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Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Red Wine Buttercream

How could you resist delicious vanilla cupcakes topped with a full-flavored chocolate red wine buttercream?

Head-on view of a vanilla cupcake with chocolate red wine buttercream swirled on top on a white plate with two other cupcakes and recipe title at top

In an ideal world, we would put wine in everything. Well, maybe not everything because that could get weird. Couldn’t it? I mean… wait. Is there anything wine wouldn’t be good in? I’m honestly struggling to come up with anything here. Coffee? Let’s go with coffee. But no, coffee wine is actually a thing, so even that doesn’t work. Maybe milkshakes. I probably wouldn’t put wine in a milkshake. So, I think my point is that wine goes with almost everything. And we should take advantage of that.

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that my friends, Kyle and Jeff, throw the best parties and that those parties typically involve wine (exhibit ab, and c). And the most ridiculously awesome food you’ve ever seen. This weekend was their 5th annual wine pairing party and was definitely the best one yet (and that’s saying a lot!). Over the years, I’ve brought dessert to the party and I typically try to incorporate wine into the dessert in some way. I’ve done red and white wine cupcakes and red wine truffles. This year I went with Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Red Wine Buttercream.

VANILLA CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE RED WINE BUTTERCREAM

On the surface, the vanilla cupcakes are really nothing overly special, though I did add a double dose of vanilla into them because I wanted them to be full flavored. I almost used Wilton’s Champagne flavoring in the cupcake batter, but then I wasn’t sure it would be appropriate to combine champagne and red wine into one treat. Though I’d totally argue that they go fabulously together! But the chocolate red wine buttercream is really where it’s at with these cupcakes. You need to try these!!

I made mini cupcakes, but this recipe is the same for mini or regular sized. Just make sure to pay attention to the baking time differences below!

Overhead view of a mini cupcake pan with 3 eggs and a half stick of butter on a granite counter

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar together, until it’s light and fluffy. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Then, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with  whole milk. Add vanilla and mix until just blended.

Collage showing process for making vanilla cupcakes, including dry ingredients whisked in a mixing bowl, butter and sugar being creamed together, and cupcake batter in mixing bowl

I love making cupcakes with the egg white method. All you have to do is beat egg whites with a hand mixer or whisk (you gotta have a lot of arm strength to do it by hand!) until stiff peaks form. And then gently fold the egg whites into the batter, until just blended. This helps make the cupcakes extra light and fluffy.

In a lined cupcake pan or cupcake pan sprayed with cooking spray, fill about ¾ of the way full with batter. I have a seriously ridiculous amount of baking supplies (honestly, once I organize them, I need to take some pictures), but for some reason, I do not have mini cupcake papers. I just sprayed the pan with cooking spray and they came out perfectly fine.

Collage showing process for making vanilla cupcakes, including egg whites whisked to stiff peaks in mixing bowl, egg whites being folded into cupcake batter, and cupcake batter in mini cupcake tin

Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for about 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. If you want to make mini cupcakes instead, they should only need about 9-11 minutes in the oven. Cool the cupcakes in tins for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Mini vanilla cupcakes cooling on wire rack

While the cupcakes are baking, I whipped up the icing. I’ve made SO much buttercream frosting over the past couple months and I feel like I finally have my ratios where I want them. This threw me off a little bit since I added more liquid than usual with the red wine, but it piped onto the cupcakes wonderfully.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter until creamy. Then slowly blend in powdered sugar, cup by cup until it’s well-combined.

Mix in vanilla and 1/4 cup of red wine. If your buttercream is too thick, add another teaspoon red wine at a time. The more red wine, the better! But still… you don’t want your frosting to be too runny or it won’t pipe well. Plus, the less you put in the buttercream, the more you can straight drink!

Red wine buttercream on paddle of stand mixer

Now, remove half of the buttercream to a separate bowl. Add 1/4 C cocoa powder to mixer with remaining red wine buttercream and beat until well combined.

Chocolate red wine buttercream in stand mixer

To pipe the swirl design onto the mini cupcakes, I simply took one pastry bag fitted with a coupler and tip and filled with halfway with the red wine-only buttercream on one side and the chocolate red wine buttercream on the other. It helps if you place the pastry bag in a drinking glass to fill. Martha Stewart has a good tutorial, but she recommends piping the two frostings into a third bag… And I didn’t really feel like using three pastry bags for this, so I just scooped the frostings into one bag instead.

I used Wilton tip #2A (affiliate link). If you’re making full-sized cupcakes, you’ll probably want to use #1A (affiliate link). Starting at the outside edge of the cupcake, pipe red wine buttercream in circular fashion all the way around until you get to the center. Continue to squeeze as you lift the tip.

