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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

2 ½ cups cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon red gel-paste food coloring, or 1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in food coloring and vanilla.
3. Reduce speed to low and add in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together baking soda and vinegar until foamy; add mixture to the batter and beat well to combine.
4. Divide batter evenly between prepared cups, filling three-quarters of the way full. (The usual 2 tablespoons of batter isn’t enough for these cupcakes. Fill a little fuller, otherwise you’ll have really short cupcakes.) Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes. (If you get a couple that the tops have spilled over onto the pans and seem stuck, run a knife around the edges of the cupcake to release before pulling them out of the tins to avoid ripping the tops off.) Once cooled, top with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes
Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ packages (8 ounces each) full fat cream cheese, almost room temperature*
1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

*Note: I always have issues with my cream cheese frosting being almost runny, making it really hard to pipe onto cupcakes. After researching how to keep it thick, I saw on How to Eat a Cupcake to have the cream cheese cold rather than at room temperature. I tried this the first time and it really did work to keep it thick, however, it was almost too thick and practically popped my piping bag. So my second attempt, I took it out of the fridge about a half an hour to 45 minutes before I made my frosting, so it had softened a bit, but still had a bit of chill to it. It worked much better keeping it thick yet pipeable.

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until well combined. (I actually cut both my butter and cream cheese into cubes to make it easier to beat them together without over beating.) Add salt and vanilla extract, beating until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

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