Dark Chocolate Merlot Cupcakes
1/3 cup Coconut Oil, melted
1 cup Buttermilk
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 TBSP Baking Soda
1 cup Merlot (I used 14 Hands Winery Merlot)
4 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter, room temperature
4 1/2 – 5 cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp Salt
1 TBSP half and half
Preheat oven to 375.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, egg, buttermilk, vanilla, and dark brown sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture. Once everything is incorporated, gradually beat in the wine. Whisk until all lumps are gone. Coat cupcake liners with nonstick spray, then fill each liner about 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and creamy. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, incorporating on low and then beating on medium-high speed to fully mix in the sugar. Once you’ve added all the sugar, pour in the vanilla and cream, and beat on high for 2-3 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
You’ll find in our Recipe section, that we made a Pot Roast – but didn’t use all the wine. So what do you do with your left over Merlot from the pot roast? Rather than drink it, I baked with it. After researching recipes that include baking with wine, I came across this recipe from veggieandthebeast.com
First I melted the coconut oil. Coconut oil was new to me. I’ve never used it before. I found it at Big Y with the oils. Who knew, it’s sold as a solid? It was quite interesting. I scooped enough into a 1/3 cup measurer and scraped it into a bowl. I microwaved it for 45 seconds, covered, and wouldn’t you know, it melts right down and doesn’t make a mess like butter. I whisked the coconut oil together with the egg, buttermilk, vanilla extract and dark brown sugar. You need to work quickly as the coconut oil will start to thicken up again. The recipe called for the egg and buttermilk to be at room temperature. As someone who worries about food safety, I used them right out of the refrigerator.
Next, I filled the sifter with flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. I sifted it into the bowl and to ensure it was all mixed and not just sifted, I stirred it around a bit.
Then you add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir. Although the recipe said whisk, I ended up switching the a wooden spoon. The mixture gets so dry it all clumps together and gets stuck in the whisk. After you add the merlot, the batter becomes very wet and runny, just like brownies. I was wondering what was going to happen cause it was very runny. I just crossed my fingers and continued on.
I prepped the cupcake tins as directed and filled the liners as directed and in the oven they went. The timer was set to 15 minutes and went off after 15 minutes. However, at this point, I was making the “gravy” for the pot roast and forgot to test the cupcakes. They were probably in two minutes longer than the baking time. Did I overcook them. No. They were perfect. The toothpick came out clean even though they kind of looked wet. They had this melted chocolate shine to them. The toothpick was dry so out of the oven they came.
I made the frosting as directed except I cut back on the powdered sugar. It was starting to get really thick and I thought Wow!, this is a lot of sugar. But that’s what frosting is, I guess. I ended up using 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. There is no reason you can’t add the sugar to taste.
It was now time to frost the cupcakes. They were cooled enough to frost so I cut one open and marveled in how beautiful they looked. I did try one before I frosted them so I could try them with and without frosting. They are amazing. They are so rich in chocolate flavor. It’s a wonderful dark chocolate taste with a subtle hint of merlot. I never thought you could bake with wine, it was something I never even considered. I’m completely sold. I would make these again.
NOTE: The recipe says it will make 12 cupcakes. I used the standard size cupcake tin and cupcake liners and I ended up with 18 cupcakes per batch (I made a double batch so I could bring a dozen in for my co-workers). I put the dozen out right after lunch and they were gone in minutes. I was even told these cupcakes are better than the cupcakes our “resident baker” has made. So bottom line, these are two-thumbs up and a must try. I didn’t make the chocolate drizzle cause at this point, I was tired after a full day of cooking and baking. Instead, I used chocolate sprinkles. And that’s OK, cause after all… Sprinkles are Life.
Grab a bottle of 14 Hands Merlot to make this recipe with (and to drink too!)