I’m interrupting our regularly scheduled program for some sweet birthday wishes.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes I howsweeteats.com

A few weeks ago, a super amazing guy (hi Drew!) contacted me asking if I could come up with something special and delicious for his girlfriend Christine’s birthday. Drew was so hopeful (and fabulously relentless) that I couldn’t say no… especially when he mentioned his passion for cooking.

Oh and that they are high school sweethearts and that he couldn’t imagine his life without her. !!!!!!!!!

I KNOW.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes I howsweeteats.com

[I’m totally hoping that you guys didn’t OD on those cabernet chocolate truffles from last week, are still up for some boozy desserts and can enjoy these super fudgy dark chocolate cupcakes that are piled high with a light buttercream (if that’s even a thing) that has just a hint of red wine. As rich as they may sound… they aren’t. I suggest having some extra wine with your cupcakes. Heck, even dunk it in there.]

Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes I howsweeteats.com

Don’t look at me that way. Love and birthdays call for sprinkles.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes I howsweeteats.com

Happy 23rd birthday Christine! I hope you have a fabulous day filled with love and more frosting than you can handle.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes I howsweeteats.com

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Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes

Yield: makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

cupcakes
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 merlot
8 ounces of high-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

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

Directions:

cupcakes
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. 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.

frosting
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!

Note: neither the cupcakes nor frosting have a super strong merlot flavor - just a hint - so I do recommend serving them with small glasses of wine to intensify the flavor.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes I howsweeteats.com

P.S. I think Drew’s a keeper.

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106 Responses to “Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes.”

  1. #
    1
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — February 12, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    Love DEFINITELY calls for sprinkles! And wine. In cupcakes. Obvs.

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    Amanda @ The Dormestic Goddess — February 12, 2013 @ 8:30 am

    This is beyond sweet…the post and the cupcakes!!!

    Reply

  3. #
    3
    Sara @my less serious life — February 12, 2013 @ 8:30 am

    i agree. KEEP HIM.

    Reply

  4. #
    4
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — February 12, 2013 @ 8:32 am

    That’s so cute that he contacted you to make this! And what marvelous recipe you created! Looks amazing!

    Reply

  5. #
    5
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — February 12, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    Aww how sweet! (No pun intended!) I’d say he’s a keeper too!

    Reply

  6. #
    6
    nicole @ I am a Honey Bee — February 12, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    all cupcakes should be paired with wine. screw the glass of milk.

    Reply

  7. #
    7
    Kelsey K. — February 12, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    Wine and chocolate. What could be better?!

    eatwelltraveloftenblog.blogspot.com

    Reply

  8. #
    8
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — February 12, 2013 @ 8:52 am

    Awww, you’re a sucker for romance! These cupcakes are GORGEOUS!

    Reply

  9. #
    9
    Annie @ What's Annie Making? — February 12, 2013 @ 8:52 am

    Awww so sweet! And I want to frame that sprinkle heart picture. Beautiful!

    Reply

  10. #
    10
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — February 12, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    How romantic! Cupcakes and wine! I love it! I bet Christine was happy!!! I know I would of have been getting some of these cupcakes! Gorgeous!!

    Reply

  11. #
    11
    Ali @ Peaches and Football — February 12, 2013 @ 9:00 am

    Cocoa powder and dark chocolate – a double chocolate whammo! I’m pretty crazy about anything with dark chocolate in it. I’m not sure I’d add the merlot in just because I’m not really a wine person (I know, the horror!) but I think these fluffy masterpieces would be wonderful to take as a birthday treat to work some week.

    Reply

  12. #
    12
    Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots — February 12, 2013 @ 9:15 am

    sprinkles make everything better!

    Reply

  13. #
    13
    Brie @ Entrée the Giant — February 12, 2013 @ 9:17 am

    I love that you conjured up this recipe for a reader – I’m a hopeless romantic, so I can appreciate that act of kindness.

    I’m sure Christine had the happiest birthday thanks to you and Drew!

    Reply

  14. #
    14
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — February 12, 2013 @ 9:23 am

    SO cute that you made this recipe for your reader Jessica. :) That heart sprinkles picture…. I want to frame it. Everything calls for sprinkles. Birthdays = sprinkles. Birthdays = wine and chocolate. Actually…. everyday = wine, chocolate, & sprinkles.

    Reply

  15. #
    15
    Christine — February 12, 2013 @ 9:33 am

    Ahhhhh! I am floored. What a totally acceptable interruption this was to my sleeping in. Birthday girl, here. Made with my favorite food/drink, these cupcakes look amazing! Thank you so much, Jessica! Drew has a really tough time surprising me, but not today. He is most definitely a keeper :-) Thank you both for getting my 23rd birthday off to a sweet start!

    Reply

    • Jessica — February 12th, 2013 @ 10:49 am

      you are so welcome, happy birthday!!

      Reply

      • Christine — February 14th, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

        I will never forget this very sweet gesture. Drew and I are going to make these for my great grandmother’s 93rd bday tea party next week!

        Oh and we’re engaged :-)

  16. #
    16
    Stephanie — February 12, 2013 @ 9:40 am

    adore this post, so so cute!!!!!! and these cupcakes – i mean wine AND chocolate AND buttercream. drew is going to make his gf one happy lady w these! ps bacon brussels egg salad — right?? (if you like egg salad that is) –> http://www.timvidraeats.com/2013/02/egg-salad-with-bacon-and-brussels.html

    Reply

  17. #
    17
    Joelle (on a pink typewriter) — February 12, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    You had me at merlot. (And hi, does that guy have a brother?)

