For the Cupcakes: 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 1/2 tablespoons red food coloring 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 cup milk (I used 2 percent milk) 2 teaspoons white vinegar For the Cream Cheese Frosting: 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 (4-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, or scrapings of 1 vanilla bean 1 tablespoon milk 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted green food coloring Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with cupcake papers and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together vanilla extract, food coloring, and cocoa power. The mixture will become a thick paste. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium speed until slightly more pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute between each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the red cocoa paste. Incorporate well, beating on medium-high speed. Add half of the flour mixture. Beat batter on low speed while adding half of the milk. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add the remaining flour and beat on low speed while adding the remaining milk. Add the vinegar. Beat well. Divide the batter between the 24 cupcake tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a cake skewer inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Cupcakes should be completely cooled before frosting. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. To make the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, add softened cream cheese. Beat on medium speed until cream cheese is extra soft and pliable, about 1 minute. Add softened butter and continue to beat on medium-low speed until butter and cream cheese are thoroughly combined. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, vanilla extract or beans, and milk. Beat of medium speed until well incorporated. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or milk depending on your desired consistency. Remove about 1/4 of the frosting and place in a small bowl. That’s the frosting that will stay white. Add several drops of green food coloring to the majority of the frosting. Place frosting in the fridge for an hour before frosting if you’d like to firm it up a bit before frosting cupcakes. Frost cupcakes by piping with a pastry bag, or by spooning a big dollop of frosting onto the top of the cupcake and spreading evenly. Top with sprinkles and arrange like a christmas tree if you’d like. Cupcakes will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to three days.