This is different than other red velvet cupcake recipes I've seen in that it adds white vinegar. Usually, buttermilk is a common ingredient in red velvet recipes and if you don't have buttermilk, savvy bakers will advise you to add a little vinegar to regular milk to get the same effect. This one uses buttermilk and adds a little more vinegar. That must account for the fluffiness of the texture with the acidity being tempered by the baking soda.
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 3/4 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon red gel food coloring
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, slightly softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Slowly add half the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture, beat until just combined after each addition. Do not overmix.
- Divide the batter evenly among the liners and bake until the tops are just dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 17 to 19 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.
- Make frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until incorporated.
- Increase the speed to medium, add the vanilla and beat until fully blended, 1 to 2 minutes, making sure not to incorporate too much air into the frosting.