Chocolate Cabernet Cupcakes

At the request of my girl @scarletgenesis (you should totally check out her blog), I’ve been plugging away at some recipes that combine chocolate, cabernet wine, and cherries. Here’s the first achievement. These are very rich. The extra cocoa powder and the addition of the wine keep the cake from being overly moist. You can do one of two things to fix this: skip the chocolate ganache topping and opt for whipped cream (which will add a light, creamy, fresh ying to the cocoa’s yang), or scale back on the cocoa and opt for fresh or canned cherries instead of dried. Drain the cherries before adding to the batter (the excess juice will ruin the proportions of the cake).

Chocolate Cabernet Cupcakes

Yield: 12 standard cupcakes

For the Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup cabernet sauvignon
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare muffin pans with white paper baking cups. Into the large bowl of an electric mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cocoa powder. Add the oil, vanilla, eggs and wine. Beat with the electric mixer at low speed for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer speed to high and continue beating for three minutes, scraping the sides occasionally. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the dried cherries. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For the Ganache Topping:

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Place chocolate in stainless steel bowl. Heat cream and butter in saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk.

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