How incongruous is it that currently the best selling pastry in New York is a southern specialty? Sure, this is all about the novelty, but wouldn't it be a great day when a cupcake and a new shade of lipstick could make you feel as if you are the most remarkable person alive? Though I often try to avoid dairy recipes, don't bother with dairy substitutes in this recipe. From experience, I can tell you it won't work here. As this is a recipe from the American South, buttermilk is a key ingredient. With my editor's help I came up with some buttermilk alternatives. You can either make your own mock buttermilk (instructions below); use Rivyon, which is a liquid leben sold in milk containers, with the added benefit of having only 1.5 percent fat; or use the more solid Gil, which is a 3% fat leben. Any of the three will work well in this recipe. For one quantity buttermilk: 1â„2 cup whole milk 1â„2 Tbsp. white vinegar For cupcakes: 1 1â„4 cups cake flour, not self-rising (look for Stybel brand flour) 1â„4 cup cocoa powder (I prefer Cadbury's) 1â„2 tsp. baking soda 1â„2 tsp. baking powder Pinch of salt 1â„2 cup buttermilk alternative 1 tsp. white vinegar About 2 tsp. red food coloring (For a vermilion shade, use Wilton food coloring gels) 1â„2 cup less 2 Tbsp. sugar 55 gr. butter, very soft 1 egg For vanilla butter cream frosting: 110 gr cream cheese, softened 40 gr. butter, very soft 2 cups powdered sugar 1â„2 tsp. vanilla If making your own buttermilk: In a small bowl combine milk and vinegar and leave for five minutes until the mixture looks a bit curdled. Set aside or in the fridge until ready to use. For cupcakes: Pre-heat oven to 160ÂºC. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and enough food coloring to give you a very red liquid, set aside. In a medium bowl or in a stand-mixer bowl, beat the butter until soft and fluffy, add the sugar and mix well. Add egg and mix well. Now add the dry ingredients, alternating with the wet ingredients and mixing between each addition. Finish mixing with a spatula, while scraping down the sides. The mixture will be brick red. If you want a more vermillion shade, cut the cocoa powder in half. You will be sacrificing a little on taste, but if red is what you are afterâ€¦ Fill the cupcake cases a little more than half way, pop in the oven for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in a cupcake comes out with a few crumbs on it. For frosting: Let cakes cool completely before frosting. In a stand-mixer or using a hand-held electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until very smooth, scraping down the sides as you go. Add about half the sugar and mix. Continue adding sugar until you reach a consistency you like. Once you have reached your desired consistency, add vanilla while mixing and top the cupcakes with the frosting.