Makes about 18 cupcakes
For red velvet cupcakes
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 ounces of red food coloring
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
2-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
Four 8-ounce boxes cream cheese, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream (or combo of both)
cream cheese frosting (canned or favorite recipe)
To make red velvet cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.
In a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, cream shortening, sugar and eggs until well combined. Add red food coloring to cocoa to create a paste. Add to shortening mixture. Add cake flour alternatively with buttermilk, starting and ending with dry cake flour. Then add salt and vanilla. Mix together the vinegar and baking soda and fold into your batter mixture.
Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 18-22 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely, then wrap each cupcake in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to assemble. (Chilling is easier for the assembly process.)
To make cheesecake—
In a stand mixer (or hand mixer), fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft, about 4 minutes. While mixer is till running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition to produce a well aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.
Use a rubber spatula to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. Pour the batter into the springform pan. Put the roasting pan with springform in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
After 1 hour, carefully pull the cheesecake out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster. (Warning: Be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil.) Remove the foil and let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
When the cake is cool, chill the cake in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better. Remove the sides of the springform.
To assemble cupcakes—
Remove cupcakes from freezer and discard plastic wrap and liner. Using a clean, sharp knife cut each cupcake in half. Set aside. Using a 2-1/2″ diameter cookie cutter, cut circles out of the cheesecake. (Depending on how thick you want the cheesecake section you might want to cut the circles in half horizontally.)
Frost each cupcake half with your favorite cream cheese frosting. (Think of this as the glue that holds everything together.) Place the cheesecake circle between the 2 cupcake halves and pipe more cream cheese frosting on top!