written by Becky
Red Wine Cupcakes with Blackberry-Reduced Wine Icing
I have a confession, I have been neglecting making Whoopies (I so wanted to write “makin’ Whoopie” without pluralizing it as I knew it would be more amusing but… well I am referring to the cookies and nothing further). There are two reasons for this neglect. First, I have discovered a problem with having a Whoopie Pie blog and it is not running out of things to say about them, as was suggested might happen, but rather I feel like I can’t bake everything else I love to bake. Second, I have been taking a cake decorating course for the past month and so have been force to bake sugar cookies, a cake, cupcakes and then another cake. Even though I do have a sweet tooth, eating Whoopies on top of all of these things is a lot of sugar!
So here is the solution: a new addition to Let’s Make Whoopie – a place for other baking done by Courteney or I!
And since I previously had mentioned the red wine cupcakes in the Guinness Whoopie Pie post, I figured that was a good place to start – I would get to try what sounded like a delicious recipe, and I would make the required cupcakes for my class.
Although I have never heard about these interesting culinary concoctions, I discovered that there are actually several red wine cupcake recipes out there, some have a lot of chocolate, some have a little chocolate, and some have none. Of course the amount of red wine in the recipes differ as well and the frostings vary from a condensed milk glaze to a port wine buttercream to a blackberry wine buttercream to a chocolate ganache frosting. Since I was hoping to be able to taste the wine, I figured I would stay away from the super-chocolatey ones but since chocolate and red wine pair well together to follow a recipe with at least some chocolate. Furthermore, this recipe was shown with the blackberry-wine buttercream and I thought that sounded FANTASTIC. Here is the recipe. I used a Cabernet Sauvignon for both the cupcakes and the icing since it is what I had.
I should add that unlike the beer batter Whoopies, the batter for these were delicious. It was creamy and smooth and so so good. And you can see that they baked up nice as well! Look how much they rose and how perfectly rounded they are! They also smelled good – not really chocolatey or vanilla-y like most baked items but sweet and comforting.
As a sidenote, it occurred to me when I was using my giant “cookie” scoop that I mentioned in the post about size that using the big one meant that one “American Sized” Whoopie Pie is actually equivalent to TWO cupcakes (with less icing of course). That is a lot of Whoopie!
Because my cake decorating class was teaching us how to fill cupcakes as well, I figured that was a good excuse to fill these guys with a chocolate ganache filling. I just did the basic ganache: heat 1/2 cup of whipping cream until it bubbles around the edge then pour that over 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate. Wait about 2-3 minutes and then stir until it is nice and smooth (of course it looks kind of nasty first – like the picture). Oh and then I added about a tablespoon of seedless raspberry jam. I should point out that I originally thought I would do a whipped ganache – basically just whip it after it has cooled in the fridge to add more airiness – but when I went to pipe this into the middle of the cupcakes it was way too hard so I melted it in the microwave for 15 seconds and it became liquid! Oh well, still piped that way.
So after piping in the filling, it was time to decorate! First a layer of the blackberry – wine frosting (for those interested, I was originally disappointed as I didn’t feel like there was enough flavour to it but then decided I did quite like it) and then some fun decorating. Since we were learning different techniques, I decided to just try them all – hence all the random different types! I kind of like the whimsical look of them! In the end, I liked these cupcakes a lot. The red wine flavour isn’t strong but there is something familiar about it that makes them tasty. The texture is good and moist although somewhat dense. I loved the chocolate ganache filling with it too! So all in all, a success, even if they weren’t Whoopie Pies!
I don’t really know which is my favourite – either the one below (a Shaggy Mum) or the pretty pink icing with the yellow flowers & leaves (I love piping leaves)! It was fun to take them to work to see which one people picked as their cupcake of choice!