I actually made these back in February, for Valentine’s Day, but I still remember how good they were. There’s no shortage of opinions about red velvet: some people love it, and some people hate it. I fall somewhere in the middle, where I believe that it’s as good of a vehicle as any for cream cheese frosting. I have a friend who believed that the red coloring came from a special kind of flour only grown in the South. (Not surprisingly, this friend is Dixie, through and through.) Actually, the coloring comes from a mother lode of red food coloring. For this batch (recipe from Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?), I bought the red dye at Whole Foods, not so much out of a desire to avoid artificial ingredients, although I probably should have been thinking along those lines, given the fact that I was gestating at the time. Really, I just wanted to save myself a trip to another store and I was at Whole Foods already. I had to ask an employee for help finding it. He asked if I was making red velvet cake, and I told him about these cupcakes. He got a little wistful, saying that his now-ex-girlfriend used to make him red velvet cake from scratch. He asked if I was making cream cheese frosting, and when I told him yes, I think he got a little tear in his eye. I really should have brought him some of these to share, but I was pregnant, and lazy, and hungry, and it was probably snowing that day. In any event, this post is dedicated to you, the nameless Whole Foods employee whose heart was broken by a beautiful baker.