By Kira Ulch

For St. Patrick’s day, this easy twist on classic red velvet cupcakes will be easy in a pinch. These cupcakes are so simple, fun, and festive that they can be thrown together quickly and make a great starting canvas for a large variety of St. Patrick’s day decorations. One thing is for sure, these always come out looking fresh and springy, so they are even great outside of this holiday!

(Disclaimer: If you already have another favorite red velvet recipe, substituting the amount of food coloring for a Kelly green OR if velvet cakes just aren’t for you, dying a vanilla batter is as easy as it gets.)

Ingredients for the cupcakes:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1  ¼ cups sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
½ cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 ½ tablespoons green food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cream cheese frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
Half a stick of butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¾ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line one 12-cup pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In your stand mixer beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla gently. Scrape the sides and add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins until about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

For a twist on top of a twist: substitute peppermint extract in your frosting for a flavor kick that is unexpected and top with a Thin Mint to satisfy your Girl Scout cookie craving!