These Red Wine Cupcakes are deliciously chocolatey and moist with a subtle red wine flavor, topped off with a sweet cream cheese frosting. They're perfect for serving at cocktail parties or girls nights in!
What's better than a cupcake? A cupcake with a side of wine. And what's better than that? A cupcake with wine IN it.
I first made these red wine cupcakes for my sister's wedding shower years ago and since then, I've made them plenty more times… They're always a delicious success.
These chocolate cupcakes have just a touch of red wine flavor of them and are topped off with a delicious cream cheese frosting.
You could add some wine into your frosting, too, if you desire… I actually also have a recipe for vanilla cupcakes with chocolate red wine frosting, so you can mix and match the cupcakes and frostings however you want.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
Whether you have a bottle of red wine with just a little bit left or you need a good excuse to open up a brand new bottle of red wine, these cupcakes are the perfect solution!
They're easy to make and are always a hit at parties, especially adults-only parties or Valentine's Day parties. I think they add a little bit of class and a little bit of fun to the typical cupcake.
And they're certainly a unique twist on a typical traditional recipe. Of course, they're absolutely delicious!
These red wine cupcakes require mostly simple basic baking ingredients, aside from that wine!
Here's everything you need (but be sure to check the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions):
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Semisweet chocolate chips
- Boiling water
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Large eggs
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Fruity red wine: I recommend using a merlot, red zinfandel, or pinot noir
And if you want to make the delicious cream cheese frosting, too, here's everything you need for that:
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Confectioners' sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Food coloring of your choice: if you want the frosting to be colored
If you're looking for a unique frosting, try this creamy and fluffy butter cream cheese frosting instead.
🧁 How to make red wine cupcakes
To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
In a heatproof bowl combine cocoa powder and chocolate chips.
Pour in the boiling water. Using a whisk, stir the chocolate until it's all melted. It's going to be difficult for you to not grab a spoon here!
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
Then beat in each egg one at a time until combined.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Then slowly add those dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture making sure it's all combined, but taking care not to over-mix.
Add half of the chocolate and half of the red wine to the mixture and blend until just combined. Add remaining chocolate and wine and blend again until just combined. Now you're really going to want to grab a spoon!
Pour batter into prepared muffin tin about ¾ of the way full.
Awesome tip I learned from my mom? Use an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop to spoon your batter into the cupcake papers. It is SO much easier than anything else I've tried!
Pop those babies in the oven for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool in the tin for a couple minutes before moving to baking racks to cool completely.
👩🍳 How to make cream cheese frosting
I knew my sister was a big fan of cream cheese icing and I figured it would complement the red wine cupcakes quite well.
And since it was so delicious, I've made the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting every time since. But like I said, you can make any frosting that best suits your tastes.
Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy, 3-4 minutes. Then add in salt and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add the confectioner's sugar one cup at at a time and beat to combine. I added a little pink food coloring and some fun sprinkles.
I love when I find a way to combine two of my favorite things into one delicious treat! These red wine cupcakes are perfectly chocolate-y and super moist, with just a touch of red wine flavor.
The cream cheese frosting balances out the chocolate perfectly, while still allowing the cupcakes to be the star of the show.
⏲️ How to store
Because these cupcakes have cream cheese frosting, I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you're stacking the cupcakes in the container, place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper between each layer to prevent them from sticking together.
They should stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Girls night? Cocktail party? Wine tasting? Or just a random Friday night? There's no bad time for red wine cupcakes!
OK, maybe you shouldn't make them for a kid's birthday party… Don't worry, they only have a little wine in them and the alcohol burns off in the oven. But I'm not quite sure what the other parents would think if you served these to kids.
But for the adults at the party? These are totally necessary. I also have to mention that they go perfectly with a nice glass of red wine on the side!
🎉 Variations on recipe
I love these rich chocolate cupcakes with sweet cream cheese frosting, but I also have lots of ideas for variations on the recipe. Here are some of my favorites:
- Top the cupcakes with the frosting of your choice. I love the idea of using a chocolate ganache or a luscious fresh raspberry packed buttercream.
- Feel free to use cake mix to make your cupcakes. I recommend replacing the water in the recipe with red wine.
- To amp these moist cupcakes up even more, add a chocolate ganache filling (or a red wine ganache filling!) to the center of the cupcake.
🍷 More recipes with wine
Wine lovers unite! I am a big fan of incorporating wine into my desserts to make them boozy treats. But I also use it a lot in my savory dishes, too. Here are some of my favorite recipes:
I also love these red wine poached pears from The Flavor Bender.
Have you ever incorporated wine into a dessert?
Red Wine Cupcakes
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup boiling water
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cups fruity red wine (like merlot, red zinfandel, or pinot noir)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 5 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 Tbsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake tins with cupcake papers.
- Combine cocoa powder and chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl and pour in the boiling water. Let sit for one minute before using a whisk to stir the chocolate until it’s melted and smooth.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well blended.
- In a separate medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and blend until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.
- Add half the chocolate mixture and half the wine and blend until just combined. Add the rest of the chocolate and the rest of the wine and blend again until just combined.
- Fill cupcake papers about ¾ of the way full (I like to use a cookie scoop to fill). Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool for a couple minutes in pan before moving to wire racks to cool completely. Frost cupcakes once they're completely cooled. Top with sprinkles if desired.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Mix in vanilla and salt.
- Add confectioners' sugar one cup at a time until completely combined.
- If you want some color to your frosting, add a couple drops of food coloring or gel in and blend well.