Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese-marshmallow frosting

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 12 people

These red velvet cupcakes are inspired by a recipe by Nigel Slater. A cream cheese-marshmallow frosting and a few sparklers add fun to the mix.

  • 1 large beetroot (about 300 gm)
  • 120 gm dark chocolate (66% cocoa solids)
  • 200 gm butter, at room temperature
  • 190 gm caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 15 drops red food colouring
  • 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour
  • 25 gm (¼ cup) Dutch-process cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • To serve: silver cachous
  •  
  • Cream cheese-marshmallow frosting
  • 250 gm cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp liquid glucose or corn syrup
  • 150 gm caster sugar
  • 1 eggwhite
  • 2 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 5 minutes
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
01   Preheat oven to 160C. Cook beetroot in a saucepan of boiling water until tender (40 minutes to 1 hour), then set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel, then transfer 200gm to a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth purée.
02   Melt chocolate in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, then set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy, then add yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate, beetroot purée and food colouring, sieve flour, cocoa and baking powder over and fold to combine. Whisk eggwhites in a separate bowl to soft peaks, then fold into chocolate mixture. Spoon into a 12-cup muffin tray lined with paper cases and bake until an inserted skewer withdraws clean (20-25 minutes). Set aside to cool.
03   For cream cheese-marshmallow frosting, beat cream cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon until very soft (2-3 minutes) and set aside. Stir glucose, 100gm sugar and 40ml water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and cook until syrup reaches 118C on a sugar thermometer (4-5 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk eggwhite and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add remaining sugar and whisk until glossy. When syrup reaches 127C (3-4 minutes), remove from heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to syrup and stir to dissolve. Whisking on low-medium speed, gradually add syrup to meringue, then whisk on high speed until thick and cooled to room temperature (10-15 minutes). Beat in cream cheese and vanilla seeds and refrigerate, beating occasionally, until firm (15-20 minutes). Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted tube, then pipe generous peaks on top of red velvet cupcakes. Scatter with silver cachous, stand to set (30 minutes), then serve.
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