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Savory and Sweet Red Wine Balsamic Chocolate Cupcakes

March 8, 2012

So has everyone else’s past week been as busy as mine?!! Wow! So sorry for not keeping up!  Well I celebrated my 28th birthday this past Saturday 🙂  I also found 2 gray hairs right at the front of my hairline.  Not cool.  I can’t seem to pull them out either, they’re wiry little things.  So I think I’ll just embrace them and possibly give them some names, milfred and winnie maybe?  I don’t know…I’ll work on it.

I may have been slightly too consumed with my gray hairs (ok I was really consumed with work, kids, and other peoples baking) but I didn’t make myself a cake.  I’ve dubbed these my belated birthday cupcakes; savory sweet red wine balsamic chocolate cupcakes.  Phew, think that’s long?  I shortened it from Red wine chocolate cupcakes with ricotta frosting, raspberries and a reduced red wine balsamic glaze!

Whatever you want to call them just know that these were pure awesomeness.  They consist of a moist, slightly flavored red wine chocolate cupcake, topped with a creamy and not too sweet ricotta frosting.  Add in a few raspberries and finished off with a tangy balsamic glaze.

My week actually got busier since I wrote this 🙂  I had scheduled this for Monday but that was before my laptop completely died on me and my desktop wouldn’t connect to the internet.  So I’m finally updating and catching up via my sisters computer which has no photo editing software *gasp*.  Sorry for the lack of photos-I’m still trying to get fully up and running!

One Year Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes and Blackberry filled Doughnuts

Red Wine Balsamic Chocolate Cupcakes with Ricotta Frosting
Recipe adapted from SmittenKitchen
Yields 12-15 standard size cupcakes


1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup good quality ricotta cheese, I like an italian style because its ultra creamy
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional, my personal preference would be a straight balsamic reduction but others said it wasn’t sweet enough-sugar can be added to taste. If you like it sweeter add the full tablespoon maybe a pinch more, if not cut it a bit.)

6 ounces fresh raspberries, rinsed


1. For the balsamic glaze: Bring the red wine, balsamic vinegar and sugar to a simmer in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Reduce heat to maintain and slow simmer and cook until reduced by about half.  Remove from heat and let cool.

2. For the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).  Line a cupcake tins with papers.

Bring the wine and butter to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Turn off the heat once it comes to a simmer and add the brown sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk the egg and sour cream together. Add the wine-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and whisk just until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk just until incorporated. Using rubber spatula, fold the  batter until completely combined.

4. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

5. For the Ricotta Frosting: Drain the ricotta cheese by placing in cheese cloth set inside a mesh sieve over a bowl for about an hour or until it seems like all the excess liquid has drained out.  Place the drained ricotta in a large mixing bowl and blend in the confectioners sugar.  In another bowl beat the heavy cream on high speed to stiff peaks.  Fold the whipped cream into the ricotta until fully incorporated.

6. To serve: Frost the cupcakes with the ricotta frosting, top with fresh raspberries and drizzle the balsamic reduction over top.  Serve immediately.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2012 2:10 am

    OMG…..I don’t know what else to say (and I am never speechless)! These cupcakes look absolutely amazing!

  2. March 8, 2012 5:21 am

    Mmh these little ones look absolutely delicious!

  3. March 8, 2012 5:36 am

    Winnie for sure, I have an elderly relative called Winnie. These do sound incredible – really delicious. A new classic perhaps.

  4. March 8, 2012 7:35 am

    What can I say but WOW.

  5. March 8, 2012 8:39 am

    Hello Linda! Those sound very interesting-got any left for me to sample? Love, Mom

  6. March 8, 2012 9:23 am

    Hey…Happy Birthaday…!!!
    I like everything that has liquor on it, I don’t know, it gives a kind of special touch to a baked food. This cupcakes is wonderful and I will try to make.

  7. March 8, 2012 9:29 am

    What an interesting recipe! Happy belated!

  8. March 8, 2012 10:28 am

    I hope things run more smoothly for you shortly. Happy Belated Birthday! The cupcakes look marvelous!

  9. March 8, 2012 10:54 am

    I love this interesting mix of flavor combinations & Happy Belated Birthday as well!

  10. March 8, 2012 11:27 am

    Happy belated birthday! These cupcakes do have some awesome flavor notes-ricotta, wine and chocolate, hard to say not to that trio. Great photos-I am sure I would enjoy eating one of these gems. Enjoy the day!

  11. March 8, 2012 2:37 pm

    Oh man, this sounds like the kind of treat that keeps you going back for more again and again because it’s such a great contrast of flavors 🙂 Lovely! Plus ricotta frosting makes me deliriously happy.

  12. March 9, 2012 12:38 am

    Red Wine + Chocolate is like the best of two worlds in a teeny tiny cupcake. Love the combination.

  13. March 10, 2012 8:48 am

    Classy and creative, congrats on top 9!

  14. March 10, 2012 2:25 pm

    Belated Happy Birthday 🙂 these cupcakes are great ~ red wine and chocolates hehe ~ never thought of putting them into a cupcake though! Very creative 😉 Congrats for making top 9 on Foodbuzz!

  15. Merlinda permalink
    March 11, 2012 7:54 pm

    Has anyone else tried these cupcakes? Looking for some reviews. Thanks.

  16. Julie Hubbard permalink
    March 15, 2012 11:18 am

    Happy Belated Birthday! I just made these yesterday and took them to a cooking class I had last night. Let’s just say I am their new favorite baker! heehee.
    I twisted your recipe just a bit. I didn’t change ingredients, I just assembled it a little different. When the cupcakes were slightly cooled I poked a few holes in them with a toothpick and with a pastry brush put a few good strokes of the balsamic glaze on the tops to soak in a little. After I frosted them I had soaked some fresh raspberries AND blackberries in the balsamic glaze as well and then placed them on top. They were fantastic. The italian chef from my class gave it two thumbs up. He thought the cake was very moist, loved the flavors and the slight sweetness (but not too sweet) of the ricotta frosting. I have pictures if you have a way for me to post them.

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I am also going to use different wine and balsamic flavors to test out.

    P.S. I love your blog!!

    Julie H.

    • March 15, 2012 11:39 am

      Thank you! I’m so glad you liked them! Your variation sounds fantastic-I LOVE balsamic vinegar so I think I’ll have to make them again and try the brushing and soaking! I haven’t figured out how to have other post photos here (although I may do a gallery page soon) but you can upload them on the purple spoon facebook page! or email them! I would love to see!

  17. March 15, 2012 2:40 pm

    holy cow this sounds seriously amazing! definitely bookmarking this!

  18. March 17, 2012 8:47 am

    WOW! You should join Cupcake Wars. This looks and sounds awesome! x


  1. Savory and Sweet Red Wine Balsamic Chocolate Cupcakes « The Best Cupcake Recipes
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