- 250 g caster sugar
- 125 g butter
- 2 free-range eggs
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 T red food colouring
- 280 g cake flour
- 3 T cocoa
- 1/2 t baking powder
- a pinch salt
- 1 t bicarbonate of soda
- 1 T vinegar
- strawberries, halved, to decorate
- For the cream cheese icing, mix:
- 250 g icing sugar
- 250 g cream cheese, at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Pour in the buttermilk, vanilla and food colouring.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the vinegar, then stir into the wet ingredients. Don't worry if the batter looks curdled at this stage – it'll come together once you add the flour.
4. Fold the flour mixture into the buttermilk mixture. Combine well but do not overmix.
5. Spoon the batter into a greased and lined muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes.
6. Allow to cool before icing. For best results, use a piping bag, or make your own by rolling a triangle of baking paper into a cone, and snipping off the end.
7. Decorate with halved strawberries after icing.
Cook's note: Bringing the buttermilk and eggs to room temperature will reduce the chance of the batter curdling. But don't worry – a slightly curdled wet mix will come together as soon as you add the flour.
Photograph: Sadiqah Assur-Ismail
Production: Jacqueline Burgess