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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients for the Cupcakes
• 250 grams Waitrose Essential plain flour
• 2 tablespoons Venchi cocoa powder (sifted)
• 2 teaspoons Waitrose Essential baking powder
• ½ teaspoon Waitrose Essential bicarbonate of soda
• 100 grams Benna soft unsalted butter
• 200 grams Waitrose Essential caster sugar
• 1 heaped tablespoon red paste food colouring
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• 150 millilitres Benna buttermilk
• 1 teaspoon cider vinegar


For the Buttery Cream-Cheese Frosting
• 500 grams Waitrose Essential icing sugar
• 125 grams Benna cream cheese
• 125 grams Benna soft unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
• chocolate sprinkles for decoration
• red sugar for decoration


Method for the Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/325°F, and line a muffin tin with paper cases. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating well, and when you have a soft, pale mixture beat in the food colouring and the vanilla. Into this vividly coloured mixture, still beating, add half spoonful of the dried ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by some more dried ingredients, then the other egg, followed by the rest of the dried ingredients. Finally beat in the buttermilk and the vinegar and divide this extraordinary batter between the 12 cases. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes by which time the redcurrant-sorbet-coloured batter will have morphed into a more sombre, but still juicily tinted, sponge . Leave them to cool on a wire rack and do not ice with the frosting till absolutely cold.


For the buttery cream-cheese frosting
Put the icing sugar into a processor and whizz to remove lumps. Add the cream cheese and butter and process to mix. Pour in the cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and process again to make a smooth icing. Ice each cupcake, using a teaspoon or small spatula. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles and red sugar, or as desired.