Red Wine Cupcakes

A couple of months ago, my friends at Avalon Winery asked me to come up with a recipe to promote their new cooking contest for this year. If you’ll remember, they sent me to the Charleston Food & Wine Festival last year to compete in their America’s Greatest Foods Recipe Challenge. I didn’t win, I came in last actually (hey, some people can’t handle the idea of fish served with red, even when chorizo is involved – what are you going to do?) but after that trip – visiting the city of Charleston for the first time, meeting such influential chefs like The Lee Brothers and the great Art SmithΒ (he asked me where to get a cup of coffee, y’all – and then he went to that coffee shop the whole time he was in town!), getting drunk with Kelly Liken, and making some new friends… I came out a winner in the end anyway!

So when they offered to send me a few bottles of their delicious Cabernet Sauvignon to develop a recipe with, of course I jumped at the offer. Guys, it’s seriously one of the best reds you’ll find for the price point. For under $10 a bottle, it really can’t be beat. Rich and fruity, with all kinds of delicious berry notes going on. Rolls right off the tongue, with very few harsh tannins that tend to come along with red wines. It’s available nationally, I always have luck finding it at Whole Foods (if your Whole Foods carries wine that is!). But, if you can’t find it – definitely ask your local wine distributor to carry it. I promise that you won’t be disappointed!

I ended up making two dishes with the bottle I opened…since I can’t do much drinking of the stuff at the moment due to baby #3. The first of which was more traditional, and I plan to share with you guys soon – then there were these cupcakes. Red wine and chocolate pair so well together anyways, I thought a cupcake wasn’t too far of a fetch. Boy, do I love being right!

The batter was absolutely beautiful…light and fluffy, and baked up gorgeous! For the frosting I went Β the traditional route, used my simple vanilla buttercream with a bit of the wine added to it for flavor and a tint of color. It was definitely unlike any cupcake I’d had before, but still absolutely delicious. I loved how the acidity of the wine cut the sweetness of the frosting. And, of course the color was lovely!

These cupcakes would most definitely be perfect for your Valentine, and they’re something different that friends and family probably haven’t seen before – but will most certainly be intrigued by. I hope you guys enjoy, and a big thanks to Avalon for giving me an excuse to make them!


  1. Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

    I wish people sent me wine! Since I love reds, I’ll have to look for it at our specialty store. Also, love the cupcakes. They look so elegant!

  2. Posted January 24, 2014 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    great idea. it looks delish!

  3. Posted January 25, 2014 at 12:51 AM | Permalink

    I never drink wine but I do love eating it…

  4. Posted January 26, 2014 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Red wine and chocolate…there’s really nothing better! I generally drink while I bake anyway, guess maybe this time the wine will actually go IN the baked goods πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to try these!

  5. Kim in MD
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    Chocolate and red wine are a match made in heaven. Great job with these cupcakes! They look beautiful and delicious. I think I have seen that wine at local store. I’m going to look for it!

    • Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

      Kim, please let me know if you find it up your way! I’d like to know of a stop on this side of the bridge that carries it πŸ™‚

  6. Posted January 27, 2014 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    Red wine in the frosting? Thats beyond crazy! I’m not super into drinking wine but love the flavor it gives as an ingredient. Can’t wait to try this out! Bet it would pair ridiculously well with a red velvet cake too, just in time for valentines day πŸ˜€

  7. Stevi Gray
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

    I found the recipe on Pinterest and just made them last night. I LOVED them. And couldn’t wait to get home from work today to eat more. I appreciated that I had all the ingredients already and it was a simple recipe to follow. I will definitely be making these again. They are so indulgent. Thanks! Now excuse me while I eat another. πŸ™‚

    • Posted April 1, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

      So glad you enjoyed them! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.

  8. Greg the Baker
    Posted April 5, 2014 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    I made the cupcakes last week and they were AMAZING! Thanks for sharing your recipe. My sister tried one and was floored! I love how the cabernet tempers the sweetness in the frosting and it also makes for an inviting aroma even before biting into the cupcake. Cheers to you!

  9. Jay-Alice
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Hi there, awesome recipe! Can I try other types of wine? Also, do you have tips on making frosting? Always cant seem to get the frosting? they turn out super duper liquidy! :O

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

      Hi Jay-Alice! I’m sure other types of wine would work well too. Next time just keep adding more confectioner’s sugar to the frosting, until it’s the consistency and thickness you’d like.

      • Jay-Alice
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

        Hi Laura, thanks for replying πŸ™‚ really appreciate it. The thing is if i add icing sugar, itll be too sweet, ive been trying to make earl grey frosting and when i add two tablespoons of earl grey to the mix, it doesnt come through. even when i switch to tea leaves, the taste is still relatively mild.

        • Amanda
          Posted July 12, 2014 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

          If you want a more intense flavor, you can cook off liquid in a saucepan. For the red wine, you can create a syrup with 1/3 c. Red wine and 1 tbsp granulated sugar. Cook it over medium heat while stirring until it’s reduced to three tablespoons. Then add a half teaspoon or so of wine after you’ve added the syrup to the butter and the confectioners sugar to the mix.

  10. Heather
    Posted February 9, 2015 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    I made these yesterday–the cupcake itself is ohhh delicious!!! However, the frosting is way too sweet. I love sweets like it’s my job, but this just tastes like confectioner’s sugar. But again, the cupcake itself…Will definitely make them again–the red wine with chocolate makes for a great mix!!

