How do the months keep flying by so quickly?!?! August is almost over and Labor Day is just around the corner. And with the end of the month, comes another What’s Baking challenge. This month was hosted by Joanna of Newlywed and Newly Cooking, and she challenged us to bake something that reminds us of our favorite place. I’ll admit that this theme truly did prove to be a challenge for me, because I can’t think of a particular place that is my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, there are many places that I love, but because I have such a strong love for travel and experiencing new places, I can’t choose just one.
But after thinking for a bit, I realized that while I don’t have a specific destination that is my favorite, whenever I am with my friends, having a girl’s night, drinking wine and enjoying good food, that is my favorite place to be. And since I am usually the one to bring dessert, I knew that making a dessert that included wine would be a perfect representation of my favorite place to be.
And can I just say…these are some of the most delicious cupcakes I have had and/or made in a long time. the blackberry merlot flavor is subtle, and compliments the chocolate cupcake so, so well!! Mmm…I think I need to eat one. Right now.
Blackberry Merlot Cupcakes
Adapted from Bakers Royale
- 3 cups blackberries
- ½ cup Merlot
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and warm
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
To make the blackberry merlot mixture
- Combine the blackberries, merlot, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Remove mixture from refrigerator and place in a blender or food processor and process until pureed, 1-2 minutes.
- Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, mashing with a spoon or spatula, to strain out the seeds.
To make the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line mini or standard muffin tins with liners.
- Combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a the bowl of a stand mixer and mix well.
- Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for one minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the 1/2 cup of the blackberry merlot mixture. Mix until the batter is smooth, about 30 seconds. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to fill lined muffin tins.
- Bake 18-22 minutes for standard size, or 11-13 minutes for mini size, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes before removing them to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting
- Place one inch of water in the bottom of a pot, and bring the water to a simmer. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl fitted over the pot, and bring mixture to 150 degrees F, whisking constantly.
- Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until mixture cools and doubles in volume, about 10 minutes.
- Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. Continue mixing until smooth.
- Add the salt and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the remaining 1/2 cup blackberry merlot mixture and mix to combine.
- Use a spatula to put frosting into a piping bag, or apply directly to the cupcakes with spatula.