Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the muffin tin with pink or white cupcake liners
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Occasionally turn off mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Reduce the speed to low, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until incorporated after each addition. Add the food coloring and vanilla and mix well.
With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour, waiting until each addition is well incorporated before adding the next. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and soda, and once fizzing has stopped, add to the batter and mix well.
Divide the batter evenly in the tin, filling each liner about 3/4 full. Bake until cupcakes are set and spring back when touched, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
For meringue icing: Bring a few inches of water to a gentle simmer in a saucepan large enough to hold a standing mixer bowl above the water. Whisk the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt together in the bowl until combined. Set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is smooth and hot to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until meringue is cool and holds a soft peak, 4 to 5 minutes. With the speed on low, add the vanilla and almond extracts; increase speed to medium and continue whisking until mixture is glossy and holds a stiff peak, 1 to 2 minutes more.
To decorate: Using a spoon or offset spatula, spread about 1/2 cup meringue over each cupcake and sprinkle with nonpareils. Cupcakes are best served the day they are made.
Cook's Note: If you're unable to find gel food coloring, add drops of liquid food coloring until the desired shade of red is achieved.
Recipe courtesy of Wes Martin