Always up for a challenge, I decided to enter the Great Godalming Baking Competition.
I chose to make Red Velvet cupcakes, topped with cream cheese frosting, dark chocolate and a cherry. Here is the recipe:
RED VELVET CUPCAKES
150g (5oz) self-raising flour
2tbs cocoa powder
Half tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cider vinegar
50g (2oz) softened lightly salted butter
100g (3.5oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) raw beetroot, peeled and finely grated
200g (7oz) full fat cream cheese
2tsp vanilla extract
300g (10oz) icing sugar
Fresh cherries and plain chocolate to decorate
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F), 160 C fan, gas mark 4.
Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
Mix the buttermilk and vinegar in a jug.
In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy, then beat in egg and beetroot.
Sift half the flour mixture into the bowl with the butter and sugar mixture, stir gently with a metal spoon. Stir in half the buttermilk mixture. Sift and stir remaining flour mixture, then remaining buttermilk mixture.
Divide mixture between the 12 muffin cases.
Bake for 20-25 mins or until risen and firm to the touch (mine only took 15 mins as my oven is hot).
Cool on wire rack.
Beat cream cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon until softened. Beat in vanilla extract and icing sugar until smooth. Swirl over top of cakes.
I did a trial run, so I could try a variety of different topping styles:
1. Piped swirl
2. Piped horizontal
3. Plain chocolate chunks
4. Peeled plain chocolate (with a potato peeler)
5. Grated plain chocolate
7. Spooned, peeled plain chocolate (my chosen option)
8. Cocoa dusting
9. Peeled white chocolate
10. Heavier cocoa dusting
My son selflessly did a taste testing for me! He wolfed it down, including the cherry stone and stalk!
For the competition, I decided to go with the theme “Cherry picking” (my friend suggested “Popping your cherry” but that seemed a little risky!), so unpacked my gardening trug, gave it a rinse and lined it with fabric and hessian.
I then loaded the new cakes into the trug and surrounded them with cherries. I placed the trug on my best gardening gloves and put it all on a piece of AstroTurf.
The Great Godalming Baking Competition was judged by Jo Wheatley, winner of the Great British Bake-off 2011. The competition level was high and, in the end, first prize for cupcakes went to a bouquet of cupcakes and runner up was a series of Cookie Monster/beach/popcorn.
My cupcakes have been distributed to friends to be enjoyed, as we have all got a bit caked out!
Thanks for reading and happy baking.