make and one of the best things to make in batches.
I hardly repeat recipes but when I was thinking of making cupcakes, I thought I’ll revisit the red velvet land, but this time without eggs. Instead of butter, I used margarine. I added a dash of yogurt in place of eggs and some milk for a soft and fluffy texture. They were beautifully scarlet and well risen as they should be.
- 195 g (1 ½ cups) plain flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 113 g (1/2 cup) margarine
- 170 g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp yogurt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp distilled vinegar
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3-4 drops of red food colouring
For cream cheese frostin
- 227 g cream cheese
- 60 g (1/2 cup) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 80 ml (2/3 cup) whipped cream (whipped to stiff peaks)
Makes 12 cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with cupcake wrappers. Set aside.
- Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- Beat margarine until creamy. Add sugar and beat for 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Add yogurt, milk and vanilla extract. Beat on low for a minute.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Fold to combine. Add the red food colouring and combine.
- In a small bowl, add the vinegar. To that add the baking soda. As it fizzes, add it to the red velvet batter. Gently fold the batter to combine all the ingredients.
- Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack.
- For the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese until soft. Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Now fold in the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and beat on low for a minute.
- Fit a disposable piping bag with a nozzle of your choice. Fill the bag with the cream cheese frosting and pipe on the cooled cupcakes.