Red Velvet Cupcake

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

You will need: a 12-hole muffin tray, 12 paper cases measuring at least 4 cm in height, and 5 cm circle at the base, a hand held electric whisk, measuring cups and spoons, a fine grater or microplane, a rubber spatula, a piping bag and fluted nozzle, a large mixing bowl, a small saucepan.


  • 1/2 cup raw beetroot, peeled and finely grated (3.25 oz)less is more or the strong taste of the beets comes through in finished cupcake, I recommend using 1 small beet or ½ cup grated
  • 3 medium organic free-range eggs
  • ¾ cup caster sugar= 190g= 6.65 oz
  • 1 cup white flour= 130g = 4.6 oz
  • ½ cup ground almonds= 1 oz
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp red food colouring paste (25g) (I’m using christmas red)
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • For the icing:
    • 170g icing sugar 1 ½ cups
    • 4 teaspoons water
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
    • 1 medium egg white (= 35g)
    • small pinch salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C 350F conventional setting.
  2. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases.
  3. Weigh out the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk for a full 5 minutes until pale and doubled in size.
  5. Add the grated beetroot, as well as the flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
  6. Finally, add the buttermilk and food colouring and whisk again to make sure that all the ingredients are well blended together.
  7. Spoon into the cupcake cases, taking care not to fill more than 2/3 rds of the way up the case, or it will overflow when cooking. There should be just the right amount of mixture for 12 cases up to this amount.
  8. Cook in the middle of a hot oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Whilst the cupcakes are cooking, make the icing.
  10. Place all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar with a clean metal spoon for 4 minutes exactly.
  11. When the mixture is warm and the time is up, remove the bowl from the heat and beat with a hand held electric whisk. Whisk until cool and the mixture has turned into a full blown meringue- this will take no more than 5 minutes. You can test that it is cool by just dipping your finger in- anything warmer than blood temperature is too hot, so it’s worth being patient.
  12. The mixture is ready to use when it’s standing up like snow covered Swiss peaks.
  13. If piping, simply fill the piping bag in the usual way. Be sure to ice the cakes very quickly as it will start to set and as such likes to be used when just made.
  14. If simply icing with the help of a palette knife, proceed in the usual way, remembering to work quickly so that the icing doesn’t have time to set before you use it.