Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chocolate Merlot Truffle Cupcakes with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes are amazing. Totally perfect for Valentines Day, whether you love Valentines Day or think its just another hallmark holiday, marketing ploy, in that case they are any day perfect.

They might as well be a love potion, these cupcakes. You will love yourself more for making these on this fine upcoming hallmark holiday of love. Believe me.

Truffles are stuffed inside of each one for a little chocolate surprise. Who wouldn't love that? I sure don't know of anyone who wouldn't like it. I'd convert them with these cupcakes though. I'm sure of it.

A lot of recipes call for a little coffee when there is chocolate involved. Coffee and chocolate are a natural pair, but wine and chocolate are too. They both enhance the chocolate factor by 10.

It is quite possible that wine and chocolate are a better pair than chocolate and coffee...particularly if it is afternoon because it is more acceptable to drink after noon. Don't judge me. I'm still a college student for a few more months.

The truffle stuffed inside makes a little semi-molten extra rich chocolate center. These cupcakes are super moist (I'm sorry if you hate that word, but it is true AND have you ever looked at "moist" synonymous; way worse than moist when talking about food. Gross.) all on their own with no truffle but why you wouldn't want the chocolate center, I don't know.

Red wine makes these seem like a red velvet cake. Someone asked me if they were red velvet, which they might as well be.  Red wine velvet cupcakes.

Use any sort of somewhat fruity, well-rounded, smooth red wine that you would normally drink. I used a Merlot.

The wine complements the chocolate by bringing out the fruitiness found in chocolate. It is amazing. These cupcakes are the best cupcakes I've ever made. Maybe the best I've ever consumed. I wouldn't lie to you. Pinky swear.

The frosting in this recipe is probably my favorite frosting of all time. The combination of butter, cream cheese and mascarpone cheese are perfect. I'm always looking to get my boyfriend to say whatever I've cooked for him is the best he has ever had the pleasure of consuming.

This frosting did it. Best he ever had. It isn't too sweet either, which I like. It is honestly the only frosting I ever make. It is just the best. You must try it. Promise me.

Adding a little wine to the frosting is optional. I felt like it made it curdle a little bit, but gave it a lightly pink-red-wine color that I liked. I'd suggest not adding it if you are serving this to children.

These may be adult only cupcakes all together, between a glass of wine and a few cupcakes, I'm not entirely sure if the alcohol cooks off or not. I will let you make the call on serving these to children or not.

The cupcakes come together in around an hour, not counting cooling time. That is okay though. Just think of the time it takes for the cupcakes to cool as the perfect excuse for a glass of wine.

You should probably be drinking a glass while making these. Hell, you should probably just buy two bottles of wine.

Maybe save the second bottle of wine for after the cupcakes are out of the oven, you don't want it going to your head. Dry, overcooked cupcakes are bad, but not as bad as a fire.Either situation is no good though.

I bet you can find time to make these this week. Maybe this weekend, more time to enjoy some wine on a weekend. Treat yourself either way on this lovely hallmark holiday weekend.

I know I'll be treating myself to a to be determined home cooked meal, with white Russians and the Big Lebowski for dessert. I want to know what your plans are! How are you treating yourself this Valentine's day?


Makes about 24 cupcakes
 for the cupcakes:
24 cupcake liners
24 truffles, such as Lindt Irresistibly Smooth Dark Chocolate Truffles
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Merlot wine (or other red wine)

for the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons Merlot wine (or other red wine)
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone (Italian cream cheese, available at most grocery stores)

1/4 cup cocoa powder, for dusting

for the cupcakes:
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners, placing a chocolate truffle (I used Lindt truffles) in each cupcake liner. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl, sifting the 3/4 cup cocoa over the top of the flour mixture.

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one by one, and then the vanilla, and continue beating 1 to 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, mix in a third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and then pour in a third of the Merlot. Mix ingredients together until just combined. Continue this process two more times, alternating between the flour mixture and the wine into the cake batter. (be sure to not over mix the batter, in between each addition it is okay if they are not fully combined until the end.)

Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full, baking for 15 to 20 minutes; a metal skewer inserted in the cupcake (slightly off to the edge because of the truffle) should come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool 10 minutes in the pans, then place them on a rack to cool completely. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.

for the frosting:
In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the edges of the bowl and add the vanilla, mixing on low to combine. Then with the mixer going, stream in the 3-4 tablespoons of wine, until combined.

Beat in the mascarpone on very low speed until just combined. (Be careful; once you've added the mascarpone, excessive beating can make the frosting curdle.)

Frost the top of each muffin with the icing.

To finish the cupcakes, sift a little cocoa powder over the top of each one and then top with a truffle (optional).

Frosting slightly adapted from The Pastry Queen Christmas


  1. Those look amazing!! I would never judge anyone for drinking wine in the afternoon! I would join them:)


  2. Wine and chocolate in cupcake form, it's like a dream come true! I love that the truffle hidden inside gives the feel of a filled cupcake without having to deal with piping the cream or frosting inside.

    1. The truffle really does save some time, while still making them feel special.



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