Red Velvet Cupcakes from Bluebell’s Cakery by Karla Goodwin

Red Velvet Cupcakes from the book Bluebells Cakery by Karla Goodwin. Bluebell’s Cakery is a boutique bakery in Auckland, New Zealand. Karla trained at Primrose Bakery in London.





These cupcakes have a nice cake consistency moist yet spongey. Because the cake was red and the icing was white with red hearts sprinkled on top, Mum and I made these for Valentines Day. Anything Red Velvet, be it cupcakes, cakes, or whoopie pies seems to have become very popular lately. I have been wanting to make Red Velvet Cupcakes for such a long time, but the thought of the red food colouring has put me off a bit. Indulging in the red food colouring once in a while is ok, so I have been waiting to find a special recipe that looks like it will make Red Velvet Cupcakes like in my local cafe Tomato. This recipe seemed to fit the bill. Since then….Tomato Cafe offered me their special recipe! I am so thrilled about this, so look out for a future article when I have made them. I thought it would be nice, in the interest of sharing, to offer Tomato a recipe in return, so I gave them the Spinach and Cream Cheese Muffin recipe (see my previous article for the recipe).



A few pointers about this Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe:

  • We whisked the egg lightly before adding it.
  • The cocoa, red food colouring and vanilla paste made a very thick paste that was too thick to add into the mixer successfully, so we had to mix in some of the liquid mixture of egg and sugar that was in the mixer at the time to thin the paste out and make it easier to add to the mixer.
  • We found the Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing made more than we needed and it softens very quickly, so as soon as we had iced the cupcakes we put them in the fridge.
  • These cupcakes are great accompanied with a nice hot cup of coffee!





RED VELVET CUPCAKES from Bluebell’s Cakery by Karla Goodwin


Makes 12

Use level measures


1 ½ cups (185g) plain flour

½ tsp salt

½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature (you can make your own: see below)

½ tsp good-quality vanilla extract

4 tsp (20ml) red liquid food colouring

1 tbsp Dutch cocoa

2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar

½ cup + 2 tbsp (150ml) canola oil

1 large free-range egg

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp white vinegar


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius for fan-bake). Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

Sift the four and salt into a bowl and set aside. Prepare the buttermilk in a jug and set aside. Mix vanilla, food colouring and cocoa to a paste and set aside.

Whisk the sugar and oil with a handheld electric mixer until combined well. Add the egg and beat well after each addition. Add the cocoa paste and mix well, scraping down the sides to ensure an even mixture.

Add a third of the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated, then pour in a third of the buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up and mixed in well.

Finally (don’t forget this step!), mix together the baking soda and vinegar (it will foam). Add to the cake batter and beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Make sure you scrape down the bowl to ensure everything is well mixed.

Divide the mixture between the cases, filling to at least two-thirds full.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Cool in the tray for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When cool, top with the vanilla cream cheese icing and decorate with red fondant hearts.

These cupcakes will keep for 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.


The cupcakes baked evenly and all were rounded on the top.



Red heart decorations


Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing:

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature

175g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

3 ½ cups (525g) icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp good-quality vanilla extract


Beat the butter in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer until smooth and lump-free. Add the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated. Slowly add the icing sugar in three batches, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat on high speed for a few minutes until the icing is light in colour and fluffy.

If making this beforehand: Keep icing in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge. Before using, bring back to room temperature and beat again until fluffy.

This icing will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.





To make ½ cup (125ml)


½ cup milk at room temperature

1 ½ tsp white vinegar or lemon juice


Pour milk into a jug and remove 1 ½ tspns of milk. Add the vinegar or lemon juice and stir. Leave to sit for a few minutes before using.



Look out for this book: Bluebell’s Cakery by Karla Goodwin. Throughout the book are lovely recipes plus instructions on how to hand-ice cakes and cupcakes, make biscuits, slices, a chapter with ideas for high-tea, desserts, jams and more. The book has a vintage theme to it and I love looking through this book and looking at the pictures. I am in awe of the beautifully decorated edible goodies. I had to buy the book because I couldn’t put it down, and Mum and I are sharing it. I have so many favourite pictures in this book, but my ultimate favourite is the multi-layered Vanilla Rainbow Cake, a cake so glorious it has layers of cake with graduations in colour from two layers of pink cake to two layers of peach then two layers of lemon, plus icing between each layer of cake, and rosette icing on the outside matching the colour of the cake inside. It has to be seen and drooled over. And look at the magnificent cake on the cover of the book with its ruffle icing.




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