Rich chocolate cupcakes with a hint of red wine and topped with a fresh blackberry buttercream.
Okay, so, I had every intention of sharing a new paleo recipe with you today. But then I remembered it’s my birthday and I wanted something festive, boozy, chocolately, sugary and… well, YOLO. While I certainly want to eat healthy and be healthy, sometimes you’re turning 33 and struggling with it, life is a bit much and you just need to take a break from it all and do whatever the hell you want. Today is that day for me.
When I was young (and just getting a grasp on the English language) and my family would sing the birthday song to me, I would try to chime in and all that would come out was, “Happy to me! Happy to me!” My family still reminds me of that by wishing me a “Happy to me!” every year on this day – I’ll never live it down. At least it’s something that’s completely adorable and not horrifying or embarrassing. I was a damn cute kid. Want proof?
That blonde hair. That giant smile. That tiara. Damn. Cute.
So with that, I present to you a dessert that tiny me wouldn’t be allowed to eat: red wine chocolate cupcakes with a blackberry buttercream frosting. Ohhhhh, yeah.
DI was going to try to make some sort of teal-colored vanilla cupcake for the base, but the idea of teal-colored food kinda freaked me out so I bailed and decided to go a different direction with it that was much easier and completely not reliant on food coloring. Enter Yum Cups.
In my search for cupcake liners in just the right color, I found these beautiful teal silicon cupcake liners. I’ve seen silicon cupcake liners before, but the idea of cleaning them made me tired and frustrated just thinking about it, and there was always some sort of note on the packaging that said you couldn’t put them in the dishwasher.
Waaaahhhhh. These Yum Cups, on the other hand, encourage using the dishwasher to clean them. BAM. So, the perfect color, the right size, reusable, and dishwasher safe? SOLD.
For the record, Yum Cups has no idea who I am. So they’re not paying me to tell you this stuff, I just genuinely want you to know that they exist so that you can save some money and enjoy them, too. Consider it my birthday gift to you. Join my silicon cupcake liner club of the future, won’t you?
Now for the cupcakes themselves. The chocolate cupcakes are perfectly moist (apologies if you just got triggered by that) thanks to the olive oil and red wine in the batter. You don’t get a strong flavor of red wine in the batter, but you can smell it. And it’s glorious. I chose a cranberry red wine made by Truro Vineyards because it’s one of my favorites, but you can use whatever you’d like.
I don’t like super sweet frosting, so I opt to use less powdered sugar than you’d probably see in a typical buttercream recipe. I like to let the tart blackberries do their thing, with a little help from some lemon juice and a small amount of sugar (relative to most frosting recipes).
I love the gorgeous color they give without needing the help of food coloring. Of course, if you want to enhance the color you can certainly add a few drops of food coloring (here’s my favorite).
Since it’s just Bill and I in the house (ya know, not counting all the animals), there’s no point in making a full cake for my birthday.
That’s why I prefer cupcakes 99% of the time – they’re perfectly portioned treats that I can share with others at will.
I haven’t decided if I want my birthday wish to be to stop aging, make all these hurricanes go away forever, suddenly win a trip to Hawaii, find a million dollars with no strings attached, or to just get a good night sleep.
I’m telling you – I’m already an old lady, because I’m pretty sure the last item in that list is my current front runner.
Okay, I think I’ve decided, and it’s none of the above (I promise I’ll let you know if it ever comes true). Time to blow out the candles!
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Red Wine Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
- Gel food coloring, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake pan with 12 liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine egg, buttermilk, olive oil and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed for about 15 seconds until somewhat combined.
- Add dry mixture to the bowl and combine on low speed, gradually increasing speed to medium, until completely combined. Add wine and beat to combine again.
- Pour batter into prepared cupcake liners, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 12-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with a moist crumb.
- Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine blackberries, sugar and lemon juice, frequently stirring and squishing blackberries with the back of a spoon. Heat until blackberries are soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Push the mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl to remove all the seeds and chunks. Let the liquid cool completely - you can place it in the fridge to speed up the process.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add blackberry juice, salt and 1 cup powdered sugar and combine on low speed, gradually increasing speed to high, until completely combined and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, to taste. If you want to make your frosting's color more bold, add food coloring and beat to combine, one drop at a time, until you've reached your desired shade.
- Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choosing and frost cooled cupcakes. Serve and enjoy!