In my head of infinate bits of useless knowledge, I had heard years ago that red velvet was difficult to make so subconciously I steered clear of red velvet recipes. However, Red velvet cupcakes seems to be the flavor everyone talks about the most these days. I don't know where I have been hiding, but I actually never heard of red velvet until a few years ago when someone brought in a red velvet cake for a co-worker's birthday. I honestly didn't know what all the hype was about. The cake didn't taste all that great (must have been from a box). Then I tasted a red velvet cake from Cheesecake Factory. The Stephanie Red Velvet, YUM! Stephanie, the girl that created that lovely red towering cheese cake, was actually on an episode of Cupcake wars. The judges didn't seem impressed with her red velvet cupcake, but I tasted it and Cheesecake factory named a cheese cake after her recipe and we say it's "delish"! So today in honor of National Cheesecake Day and Stephanie's red velvet cheesecake! I have made a Red Velvet cupcake. I was suppose have made Triple Citrus, but that can wait. I looked over dozens of recipes and opted for one that called for buttermilk. I heard in an episode of DC cupcakes that they use cidar vinegar as their secret ingredient for their red velvet cupcake (I think they have several secret ingredients), so I changed the white vinegar to cider vinegar. I didn't pay attention to how the mixing of the indredients went together until it was too late. I thought it was the same as every other cake...cream the butter and sugar, sift non liquids, add eggs and you're done... not a red velvet. My first batch came out like chalky brillo pads. I think my problem was I didn't follow the recipe and put it together the correct way. Batch # 2 I followed the recipe and the cupcake was YUM! It was not as red as I liked, but it was at least April edible..not April sellable, but April edible. Some recipes I have read called for an entire bottle of red food coloring. I am not so comfortable with that. I am not like a health freak, but the thought of an entire bottle of a red chemical...not so sure that is a good idea. but the other option I have read doesn't sound any better...beet juice. If I could use one of those Mr. Yuck face icon to post I would. I do think I will at least try beet juice. I like pickled egss...so maybe beet juice isn't such a bad idea.