The "Janis Joplin"-a yummy RED VELVET CUPCAKE

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(At Peace, Love and Cupcakes we’ve named this cupcake the “JANIS JOPLIN.”)

For the cupcakes:
1 ¾ c cake flour
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup safflower oil, or some other neutral oil
1 ¼ cups sugar
4 large egg whites, ½ cup
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon red food coloring
½ teaspoon white vinegar
¾ cup buttermilk, well shaken

For the frosting:
9 oz. full fat cream cheese
1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon heavy cream

Make the cupcakes:
        Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
        Top a medium size mixing bowl with a strainer. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, and push through the strainer to eliminate any lumps. Set aside.
        In another medium-size mixing bowl, add the rest of the cupcake ingredients and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and combine well.
        Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the muffin tins filling them ¾’s full. Bake for 19-22 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean and the cake feels springy to the touch. Cool completely.

Make the frosting:
        Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, and beat just until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and heavy cream and beat just until smooth and creamy.
        Fit a piping bag with a plain ½” tip and fill the bag halfway with frosting and top each cupcake with a few swirls. Alternatively, top each cupcake with 2-3 Tablespoons of frosting and decoratively swirl with a knife or spoon.
        Keep the cupcakes refrigerated until ready to serve.
        Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for 3 months.

Makes two dozen cupcakes.       YUM!

LESSONS Learned:
1. I don’t like using a lot of red food color, and I love more cocoa flavor, which makes a less red colored cupcake. If you want a brighter red cupcake, you can up the food color by one Tablespoon, and lower the cocoa powder by one Tablespoon. But the flavor will not be the same.
2. Beat the frosting just until smooth and creamy. If you overbeat it, it may curdle!
3. This recipe makes and frosts 24 cupcakes. If you like, you could freeze some of the unfrosted cupcakes in freezer bags or an air tight container for up to 3 months, and cut the frosting recipe in half.