Dark Chocolate Cabernet Cupcakes


This past Friday I had two friends giving important talks. One was doing her qualifying exam. One was defending her master’s thesis. And both were named Shivani–hence ShivaniFest 2013! It is yet to be decided whether or not this could be an annual thing. The Master Shivani who works in my lab also shares my love of all things wine and chocolate (**see previous post about wine and chocolate night, in which she was one of the honored guests**) so when I saw these cupcakes I knew I had to make them for her.


This was my first attempt at making cupcakes ( I know, weird), but the thing is I’ve never been a huge fan of cupcakes. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out–both taste and decoration wise. And I realized that although I’m still not a huge fan of cupcakes, I’ll probably be making more of them in the future because it was really fun!

Also, the wine flavor is EXTREMELY subtle in these so even people who are not huge red wine fans (which is a very confusing qualification for me to type) will enjoy them.



Adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup milk (2% or higher)
2 tablespoons red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon although the original recipe called for merlot)
8 ounces of high-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons red wine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
melted chocolate for drizzle
grated chocolate for topping


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, powder and salt. Set aside. Line a cupcake tin with liners.


In a bowl, whisk egg, oil and sugar until together until smooth and no lumps remain.


Add melted butter, merlot and vanilla and mix until combined.


Add half of the dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Add the milk, then the remaining flour mixture. Mix until batter is smooth with a large spoon.

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Fold in chocolate.Line a muffin tin with liners and using a heaping 1/4 cup measure, add batter to each cup until 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Beat butter in the bowl of your electric mixer until smooth and creamy, for a full 2 minutes.


Add in powdered sugar gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) with the mixer on low speed, slowly increasing the speed until it’s combined. Add in vanilla extract and merlot, then beat on medium-high speed for 5-6 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides if needed, until thick and fluffy.


Frost cupcakes and top with melted drizzled chocolate and sprinkles!



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