|Mini red velvet cupcakes|
Grandparents hold a special place in a grandchild's life. Unfortunately mine were all dead by the time I was eight. It;s sad because at that age you just can't understand the wealth of love and support that grandparents provide. From juicy scandal to hurl against your parents in the latest bout of hormone driven teen angst ('Granny said you were caught drinking behind the school when you were 15!') to stories of times gone by and memoirs of great moments in modern history, I feel like I've missed out.
My boyfriend's grandfather died this week and I wanted to be supportive in any way I can. Just as with births and marriages, each culture has its way of marking the death of a person. In Ireland it is traditional to hold a wake where the relative's or close family member's house is opened up and people come to give their sympathies to family members and say a few prayers if they choose. It may sound weird and intrusive but really its a celebration of the deceased and an offering of support to those grieving. In true Irish hospitality there is always an accompanying cup of tea, sandwiches and baking for visitors. These red velvet cupcakes were perfect, special but not showy and always a winning combination with cream cheese icing to accompany the moist red chocolate sponge.
65g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
130g plain flour
125ml buttermilk, at room temp
1 large egg
1 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp red food colouring paste
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl for 5-6 minutes until fluffy. The mixture should be very pale.
2. Beat the egg lightly in a cup and add one third egg and a heaped tablespoon of flour and beat well after every addition until all the egg is incorporated.
3. In a large bowl mix the buttermilk with the red food colouring. If the buttermilk is too cold the colouring might congeal so let the buttermilk come to room temperature first.
3. In a clean dry flour sieve the remaining flour, cocoa powder together and then add the salt.
4. Add one third of the buttermilk mix, followed by one third of the flour mix well after each addition until all the flour and buttermilk is gone.
5. Mix the bicarb and vinegar in a small cup until fizzy and quickly fold into the cupcake batter.
6. Bake at 180oC fan oven for 18-20 minutes until cool. A skewer should come out clean when inserted.
Cream cheese icing recipe to follow!