Martha Stewart’s Red Velvet Cupcakes @ The Fig Tree Beijing


I have absolutely no talent for baking, but managed to make some pretty good tasting cupcakes, even though I failed at presentation. The Fig Tree is Beijing’s latest pastry school started by Shanghainese/New Yorker Lin Zhong. The school has a gorgeous high ceiling kitchen with two large island tables, equipped with every possible cooking utensil you can dream of.

We made Martha Steward’s Red Velvet Cupcakes today and it was way easier than I imagined it to be. What I loved about it was that crunchy texture of the not yet fully dissolved fine granular sugar, top with a smooth coat of cream cheese and gelatine fondant.

Recipe for Cupcakes:
Makes 18

157g sunflower seed oil
160g castor sugar
1/2 tbs salt
50g egg (1 egg)
drops of red food colouring

8g of cocoa power
190g of pastry flour
120g of milk

3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp white vinegar

Whisk the sunflower oil and castor sugar, add the egg, salt and food colour. sift the pastry flour and cocoa powder and add them in quarters to the mixture, after stirring in the first quarter, add a third of the milk and mix it by folding petals in the mixture (Lin says it’s all about the technique). Then mix the vinegar with baking soda and pour the whole mixture in.

Gelatin Fondant:
5g powder gelatine
1tbs water
1tbs glucose
1tsp glycerine
drops of almond or vanilla extract
250g icing sugar

Directions: (I hope I remember right but basically everything goes in together)
Add the water to the gelatine powder and stir it over a heated trough of water then mix in the glucose and glycerine. Create a little dent in the centre of the icing sugar and knead the sticky chunk together with the icy until you get a doughy thing. Just like how you do with pasta. Then add the almond/vanilla extract and colour.

I was not paying attention by then, so here is a sensibly simple cream cheese recipe I found.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
500g cream cheese, softened
115g butter, softened
460g sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.


Beautiful cupcakes by my classmates

My classmates were all lovely mothers gifted at baking and I felt a little left behind struggling with the precise measurements. I was a little crest fallen knowing I would never be able to emulate Julia Child, or be a good mother with the alien cupcakes that turned out—looking even more monstrous (but still edible) after I took them out on the bicycle.

My attempts at putting cream cheese frosting on my cupcake


All this cups and ounces conversion makes me crazy…

img_02631 img_0267

Thank you Sam for signing me up for the class! it was Super!

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