Once upon a time there was a box. It traveled across the country to arrive at my door. The box was ordinary on the outside. The contents are what made it extraordinary. Opening it revealed two bottles of Gallo Family Vineyards wine and a lovely note. The note included information on the wines and sparked a thought process. My mind went into gear and soon a new recipe was developed: Merlot Cherry Cupcakes with Sweet White Frosting.
What made me decide on cupcakes? One of the wines was Sweet White Blend and I consider it a dessert wine. It is what took me in the direction of dessert. I thought of my Chocolate Kirsch Cupcakes and used that recipe as a starting point. GFV Merlot has flavors of black cherry and ripe plum. Of course I honed in on cherry and decided wine-soaked cherries would sub great for chocolate chips. The wine itself would sub for Kirschwasser. Next was the decision on frosting and it was an easy one. What goes with wine? Cheese does! So cream cheese frosting made with sweet wine was decided on in a split second.
Making the cupcakes had an interesting element. I discovered when beautiful red wine mixes with cupcake batter it turns into a hideous grey color. Well, you do not want to serve hideous grey cupcakes to your friends and family. Red food coloring came to the rescue. I added drops until it turned back into a deep purple-red color of both the wine and dark cherries. Next time I may add a few more drops to bump the color a bit more since it faded some with baking.
Merlot cherry cupcakes with sweet white frosting are festive treats. The cake part is moist, flavored with Merlot, and filled with wine-soaked cherries. The frosting is rich and creamy. It’s made with cream cheese, butter, sugar, and a touch of sweet white wine. These cupcakes are great for adult entertaining and occasions. They contain wine as an ingredient and are not suited for children.
The story begins with an ordinary box and ends with tasty cupcakes. That is what I call a nice ending. It also goes to show how a recipe has more to it than ingredients and methods. There is an unseen part of its history or memories associated with it. Sunday Supper is proud to partner with Gallo Family Vineyards to share recipes and an inside scoop on each of them. Scroll down to find the list and links to each one. We have fantastic lineup for you.
Merlot Cherry Cupcakes with Sweet White Frosting
For the cupcakes:
- 2/3 cup Merlot wine red
- 1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherries
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup whole milk at room temperature
- Red food coloring
For the frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 1 box confectioners sugar 16 ounces, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 tablespoons sweet white wine plus more if needed
For the cupcakes:
Heat Merlot in a small sauce pan until it barely simmers. Remove from the heat and add cherries. Soak cherries for 1 hour. Drain and reserve 1/3 cup of the Merlot.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
In a separate large bowl, cream butter and sugar using an electric hand mixer on high speed until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine.
Combine milk and reserved Merlot in a measuring cup.
Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternatively with the milk in two additions, mixing on low speed until just combined. Do not over mix.
Stir in drops of red food coloring until desired color is reached.
Stir in cherries.
Divide batter among muffin cups.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Tops of cupcakes should spring back when lightly touched)
Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with sweet white frosting.
For the frosting:
Beat cream cheese, butter, and salt until smooth.
Add confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat to combine. Add enough sweet white wine until it reaches spreading or piping consistency.
Spread or pipe frosting on top of cupcakes.
Time stated does not include cooling cupcakes. There may be extra frosting depending on how much you use on the cupcakes. Refrigerate extra frosting in a sealed container and use within 1 week.
The best recipes always have a story. Take a look at these by Sunday Supper contributors featuring Gallo Family Vineyards wines and enjoy the stories behind them too:
- Crepes with Sweet Wine Poached Berries by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Overnight Blueberry Baked French Toast by Alida’s Kitchen
- Sangria Stuffed French Toast by Melanie Makes
Mains and Sides:
- Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken Spinach and White Wine Sauce by Family Foodie
- Baby, That’s a Good Merlot Onion Burger by Cupcakes and Kale Chips
- Beef Braciole with Parmesan and Prosciutto by The Little Ferraro Kitchen
- Beef Daube by The Foodie Army Wife
- Chicken and Couscous Stuffed Peppers by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chicken Sausage and Mushroom Skillet over Goat Cheese Grits by Neighborfood
- Giambotta an Italian Veggie Stew by Country Girl In The Village
- Grilled Pepperoni Pizza by Ruffles & Truffles
- Rosemary Garlic Chicken Thighs by Hip Foodie Mom
- Short Rib Ragu with Rigatoni by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff by Foxes Love Lemons
- Spaghetti All’Ubriaco by kimchi MOM
- Tarragon Chicken by girlichef
- World’s Best Turkey Meatballs by Shockingly Delicious
Beverages and Desserts:
- Tropical Breezes Sangria by The Weekend Gourmet
- Lemon on a Cloud by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Merlot Cherry Cupcakes with Sweet White Frosting by Magnolia Days
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.