SHF: Chocolate Merlot Cupcakes
I had visions of perfect, lovely little cupcakes, with a luscious chocolate taste and a background of winey-ness - and not only that, a surprise inside of black cherry and wine jelly nestled in as an extra treat.
Well. Life is full of surprises. Not to be too anthropomorphic about it, but the cupcakes apparently had other plans and ideas of their own on how to be presented, and did not feel like cooperating. The tops came out nicely, as did the bottoms, but unfortunately not at the same time. Surprise!
Somehow, when you unmold a whole cupcake and split it down the center to reveal its insides, it can be artsy and elegant; when the cupcake does it for you, especially not in the direction you might have chosen, it is rather less so.
Following the advice of previous recipe reviewers, I did add more butter than originally called for, though I don't think that's the culprit - I think here overfilling is the problem. Perhaps, with filling the cups less full, it might have solved the splitting problem. Nearly every one split in the same place, at the juncture of the well and edge, and with less filling, less overflow, maybe less splitting.N.B.: you may wish then to make additional wine jelly to ensure you can fill all the cupcakes. I did have some leftover batter, which I used to make some miniatures. Though it's not quite a good comparison, I did fill the cups less full and they turned out better. With these I didn't bother buttering and cocoacing, but sprayed it with nonstick spray. I actually think the butter/cocoa does a better job of it, but might also consider dabbing a bit of spray or butter above and around the edges of each well to prevent tops from sticking also.
CHOCOLATE MERLOT CUPCAKES
adapted from Anne Willan's Chocolate Merlot Cake recipe and reviewer comments on Epicurious
2 c flour
3/4 c good-quality Dutch cocoa
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks/1 c butter
1 3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c Merlot wine
heaping 1/2 c Polaner black cherry all-fruit spread
3 Tbsp Merlot wine
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter (at least 12, and likely more) standard muffin tins and dust with cocoa powder.
Make the wine jelly: carefully melt together the all-fruit spread and wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until smooth, about 7 or so minutes. Remove and let cool a bit.
Sift twice together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
In a mixer cream together the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes on medium-high speed, stopping to scrape the beater, until combined (light and fluffy and pale golden). Add in the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Mixin the vanilla and cream together an additional minute or two until all is smooth.
Sift a third of the flour mixture over the butter mixture and fold in carefully. Pour over and fold in a third of the wine. Repeat, alternating the remaining flour mixture and wine in two batches.
What I did: fill the muffin tins about half full and push batter to the sides to make a small well. Add about 2 tsp of the wine jelly mixture. Spoon over batter to fill the rest of the cup to the brim. Additional batter may be used to make small cupcakes.
What I suggest you do instead: fill the muffin tin about a third full, pushing batter to the sides to make a small well if you like. Add 1-2 tsp jelly as you like. Cover with batter to fill each tin about 2/3 full.
Bake in the heated oven about 20 minutes, checking after 15. If you make miniatures, they will take just about 10-12 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before, very carefully, attempting to turn them out onto a rack to cool fully.