Just as I was thinking it was high time for some midnight baking, March arrived and with it the birthday of Miss Lottie Shaw. More than a good enough excuse to stay up late one Thursday night preparing for the big day. We were to celebrate on a Friday night in Soho, so I felt the need for something exciting. I pulled down the trusty Hummingbird cookbook and what did I find: bright red cupcakes. Fun, pretty, out-of-the-ordinary, just like Lottie.
Now, this is the first time an ingredient such as food colouring has appeared in the Kitchen, the Keston ladies preferring our food au naturel, but these cakes came so highly recommended that I made and exception. Indeed Charlotte, a woman of high standards and healthy food snobbery, raved about them so much when Rachy made them last year that I knew they were worth a try. If they get a Charlotte endorsement, they gotta be good. The girl got taste.
Having bright red cake mixture in your baking bowl at midnight is very exciting. It takes you back to your youth: the more colourful the food the better. For me, it evoked fond memories of sitting in Rachy's mum's kitchen at a young age smothering rich tea biscuits with bright green icing and sweets (post to follow Midnight baking: the early years).
Back to the cakes. While you wait for the little red delights to bake, you make the delicious cream frosting. This just adds to the colour extravaganza: it looks like an ordinary cake, but as you bite through the cream icing you encounter a red surprise.
As these cupcakes are so pretty, I thought it fitting to present them in a box covered in cupcake wrapping paper. Damn, sometimes it good to be a girl.
When handed out to Lottie's lovely friends who had arrived to celebrate her birth, they were a resounding success. This is the real surprise of these cakes: they are delicious! They have an amazing flavour (containing both chocolate and vanilla) and a rich dense texture. Yum.
So, to inject a bit of colour into your baking, go for the red velvet.