I don’t believe in Red Velvet Cake. I know people call it their favorite, but I just don’t get it. It’s a barely chocolate cake with enough red food coloring in it to just make it weird. Seriously. If it wasn’t blood-red would people even care? But I do believe in Red wine. And Dark Chocolate. And combining the two. I love a Velvety Red wine with notes of Coffee and Chocolate so why not just turn it into a cupcake?! I served these the other night when my girlfriends came over for drinks and nibbles. I think they were a big hit among the ladies…there were a lot of groans and eye rollings so it was kinda hard to tell.
Now, you know that I often use cake mixes as the base for a lot of my cake recipes simply because I get so much for free, or close to it, with my couponing. I do know how to bake from scratch, but sometimes when you’ve got two little kids demanding your attention and affection, and you have the box within arms reach, it’s just easier to not have to measure a couple things. I have a wonderful Chocolate Cake Recipe that can be used in place of the mix (just the dry ingredients) if you’re anti-mix. But I don’t have a moral issue with the boxed mix…I’m adding so many things to it it’s barely a Pillsbury product anymore.
So, here they are- I hope you enjoy them as much as my gals and I did!
*Dark Chocolate-Red Wine Cupcakes with Cream Cheese-Kahlua Frosting
(makes about 18 cupcakes)
-In a large mixing bowl add the contents of 1 box of chocolate cake mix*, 1 box of powdered chocolate pudding mix, 1 cup of a dry, red wine**, 1/2 cup of canola or vegetable oil, 4 eggs, about 1 tsp of espresso powder or instant coffee and EITHER 4-6 ounces of sour cream or yogurt, 1 snack sized container of chocolate pudding or about 1/2 cup of chocolate syrup. Mix this with an electric beater until all the dry ingredients have been moistened and there are no more lumps.
-Add in 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and mix by spatula.
-Line 2 muffin pans with liners (18 cupcakes is what I usually end up with) and grease each liner.
-Using a medium sized ice cream scoop, scoop some batter into each cup, filling it all the way up (these have a beautiful rise, and I like a big cupcake but if you want more, smaller cupcakes, fill them only 3/4 of the way).
-Press a Hershey’s kiss*** deep into the center of each and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
-Allow to cool completely on a rack before frosting (recipe below).
*Cream Cheese-Kahlua Frosting
-In a medium bowl mix 2 bricks of Neufchatel cream cheese, softened, along with 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened, a pinch of kosher salt, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and a good splash of kahlua or other coffee liqueur. Beat until fluffy. Frost your cooled cupcakes.
-Dust each cupcake with cocoa powder or top with dark chocolate shavings if desired.
(*I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devils Food Cake, but I am always using a different brand considering I’m only ‘buying’ them because of the sale/coupon match-up)
(**Although these aren’t my favorite red wines to sip, a very oaky California Cab or a Rioja are great choices for your baking because of the vanilla aspect to their flavor profile. But, by all means, use whatever you have!!)
(***I used the Hershey’s ‘Air Delight’ Kisses because that’s just what I happened to have. They are creamier than the standard kiss, which worked perfectly for this recipe)