Blue Velvet Cupcakes

2 cups sugar 
2 sticks butter, softened 
2 eggs 
1 Tbs. cocoa powder 
1 Tbs. Wilton food coloring gel in Royal Blue 
Wilton food coloring gel in Violet – stick a toothpick in the bottle and use that amount 
a teaspoon or two of water 
2 1/2 cups cake flour 
1 tsp. salt 
1 cup buttermilk 
1 tsp. vanilla 
1/2 tsp. baking soda 
1 Tbs. vinegar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Put cupcake liners in the cupcake pans.

In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa, food coloring gel and water together to form a paste. Add to the ingredients in the mixer bowl and blend well. Stir the flour and salt together and add to the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix well. Blend in the vanilla. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar and then add that to the other ingredients in the mixer.

Fill the cupcake liners with batter, about 2/3 of the way full. The batter will be thick. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)

Mix cream cheese with butter until smooth. Add extracts. Slowly add sugar and blend until light and fluffy! Use a piping bag with a round #8 tip to create fluffy cupcake tops!