140 g/5 oz plain flour
1½ tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
4fl oz buttermilk
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp red food coloring paste
170 g/6 oz sugar
55 g/2 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
Soft Cheese Frosting
110 g/4 oz soft cheese, room temperature
110 g/4 oz butter, room temperature
450g/1lb icing sugar
seeds scraped from ½ a vanilla pod
1 tsp vanilla extract
coloured sprinkles to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a 12-hole non-stick muffin tray with paper cases.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder (or cream of tarter), and salt into medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring together until blended.
In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the flour mixture, a third at a time, alternating with a third of the buttermilk mixture until all is mixed in.
Divide the mixture between the paper cases. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 20 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove and turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool.
To make the frosting, beat the butter and cheese until creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat until combined. Split the half vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds into the frosting. Add the vanilla extract.
Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with a star nozzle and ice the cupcakes. Start from the outside and work in towards the middle. Decorate with coloured sprinkles.