Makes 12 cupcakes
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons no-taste red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
For the vanilla cream cheese frosting:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese
For the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 paper baking cups.
2. Sift together the flour and salt, and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar at medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
5. Using a whisk, whisk together the red food coloring, vanilla and cocoa powder. Slowly add this to the mixer bowl, mixing slowly until well incorporated.
6. Add a third of the flour, followed by a third of the milk, and mix. Repeat. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the last third of the flour, followed by the last third of the milk, and mix until incorporated.
7. In a small bowl, add the baking soda to the apple cider vinegar. You will see the baking soda and vinegar fizz up! Mix thoroughly and add this reaction to the batter. Mix until just incorporated.
8. Using a standard-size ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into a cupcake pan so each well is 2/3 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer filled with the paddle attachment; beat until well combined. Be sure to beat on high speed at the very end for at least 2 minutes to ensure that the frosting is light and fluffy.
2. Transfer frosting into a plastic piping bag fitted with a round metal tip. Frost each cupcake with a swirl of frosting. Serve and enjoy!
*To make lower fat version:
Substitute whole milk with low-fat or non-fat milk
Substitute cream cheese with low-fat or non-fat cream cheese
source: The Cupcake Diaries: Recipes & Memories from the Sisters of Georgetown Cupcake