recipe from epicurious.com but the pictures are my own.
red velvet cupcakes
* 3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 cups sugar
* 3 large eggs, at room temperature
* 6 tablespoons red food coloring
* 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 recipe Creamy Vanilla Frosting
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.
To make the cake: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting between the layers, then ice the top and sides of the cake with Creamy Vanilla Frosting.
Epicurious Test-Kitchen Tip: This recipe also makes 2 dozen cupcakes. Use 2 muffin pans, each with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups, and line each cup with a paper liner. (There's no need to grease the cups.) Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and bake the cupcakes, switching positions of the pans halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing. To ice, mound about 1/4 cup of frosting on top of each cupcake and use an icing spatula to make a swirl on top. If desired, decorate with colored sprinkles.
creamy vanilla frosting:
* 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 cups milk
* 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 10-15 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.
Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (no less and no longer—set a timer!). Use immediately.
NOTE: i usually make martha's buttercream frosting, but this one is so much better and lighter and fluffier. i'll definitely use it again!
NOTE: this recipe made 28 cupcakes. and way more frosting than needed. we should have piled it on a bit more. :-)