Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes.

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

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.

[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.]

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

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


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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.

P.S. I think Drew’s a keeper.