I was feeling the holiday spirit; which is not easy living where it doesn’t snow, and I wanted to make something to reflect my holiday cheer. Since I wasn’t really in the mood to make Christmas cookies I decided red velvet was a pretty holiday color.  This was my first attempt at red velvet cupcakes and I think they came out pretty good, all things considered.  FYI:  through some quick online research I discovered that cream cheese is not the traditional frosting used on red velvet cake.  It’s actually more like the filling of a hostess cupcake or a twinkie (who knew!).  Anyways, I would much rather have the cream cheese frosting, which is probably why it has become so popular on red velvet.

2 ½  cups flour ½  cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ½  teaspoon salt 1 cup butter, room temperature 2 cups sugar 4 eggs 1 cup sour cream ½  cup milk 1 ounce red food coloring 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed approximately 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup ⅔  full.

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove red velvet cupcakes from pans and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

½ cup butter, room temperature 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 4 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract Instructions: Beat butter and cream cheese until blended well.  Add in vanilla and mix. Gradually add in powdered sugar until you reach your preferred sweetness.

Tips: Adding all 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar will result in an extremely sweet frosting.  Another way I make Cream Cheese frosting; that has been passed down from my grandmother, is extremely easy.  Beat together 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese and 1 (7 ounce) jar of Marshmallow cream (Jet-Puffed or Fluff).  I’ve frosted cakes and cupcakes with it, also great to dip fruit.  Try it, you will definitely be surprised!