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For the Love of a Vampire: Drunken Black Forest Cupcakes

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Here I go again with the wine and cherries.  I made these even before we went to Napa!  

 I had VERY good reason –my friend Kristy’s birthday, and the fact that our “Book Club”* was going to see Breaking Dawn on opening night.

How perfectly dark and sexy and vamp is this combination:  dark chocolate cake, wine-soaked black cherries, vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.  Rahr.  We will call these cupcakes “I Wish I Was a Cullen” (or, in my personal case, Team Carlisle.) 

I obsessed over this recipe in my head for weeks.  Originally, my super classy aunt asked me to make something for her November book club meeting and I instantly knew I had to make something infused with red wine.  She’s a true wine connoisseur.  (And yes, I did have to spell check that.)  Since I made a couple different things earlier this fall using wine-soaked dried Traverse City cherries the idea has gelled considerably. 

For my aunt’s classy book club I wanted to make something sophisticated, rich and decadent…  and just maybe a little tipsy.  Drunken black forest cake anyone?  Classic.  When Pam’s book club cancelled I couldn’t let go of the idea. 

My grandmother always had black forest cake over the holidays, but it was never my favorite dessert because the cake always seemed dry and I highly detest canned cherry pie filling.  It always seemd too red, too sweet, too sticky, too… artificial, in every way. 

So to up the game for this creation, I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (my favorite!), frozen whole black cherries and Chateau Grand Traverse Sweet Red wine.  The rich tart cherry filling with the deep dark dense chocolate cake and creamy vanilla frosting was intense… Perfectly Cullen-worthy. 

I have to share the recipe:

Chocolate Cake by Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman (using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of coffee in place of 1/4 cup of the water called for in the recipe)

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream by Smitten Kitchen

My own Red Wine Cherry Filling(yields enough filling for 12-16 cupcakes)

2 cups of frozen black (tart) cherries

1 cup good red wine (use a wine you love to drink because the flavor intensifies as it cooks.  I used Chateau Grand Traverse Sweet Red)

1/4 cup sugar (if using a dry wine, use 1/3 cup of sugar)

1 T cornstarch

1T red wine

Add cherries, 1 cup of wine & sugar to a small saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes until cherries burst and the wine reduces by about half.

In a small cup or dish, stir 1 tablespoon of wine into the cornstarch to dissolve it, and gradually stir the mixture into the bubbling cherry sauce.  Let it boil for a minute until thickened.  Remove from the heat and chill slightly before filling cupcakes with it. 

To fill the cupcakes, run a knife around the top of each cupcake to cut a cone-shaped piece out. 

Fill the hole with a spoonful of cherry filling and swirl frosting on top. 

For the “fang marks” I poked little holes with a chopstick and piped in more red wine sauce with a candy bottle.  I LOVED these.  Very adult. 


*As you may guess, the book club is a total front.  For some reason, at this age it seems like we need an intellectual-sounding suburbian coverup for our girls-only nights out.  I would never have read the Twilight series if it weren’t for the peer pressure of my friends who called me a literary snob when I turned my nose up at the idea (I have awesome friends).  At 30-something, unlike when I was a teenager, my friends can look at me with scrunched up noses, hands on hips, cocky looks on their faces, and tell me “c’mon, everybody’s doing it,” and I cave & do it (see, great friends).  It didn’t take me long to get hooked on the Twilight books, (solely because I had to find out if Bella ever actually BECAME a vampire) and for us to form a “book club” so we could tell our men we had a legit reason to go to the movies to watch a tween vampire movie – or five!  IWIWAC Book Club Rocks. 


About kozubalk

Lawyer by day, baker by night, full time creative spirit.

3 responses »

  1. anything with wine sounds fabulous to me!!! i love the fang marks.

    • Thanks Christina! I wasn’t sure the fang marks would work out, but they turned out awesome. Then I watched the movie and realized the Cullen vampires bite with ALL their incisors and leave half-moon shaped bite marks, not just canine puncturs. Darn! Oh well, the cupcakesreceived rave reviews just the same. 😉

  2. our book club serves the exact same purpose 🙂 … and the cupcakes look amazing…


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