Recently it was my little sisters 26th Birthday, so to celebrate I offered to throw her an afternoon tea. My sister is a lover of all things retro, so I thought I would give it a bit of a Mad Men theme.
On the menu were cucumber sandwiches (and ham and cheese, although that’s not so retro!)
Devilled eggs – these were creamy and quite yummy, although not the prettiest as I am not a patient person!
We also had some sausage rolls made by my sister, some mini spinach quiches and this lovely lemon tart, again made by my sister.
I also made red velvet cupcakes to finish the afternoon tea off. Again, not sure how retro they are, but I associate them with America and to me they are quite a traditional cupcake. That being said, I had never cooked them before and would rarely order them if I saw them on a cupcake menu. Having made them though, I am not sure why that is!
They are really moist, and nice and subtley flavoured. I’m normally not the biggest cream cheese frosting fan, but being able to control the sugar content in it meant that I could get the balance just right.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Via Martha Stewart
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
- To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.
Cream Cheese Icing
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.