  11. Sarah
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    I found your recipe on Pinterest and knew I had to bake these Delicious looking Red wine cupcakes for a shared birthday bash for my brother and his lady. Let me say, Everyone raved over these suckers. If I had known how perfect these were going to be I would have made a triple batch.

    As a side note I couldn’t find anyAvalon wines in my area so I used Red Velvet from Cupcake.

    • Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

      Glad they turned out so well, Sarah. And good red wine would be fine in the recipe – that sounds like a great choice! πŸ™‚

  12. Sarah Allen
    Posted March 1, 2015 at 8:18 PM | Permalink


    Do you think it would work to halve this recipe? I know halving recipes can be risky but I really only need six! Would you suggest just using one egg (in place of the one egg + one yolk)? Let me know if you have any recommendations πŸ™‚


  13. Posted March 13, 2015 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

    Let me tell you… These are by far the best cupcakes I have tried.

    I’m very new at food blogging, I opened my blog a few weeks ago. I just baked these and I will share the recipe next week (of course, giving you full credits for the recipe). I’m frosting them tomorrow (to get better light for the pictures), but I couldn’t resist and had to eat one… They are pure glory, I can’t wait to try them frosted. Thank you for this recipe πŸ™‚ I’ll let you know when I post it.

  14. Pam bull
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    Is the confectioners sugar the same as icing sugar please

  15. Pam bull
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    Hi what size cup do you use please I normally work in grams so not sure of the weights of flour etc thanks x

  16. Jen
    Posted June 18, 2015 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    Could I try a different wine??

  17. Sandra
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

    Ok so I totally misread the recipe where it says to add “sugars” I only added granulated sugar not the brown ? will it still work or did I totally screw this one up ? Lol

    • Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

      How did they turn out? My money is on okay, but not as sweet? Hope it worked out for you!

  18. Polly
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Hi Laura,

    I’m assuming the answer is yes, but want to double check… does the alcohol bake off while in the oven?


  19. Mike
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    Cupcakes were super yummy! This is how I will be using leftover reds from now on. Great recipe

    • Tracy
      Posted May 10, 2017 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

      I didn’t know there was such a thing as leftover wine!! ?Lol!

  20. varsha
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    Absolutely loved this recipe… i halved it and baked it on a cake tin though, turned out beautifully nevertheless. Thank you!!

  21. Anna Granger
    Posted July 11, 2016 at 6:04 AM | Permalink

    Will cream cheese frosting work great with these cupcakes too?

    • Posted August 2, 2016 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

      I’m not sure how the cream cheese would react with the acidity of the wine. But, regular cream cheese frosting – I think that would be great!

  22. Patty
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    I like to bake so I would like to try to your beautiful cupcakes.

  23. Karen
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    They were ok. I’ve had way better.

    • Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

      Glad to know you see Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes on the regular, Karen. And, thanks for taking the time to come back and comment πŸ˜‰

  24. Chris
    Posted September 24, 2017 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Just finished making these for a friends Birthday tomorrow. Everything came together in the instruction just fine. And the cupcakes look really good. But I had to add more Powdered Sugar then you call for. Because the butter being room temp justvwould not thicken up good. Next time I think I will do a 50/50 mix of butter and shorting so the frosting won’t be so over sweet. Otherwise s I’ve printed the recipe and have put it in my
    “Pinterest success ” notebook.

    • Posted October 7, 2017 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

      Sometimes buttercream messes with me too, Chris. Especially in the summer when there is lots of humidity. Just keep adding sugar until it’s the thickness you’d like!

  25. Patsy
    Posted December 31, 2017 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    I just finished baking these cupcakes and they are fantastic. I only had one problem, half way through the baking process, I turned my oven light on to check on them. They were perfectly baking to the top of the cup. I left the light on, by mistake, and by the time the had finished baking, they had dropped. I also use a convection setting. Any suggestions? I figure I will fill the indentation with the frosting.

    • Posted January 6, 2018 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

      Not sure, I’ve had this happen before with my chocolate cake too. These batters that are thin seem to be more temperamental than a nice thick batter. I just usually fill in with extra frosting an no one knows the difference!

  26. Posted January 30, 2018 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

    As I was reading your story about the fish in the red wine, all I could think about was Craig from Parks and Rec trying to talk Donna into a white to go with her fish rather than a full bodied red. Luckily cupcakes go well with any type of wine πŸ™‚

  27. Samantha
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    Can this recipe be made vegan? What could be used in place of one egg and one egg yolk? Typically I use apple sauce; not sure the measurement with the additional egg yolk. Thoughts?

  28. Lianna Spring
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    These are the best chocolate cupcakes! I made them for a potluck at a vineyard. I use a small layer of chocolate/wine ganache on top, then frosted with a raspberry swiss meringue butter cream, in a rose design. They were so delicious! Thank you for testing and presenting such wonderful recipes.

    • Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

      Yay, glad you enjoyed them Lianna. That swiss meringue butter cream sounds phenomenal!

  29. Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

    Is the butter used salted or unsalted?

One Trackback

  1. […] Cupcake recipe is a variation on this recipe from Rachael Ray. Frosting recipe is a variation on this recipe from Tide and Thyme. […]

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