1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas mark 3. Line 2 muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.
2) Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the vegetable oil, buttermilk, sugar, eggs, food colouring, apple puree, vinegar, and vanilla on medium speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed, and add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Mix until just combined.
4) Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.
For the almond cream cheese icing:
1) In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer on medium-low, and slowly add the icing sugar, vanilla, and almond essences. Once the ingredients are all incorporated, turn the mixer to high, and beat for 1 additional minute.
1) Generously ice the top of each cupcake with the almond cream cheese icing.
This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.