I generally greatly dislike red velvet and definitely do not understand the fascination with them. Super red flavored cupcakes? Why not blue? Or purple? Plus, I'm pretty sure that the distinct taste of these are because they contain lethal amounts of red food dye.
BUT, I love my friends who requested them and therefore searched for a recipe that I could use. My #1 favorite, Neverbashfulwithbutter has a red velvet cherry recipe that sounded just about right. I took it and altered it a bit for myself as I usually do.. and it came out edible AND good. The cherry flavoring balanced out the weird sour taste of the red velvet, so they were not too weird and not too sweet.
Red Velvet Cherry Cupcakes
(Adapted from Neverbashfulwithbutter's recipe)
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring paste
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cherry extract (I used 1/4 cherry candy flavoring)
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in one egg at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add red food paste and cocoa, beating on low until mixed well.
Sift together the flours, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Stir buttermilk, cherry juice, cherry flavoring and almond extract together in a separate bowl. Alternate dry and wet mixtures into the sugar mixture, until blended on low. Mix just until blended. Add sour cream and beat on low until combined.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cupcakes done (my oven is often weird). Finish on cooling racks.
This recipe made 30 cupcakes for me, I topped them with pink cream cheese frosting, a pinch of pearl dust and nonpareils.
Cream Cheese Frosting1 stick softened butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4-5 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of milk (I like heavy cream, myself)
1/4 teaspoon pink food coloring paste
Mix butter and cream cheese until blended with a hand or stand mixer. Slowly add in 1 cup of powdered sugar, slowly. Once it's combined, add a tablespoon or two of milk. Add powdered sugar 1-2 cups at a time, until blended. Add a tablespoon of milk at a time to reduce the thickness of the frosting. Add 1/4 teaspoon of pink food coloring paste, blending until completely mixed in. Apply as desired.