2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon red food color
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cream cheese icing:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Note: If you do not have buttermilk, you can make this easy substitute: Combine 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice and let it stand at room temperature for one hour. Voila!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard cupcake tin with paper liners.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder into a bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and sugar until well combined. Add the buttermilk, food color with vinegar and vanilla extract and whisk well to incorporate.
Add the sifted flour mixture and whisk to combine. Do not over work the batter!!!
Divide the batter evenly in the lined cupcake tin, filling each three-quarters full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick that is inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
If your oven does not cook evenly, rotate the trays after 15 minutes of baking.
Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack completely before icing.
To make the cream cheese icing beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar a little at a time while beating on the lowest speed and add vanilla extract. Increase the speed and beat until light, smooth and fluffy.
Pipe a swirl of icing over the cupcakes using a pastry bag or just use a small offset spatula to spread the icing on the cupcakes.