Overhead view of a white plate with three vanilla cupcakes with chocolate red wine buttercream swirled on top with baking rack with more cupcakes in the background

Cupcakes with this frosting design always remind me of ice cream cones. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these are even better than ice cream cones. Because… Wine. Wine frosting. WUT. Yes.

I should mention that for the wine, I used La Maialina Gertrude Toscana, which is a dry red wine and one of my family’s favorites. Partly because of the adorable bottle. And partly because it’s a good every day wine that is reasonably priced and delicious-tasting.

Head-on view of a bottle of Gertrude Toscana Red Wine with pig on the bottle

I love how the wine just slightly tints the buttercream frosting pink. But I also loved how it tastes. The chocolate red wine buttercream is most definitely the best chocolate buttercream I’ve ever made. I will proudly admit I ate quite a bit of it when I licked the beaters. Frosting shots are probably the best thing in the world. Wine frosting shots are even better.

I also forgot how much I love mini cupcakes. You can pretty much eat these in one bite if you’re feeling bold. Otherwise, two bites. And then you can have another. And maybe even another after that.

Landscape view of two plates with 3 vanilla cupcakes with chocolate red wine buttercream on each of them with baking rack with more cupcakes in the background along with a bottle of wine

And not using cupcake papers just means that you can gobble them up faster. Although, edible cupcake papers do exist. Which I simultaneously think is really weird and really awesome.

Cupcakes, cake, and frosting have consumed so much of my life lately. And I don’t see that slowing down any time soon. Hopefully my metabolism won’t either…

Head-on image of three vanilla cupcakes with chocolate red wine buttercream swirled on top on a white plate

I was really happy to see that lots of the red wine buttercream cupcakes had disappeared by the end of the evening. This may not be a feat your average other party, but Kyle and Jeff serve some of the best food you’ve ever seen or tasted. I didn’t photograph everything this year, but I do have to share the mini eggs Benedict that Jeff added to the menu this year. Not only did he make homemade mini English muffins, but he actually smoked his own bacon!! And, of course, poached all those little quail eggs individually. I’m still mad at myself for thinking I could go back for more after trying everything else at the party- everyone seriously devoured these.

Overhead view of mini eggs benedict with homemade bacon, hollandaise sauce, and chives

Other standouts included mini waffles and chicken, pistachio paté and pastrami toasts, parmesan cups with goat cheese mousse, pork belly buns, duck confit and SO much more.

We closed out the party and Jeff broke out the extra bacon after-hours… Because everyone knows an after party requires bacon! Here are me and Kim with our fabulous hostess, Kyle, and Adam and Chris with our fabulous host, Jeff:

Collage showing party guests and friends at the wine partyOK, now I’m starving and feel like I need more of those eggs Benedicts before I eat more cupcakes and red wine buttercream. Do you think Kyle and Jeff will let me move in?? Only half kidding…

Can you think of anything that wine doesn’t go with??

If you like these vanilla cupcakes with chocolate red wine buttercream, be sure to check out my Red Wine Chocolate Mini Layer Cakes. I also can’t wait to try these Cupcakes with Mulled Wine from Blueberry Vegan!

5 from 5 votes
Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Red Wine Buttercream
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
17 mins
Total Time
37 mins
 

How could you resist delicious vanilla cupcakes topped with a full-flavored chocolate buttercream with a touch of red wine?

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Buttercream Frosting, Wine Cupcakes, Wine Desserts
Servings: 12 regular-sized cupcakes or 32 mini cupcakes
Author: Sues
Ingredients
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3 large egg whites
Chocolate Red Wine Buttercream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcakes pan with papers (or spray with cooking spray).

  2. 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.

  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the whole milk.
  5. Add vanilla and mix until just blended.
  6. In another separate medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites with a hand mixer or whisk until stiff peaks form.

  7. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, until just blended.
  8. In prepared cupcake pan, fill each cavity about ¾ of the way full with batter.

  9. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-17 minutes (about 9-11 minutes for mini cupcakes), until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool cupcakes in tins for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  11. In a pastry bag fitted with round tip (I used a Wilton #2A for mini cupcakes), spoon red wine buttercream on one side. Spoon chocolate red wine buttercream on other side of bag, taking care to leave the two buttercreams as separate as possible.

  12. Starting at the outside of the cupcakes, pipe buttercream in circular fashion until you get to the center. Continue to squeeze as you lift tip.

Chocolate Red Wine Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.

  2. Slowly blend in the powdered sugar, cup by cup until well-combined.
  3. Mix in vanilla and red wine. If your buttercream is too thick, add another teaspoon red wine at a time.
  4. Remove half of the buttercream to a separate bowl. Add cocoa powder to mixer with remaining buttercream and beat until well combined.

