Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Red wine chocolate cupcakes

One of the great things about living in California is the proximity to all the wineries in Napa and Sonoma. On a recent wine tasting trip to Sonoma,  I sampled a delicious dessert wine at Cline Cellars paired with dark chocolate. I fell in love immediately. Unfortunately, the wine was a bit out of my price range, but the tasting experience inspired my next baking experiment: red wine in cupcakes!

I also previously tried making a syllabub, which is an English drink that is basically a wine smoothie. You mix red wine with heavy cream and let it sit. Eventually, the layers will separate, giving you a pretty-looking drink that is dense with cream on top and sweet and liquid on the bottom. I was especially inspired by the wine-infused cream on the top - with a few adjustments, it would be a perfect frosting for a cupcake. And naturally, if I'm going to make a wine based frosting, the cupcake has to be some sort of dark chocolate.

For the dark chocolate recipe, I used this yummy recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction. I previously have used this recipe when making my Halloween Owl Cupcakes. Instead of making just a mere dozen cupcakes though, I decided to make the batter into mini-cupcakes instead, yielding me two dozen cute chocolate bites. I even had leftover batter to make a half-dozen of regular sized cupcakes as well!

Got to have wine while making wine cupcakes!

The cupcakes were also filled, using this recipe to make a chocolate red wine ganache as the filling. To top it all off, I whipped up a pretty red wine buttercream (following this recipe) and piped it onto the little cupcakes.

It turned out pretty well - the dark chocolate really complements the red wine in the frosting and the ganache, but the red wine isn't too overpowering either. I call it a success!

Pair cupcakes with more wine! :)

On another note, please excuse any typos in this post. I'm currently a glass of wine in during the time of writing...I've got to dispose of the extra leftover wine somehow!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes - makes two dozen mini cupcakes (plus half dozen regular sized cupcakes)
(From Sally's Baking Addiction)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powdered (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (unsalted)
  • 2 oz of semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) together. 
  3. Melt butter with chocolate in the microwave (use 30 second intervals) until melted and mix until smooth. Let cool. 
  4. Mix eggs, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add cooled chocolate butter mixture. Fold in flour mixture, and then the buttermilk. Mix until just combined (don't overbeat!)
  5. Line a mini-muffin tin with mini-cupcake liners. Fill each with ~2 tsp of batter. If using a regular sized cupcake tin, fill each with ~3 tbsp of batter. 
  6. Bake in oven for 12 minutes (mini-cupcakes) or 18 minutes (regular cupcakes), or until an inserted fork in the middle comes out clean. 
  7. Let cool and then core out the middles of the cupcakes. Fill middle with chocolate ganache (see recipe below) and the frost with red wine buttercream (recipe below). 
Chocolate Red Wine ganache
  • 1/4 cup of butter (unsalted)
  • 1 oz of dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp of red wine
  1. Melt butter with chocolate. Mix in wine and whisk until smooth. 
  2. When slightly set (frosting-esque consistency), fill into cupcakes. 
Red Wine Buttercream
  • 1/3 cup of red wine
  • 1 tbsp of white sugar
  • 6 tbsp of butter (unsalted)
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 extra tbsp of red wine
  1. Mix red wine and white sugar together in a small saucepan and heat to a boil. Let simmer until the red wine/sugar mixture reduces to ~3 tbsp. Let cool completely. 
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Beat in wine reduction, followed by the extra red wine. Mix until smooth. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes!

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