Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes

The crazy cupcake lady is back! Betcha missed her! The other day, I realized that I hadn't created or blogged about anything new lately in the world of cupcakes.

Enter my friend's "Wine Tasting Party". Hmmm...somehow I still feel like we're still too young to really appreciate wine, but I was inspired by the concept. Why couldn't I make red wine cupcakes? So off I went to research this great new idea on the internet. And lo and behold...it's already been done. Yep. There are countless recipes on the internet dedicated to creating red wine cake/cupcakes. Why am I just hearing about this?!

Of all the web sites and blogs that I stumbled upon, my favorite was a blog called We are Not Martha. There's nothing scientific about how I chose their recipe. Their blog looked fun and of course, there was a giant "cupcake" cake in one of the red wine cupcake photos. Obviously, this was going to be a winner.

Red Wine Cupcakes
yields 25-30 cupcakes

  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 oz. chocolate chips (about 1/2 a regular bag of chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 C boiling water
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 C flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 C red wine (I used a Shiraz, but you should use whichever wine you like to drink)
1) In a heatproof bowl combine cocoa powder and chocolate chips and pour in the boiling water.

2) Using a whisk, stir the chocolate until it’s all melted.

3) In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Then beat in each egg one at a time until they’re all mixed in.

4) In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then slowly add this to the mixture, making sure it’s all combined.

5) Add some of the chocolate to the mixture, then some of the wine, alternating until all of it is blended.

6) Pour batter into cupcake liners, about 3/4 of the way to the top.

7) Bake at 350 degrees for ~20 minutes.

This cupcake adventure is a little unusual for TBK. I don't usually use the cupcake recipe "as-is" from another blog, which is what I did here. Here's the reasoning: 1) Chocolate & Red Wine: If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. Really, what could I do to enhance this cupcake? Not much. Although.... 2) I did find some Ikea Lingonberry jam in my refrigerator. (Lingonberries are pretty similar to cranberries, which I love!) I figured if I was going to use this jam in my cupcake, it would be best to use it in the cupcake frosting. The new name? Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes with Lingonberry Cream Cheese Frosting. Whew! That was a mouthful. Like I said, I didn't want to mess around with the cupcake any more than this.

As I started to create the frosting, I got a little anxious about the lingonberry cream cheese frosting. In the end, I decided it would be a good comparison project to frost half of the cupcakes with the regular cream cheese frosting and the other half with the lingonberry cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
(adapted slightly from We Are Not Martha's Red Wine Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting)
  • 1 C butter, room temperature
  • Salt, pinch
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 5-6 C confectioner sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 3 t Lingonberry jam for every 4 oz. cream cheese*
Note: If spreading the frosting onto the cupcakes, you only need to make half the recipe above. I piped the frosting so I needed to make the entire recipe.

1) Beat the butter with the salt until it’s nice and fluffy.

2) Add the cream cheese and continue beating until it’s all combined.

3) Add the powdered sugar to the bowl about 1/2 C at at a time and beat to combine. Keep adding more until the frosting is at the consistency and sweetness-level that you desire.

*4) If making the Lingonberry Cream Cheese Frosting, whisk in the Lingonberry jam until combined.

5) Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.

This cupcake is a favorite. I think it may have been a bit under-done, so I would recommend leaving the cupcakes in the oven for a full 20 minutes instead of the 18 minutes that I left them in for (hey, the toothpicks came out clean!). My cupcakes sank a bit once they came out of the over, no matter how much batter I put in the cups. So the cupcakes ended up being flat instead of slightly domed. Can someone tell me where I went wrong? Thankfully, I don't believe the cupcake flavor suffered at all from this.

The chocolate was rich and I could definitely taste the red wine flavor, minus the red wine's alcoholic content. The cream cheese frosting was excellent. It was buttery and fluffy. One taste tester said she would just eat it by itself, minus the cupcake. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I definitely understand! The lingonberry cream cheese frosting was sweet but also tart, which is to be expected. My roommate really enjoyed it with the cupcake. I don't have any pictures of the lingonberry frosting because it wasn't very photogenic. Imagine a red blobby mess and that was my lingonberry frosting. I used reduced fat cream cheese in my frosting, which I think led to the softer texture. There is a very important lesson to be learned here: Don't skimp on the fat!


  1. I just made these and have flat tops too. I think the recipe needs baking soda. Probably doesn't really effect the taste but you don't get the dome. Making another recipe tonight as well and it calls for soda and not powder and they are nicely domed.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I'll have to try that the next time I make these!