    Reply

  18. #
    18
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — February 12, 2013 @ 10:12 am

    That sprinkles heart photo… LURVE.

    Reply

  19. #
    19
    Kari@Loaves n Dishes — February 12, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    Usually it’s chocolate and wine; but you (crazy girl…I mean that in the nicest way), put the wine in the chocolate!!!

    Reply

  20. #
    20
    Katie — February 12, 2013 @ 10:19 am

    You (and drew) are the best.

    Reply

  21. #
    21
    Jenna — February 12, 2013 @ 10:19 am

    These cupcakes are insane! Cant wait to try them

    Reply

  22. #
    22
    Carly @ Snack Therapy — February 12, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    Say it with me now, “Awwwwwwww.”

    Reply

  23. #
    23
    Monica — February 12, 2013 @ 10:24 am

    Christine is one lucky gal, and Drew is definitely a keeper. I wish someone would make these for me!

    Reply

  24. #
    24
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — February 12, 2013 @ 10:33 am

    well my name is Christine so I automatically LOVED this.. and yes sometimes I can be that superficial lol

    as for the food, these look divine! because I’m a Nutella freak, I’d love to use Hazelnut Dark Chocolate in the cupcakes – Ghiradelli has a version that is simply heavenly!

    great share! xx

    Reply

  25. #
    25
    Katherine Immel — February 12, 2013 @ 10:37 am

    I may have someone that likes sprinkles as much as you do. This video made me fall out of my chair laughing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EVzoolYugA&feature=em-share_video_user

    Reply

  26. #
    26
    dervla @ The Curator — February 12, 2013 @ 10:51 am

    haha, how cute is that! What a persistent dude. Now I’m going to bug you until you do something for my birthday on the 17th. :)

    Reply

  27. #
    27
    Ashley — February 12, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    Ummmm, that is TOO CUTE!!!! And what a fantastic birthday cupcake!

    Reply

  28. #
    28
    Holiday Baker Man — February 12, 2013 @ 11:11 am

    Wine and chocolate together! OMG

    Reply

  29. #
    29
    bridget {bake at 350} — February 12, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    Aww….that Drew definitely sounds like a keeper! So do these cupcakes! Wow!

    Reply

  30. #
    30
    Amber (Sprinkled With Flour) — February 12, 2013 @ 11:48 am

    Wow…this recipe would make any birthday perfect! These cupcakes are really calling my name right now….drool. :)

    Reply

  31. #
    31
    Meghan @ The Tasty Fork — February 12, 2013 @ 11:49 am

    Awe!! I think Drew get’s boyfriend of the year award! How sweet (seriously!!)!!

    Reply

  32. #
    32
    allie@sweetpotatobites — February 12, 2013 @ 11:51 am

    awww this is so cute! and love the idea of dark chocolate merlot cupcakes.

    Reply

  33. #
    33
    Morgan — February 12, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

    What a great guy :) Loving the combination of merlot and dark chocolate. Fabulous!

    Reply

  34. #
    34
    Meghan {For the Love of Dessert} — February 12, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

    Holy adorable. What a cutie this Drew is! I can’t even…

    Reply

  35. #
    35
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen — February 12, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

    Awwww! Now I have to send my boyfriend this link and say “HINT. HINT.” Gotta keep him on his toes.

    Reply

  36. #
    36
    Paige — February 12, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    Everything you post I want to try! These are definitely on the list. I tried making the Cabernet Chocolate Truffles you posted the other day, and they turned out amazing! I’m clearly on a wine in desserts kick right now, hehe! :)

    Reply

  37. #
    37
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — February 12, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

    Wasn’t expecting to see a food post from you today – what a nice surprise AND that it’s b/c you’re helping a guy out with a recipe for his GF’s bday. Now that’s sweet, on both of your parts!

    Reply

  38. #
    38
    Little Kitchie — February 12, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

    Such a cute post! And those cupcakes… along with more wine…. well, that’s pretty much perfect.

    Reply

  39. #
    39
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — February 12, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

    I’m totally pinning your sprinkles pic :)

    Reply

  40. #
    40
    Mel — February 12, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

    I think I’ll make these for breakfast.

    Reply

  41. #
    41
    Barb | Creative Culinary — February 12, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

    Great minds and all…I just did some pinot noir brownies; I’m not sure I’ll ever want a brownie again without wine in it and on the side. These look divine; wanna trade?

    Reply

  42. #
    42
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — February 12, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

    I want these for my birthday! I love the sprinkle pic :)

    Reply

  43. #
    43
    Kim in MD — February 12, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

    I think Drew is a keeper, too! You are too, Jessica- how very sweet of you to create a cupcake for him! It looks like he is going to be a hero with this cupcake!

    Reply

  44. #
    44
    kelsey — February 12, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

    ooh! i love this shoot. the wine and the chocolate are tugging at my heartstrings right now!
    kw, ladies in navy

    Reply

  45. #
    45
    a farmer in the dell — February 12, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

    sweet post! cupcakes and wine. yes!

    Reply

  46. #
    46
    Krysta — February 12, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    cupcakes & wine… perfect!
    Can’t wait to try this recipe :)

    Reply

  47. #
    47
    Sarah @ The Cyclist's Wife — February 12, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    Loving the sprinkle photo!

    Reply

  48. #
    48
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — February 12, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

    I LOVE these!!

    Reply

  49. #
    49
    Jessica@Stuck On Sweet — February 12, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

    What a great post – so sweet and so cute!

    Reply

  50. #
    50
    Chloe @Ergo-Blog — February 12, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

    I teach a cupcake class and it’s coming up so I need to get back into the swing of things! These would be perfect and yummy practice!!! =)

    Reply

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