 

Vanilla Cupcakes with Red Wine Buttercream -- How could you resist delicious vanilla cupcakes topped with a full-flavored chocolate buttercream with a touch of red wine? | wearenotmartha.com #redwine #wine #buttercream #frosting #cupcakes

32 Responses to "Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Red Wine Buttercream"

  1. Velva says:

    I think wine is a really creative ingredient in frosting-love it. It provides a really nice tinge of light red to the frosting too. A very fun idea/evening.

    Velva

  2. The frosting is to die for!! And I love the swirl, I can just make a big batch and pump it directly into my mouth, the flavor combo is to die for. I haven’t made cupcakes in so long, but after seeing these I know I must make them.

  3. Culinary Flavors says:

    Wine in cooking and baking makes such an interesting addition! I am sure they tasted great!

  4. Kelly - Life Made Sweeter says:

    These are such pretty cupcakes! The red wine is such a fun addition!

  5. Barbara says:

    I love this idea! Now I can use the little bit of wine left over from my roasted rhubarb in your frosting recipe! 🙂
    Fun pics…looks like you had a great time.

  6. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says:

    You had me at red wine buttercream! These cupcakes look amazing! And I’m in awe of that pretty frosting. Looks delish!

  7. Kevin @ Closet Cooking says:

    Those cupcakes look great and I love the sound of the chocolate red wine buttercream!

  8. Pam says:

    My kind of cupcakes! The poached quail eggs look tasty too.

  9. Mary Frances says:

    Wow!! These look absolutely divine! I don’t think I’ve ever had a cupcake made with red wine before. Will have to try these sometime for a special treat 🙂

  10. Annie @ ciaochowbambina says:

    Wow! I love the idea of this!! Wine with AND in our dessert?! I’m in love!!

  11. lena says:

    how lovely the colour of the buttercream is…and they must have tasted superb together with the soft and moist cupcakes. This is the first time i hear of edible cupcake liners!

  12. Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog says:

    OMG! How pretty are these cupcakes, love how you got that swirl, definitely something i’m going to need to practice 🙂

  13. Leah | So, How's It Taste? says:

    Gosh, this is so genius. I’m having a hard time thinking of something I wouldn’t try wine in either! Dessert…most definitely! I bet that red wine buttercream goes so fabulously with the chocolate!

  14. Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor says:

    Wow, that looks like a fabulous party! I love the swirl on these cupcakes and the addition of the red wine is just perfect.

  15. The Duo Dishes says:

    Red wine and chocolate are a dream together. Haven’t had them in frosting, but if it works for cake, it has to work for frosting!

  16. Susan says:

    Chocolate and wine? Those are two of my favorite food groups! Genius idea to pair them together in a frosting for the cupcakes. I think I would have hung out at the eggs benedict table a little longer 😉 What a great event!

  17. Jessica @ Sweetest Menu says:

    Aw these cupcakes are gorgeous! I LOVE making rainbow icing – so so so pretty!

  18. Mir says:

    It never occurred to me that red wine went with buttercream! And now it’s high up on my to-taste list. This is an awesome idea!

  19. Odetta says:

    Must make!!! These are so pretty…

  20. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    That buttercream looks sooooo good!! Holy smokes!

  21. Joanne says:

    That red wine chocolate swirl, tho. Be still, my heart.

  22. Sam @ SugarSpunRun says:

    These look incredible, I love love LOVE that there is wine in the icing! Beautiful!

  23. Annie @ The Garlic Diaries says:

    Chocolate and red wine frosting??? I am all about that life. Ship me some please!!!

  24. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic says:

    You know I love boozy desserts! Red wine buttercream sounds amazing, and it so pretty!

  25. Ashley (QLCC) says:

    I really want to make cakeballs out of these and I don’t know why…

  26. Rachel says:

    wow these are SO beautiful! i love the idea of red wine in everything 🙂 we are so on the same page! also – never thought to put it in buttercream but GREAT idea!

  27. Neela Manogar says:

    Look beautiful and thanks for sharing this recipe.

  28. Beth says:

    What an amazing party! And I absolutely love how you swirled the colours in your buttercream.

  29. Sneha says:

    I think wine is a really creative ingredient in frosting-love it. It provides a really nice tinge of light red to the frosting too.I can just make a big batch and pump it directly into my mouth, the flavor combo is to die for. I haven’t made cupcakes in so long, but after seeing these I know I must make them.I bet that red wine buttercream goes so fabulously with the chocolate:) Thanks for sharing an awesome update .. 🙂

  30. Debra says:

    These cupcakes are nothing short of fabulous! I can’t wait to bake them–soon! 🙂

  31. Dani @ House in Tillford says:

    I love that swirl design! Not only does it look good but its a yummy flavour combo

  32. LisaR. says:

    Looks delicious mad divine! Can’t wait to make these.

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