Merlot Cherry Cupcakes

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It’s the season for holiday parties s0 why not make some wine flavored cupcakes?  Magnolia Days added wine to both the cherry flavored cupcake and the cream cheese frosting.  Something a little different and decidedly adult.  Why not make a batch and give away as a gift instead of a bottle of wine?  I know which gift I would prefer!

Merlot Cherry Cupcakes

Makes about 12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
  • ⅔ cup Merlot wine (red)
  • ½ cup chopped dried tart cherries
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • Red food coloring
For the frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 box (16 ounces) confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sweet white wine, plus more if needed


For the cupcakes:
  1. 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 ⅓ cup of the Merlot.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  4. In a separate large bowl, cream butter and sugar using an electric hand mixer on high speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine.
  6. Combine milk and reserved Merlot in a measuring cup.
  7. 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.
  8. Stir in drops of red food coloring until desired color is reached.
  9. Stir in cherries.
  10. Divide batter among muffin cups.
  11. 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)
  12. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with sweet white frosting.
For the frosting:
  1. Beat cream cheese, butter, and salt until smooth.
  2. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat to combine. Add enough sweet white wine until it reaches spreading or piping consistency.
  3. Spread or pipe frosting on top of cupcakes.
  4. Refrigerate cupcakes.



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