Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so I’ve decided to start a new series: small batch cupcakes. I can’t be the only one out there who wants only a couple cupcakes (it’s just me and my husband, and the husband isn’t home half the time), but in gourmet, fun flavors. I don’t have professional training, but I have been looking at cookbooks since before I could read. Let me know in the comments if you make any tweaks and how it turned out!
Don’t get overwhelmed by this–I promise it’s easier than it sounds. Today’s recipe contains the following elements:
- Chocolate cupcakes
- Red wine chocolate ganache
- Red wine syrup
- Red wine buttercream
Let’s get into it!
T = Tablespoon
t = teaspoon
(I don’t remember where I first saw this format, but it helps me keep things straight!)
Chocolate Cupcakes for Two
1 egg white
2 T sugar
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1/4 t (unleveled) baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 T milk
2 T cocoa powder (I like the dark kind)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place two cupcake liners in the center of a cupcake tin. I like to do a super quick spray with some cooking spray so the cupcake comes off the paper easily.
In a small bowl (think cereal bowl size), mix the egg white and sugar until combined. I used a fork for this to get some air into it.
Add in and mix butter and vanilla.
Note: stir the egg while adding the melted butter so you don’t accidentally cook it.
Add in the dry ingredients and mix until JUST combined. You don’t want to over-mix the batter.
Scoop batter into cupcake liners, distributing evenly.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or 15-18 if you have a terrible oven like me. Do the toothpick-in-center test and adjust accordingly.
Remove from the oven, then carefully remove cupcakes to a cooling rack.
While these are baking you can start on the red wine syrup for the buttercream. Let’s work our way through that next!
Red Wine Syrup
1/2 cup red wine (I like to use cabernet sauvignon)
1 1/2 T sugar
Pour wine and sugar into small saucepan.
Heat on medium low; bring to simmer.
Simmer for a several minutes (mine took about 10), stirring occasionally. Reduce until liquid coats the back of a spoon.
Red Wine Buttercream
2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 T milk
1/4 t vanilla
1-3 T wine syrup
In small bowl, use a fork to cream butter–you’re just breaking it up from it’s square shape at this point.
Gradually add powdered sugar to butter. I like to use the gentle mashing method so I don’t get a face full of powdered sugar.
Add in milk and vanilla, mix.
Add in wine syrup, 1 Tablespoon at a time, to taste. I used 3 Tablespoons for a stronger flavor. You SHOULD have some leftover syrup, which we’ll use to brush over the cupcakes in a little bit.
Whip buttercream as best you can (you can use an electric tool if you have one, but I just used a fork and it turned out great).
Red Wine Chocolate Ganache
2 oz dark chocolate
1 1/2 t heavy cream
2 t wine, more to taste (I added about 5 t)
Add chocolate and cream to a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave until chocolate is starting to melt, about 30 seconds. Stir.
If mixture is melted, remove and move onto the next step. If it’s not melted yet, microwave longer, 10 seconds at a time until chocolate is melted.
Add wine, a teaspoon or two at a time, tasting a little as you go to get it just right for you.
Take cupcakes and cut a piece out of the center top for the ganache filling. I like to do this with a knife cutting in a circle at an angle (see photos at the bottom of this post). If you have a gadget for this, go for it!
Take remaining wine syrup and drizzle over the newly made holes, lightly coating the interier of the cupcake. If you’ve managed to use up all of your syrup, no worries! Just use a little more wine from the bottle. It’ll still be good.
Pour ganache into cupcakes. This is best done while the ganache is still liquid. The ganache will solidify as it cools, which makes it not stick to the cupcake as well. This is why I make the ganache last.
Pop the cupcakes into the fridge or freezer while you get your buttercream ready.
Take an icing bag or ziplock bag and cut a hole in the tip. If you have icing tips, go ahead and insert your fav. I like using a star tip because it makes the cupcakes look a little rose-like. You can absolutely just use a bag by itself if you don’t have any tips! Just use what you have.
Fold over the top edge of the bag and fill icing bag with your buttercream. Twist the top just above the frosting, and gently squeeze the buttercream towards the top. At this point I like to do a mini practice frosting on one of the scraps of cake I cut out. Yum!
Take the cupcakes out of the freezer and frost. I just go in a spiral from the outer edge to the middle. Be gentle around the ganache if it hasn’t fully set yet.
Decorate! Okay, this is totally optional, but I’ve accumulated random sprinkles through the years, so of course I have to add some extra pizzazz. I decided to go with a classy pearl sprinkle, and I love the way they turned out!
I didn’t use just one recipe for this, because I couldn’t find one like it or one that worked. I scaled down some of the recipes, or pulled just part of the recipe that I needed for the chocolate wine theme. I pulled bit and pieces from the following:
Cupcakes for two: The Whimsical Cupcake
Red wine buttercream: 4 Sons ‘R’ Us
Red wine ganache: Our Jank Kitchen