Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 cupcake liners.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the vegetable oil, buttermilk, sugar, eggs, food coloring, applesauce, 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.
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.
Generously frost the top of each cupcake with the Almond Cream Cheese Frosting.
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 powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Once the ingredients are all incorporated, turn the mixer to high, and beat for 1 additional minute.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Jenny Harrison and Mariel Williams, Cupcake Wars, 2010