Can I use white wine vinegar instead of cider vinegar when making Nigella's Red Velvet Cupcakes?
Nigella's Red Velvet Cupcakes (from Kitchen and on the Nigella website) contain cider vinegar as they also contain bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent. Bicarbonate of soda is an alkali and needs an acid to react with to make carbon dioxide and help the cupcakes to rise. Hence the cake batter needs an added acid ingredient.
Nigella uses cider vinegar as it has a very mild taste and won't be noticed in the finished cupcakes. White wine vinegar is a good substitute as it is also fairly mild. You could also use lemon juice or cream of tartar. The substitutes should be used in the same quantities as the cider vinegar (i.e. 1 teaspoon each). In the frosting the vinegar is used for taste - to slightly cut through the richness of the butter and cream cheese. Here you can also use either white wine vinegar or lemon juice, though we prefer the flavour of lemon juice.