A Sweet Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day this year was filled with beautiful pink roses, laughs, a lot of food and an incredible dessert. Seattle decided to be her sunny beautiful self, allowing us to sit on the patio, drinking wine and reminiscing on years past and future plans. It was my job to make brunch in the morning and bake a dessert this year.

I have always enjoyed drooling over the beautiful recipes and photographs from the blog, Sweetapolita. Up to this point, I have only gawked at her creative cakes and confections. So, for Mother’s Day I decided that it was time to attempt my first recipe adaption from two of her recipes. I have always loved red wine in dark chocolate cake so, instead of the typical coffee added, I added a beautiful 2010 Zinfandel from Keenan Winery in Napa Valley.

The Zinfandel gave the cake an extra richness component, making it almost taste port-like.

When making the frosting, one thing I was not ready to conquer was a Swiss Buttercream. Instead, I went for a basic buttercream but added a little twist with some raspberry puree and Chambord Liqueur. This thick liqueur infused the buttercream with a rich raspberry flavor. The two flavors of the Zinfandel and Chambord pair perfectly together, not overpowering any of the ingredients to make it taste like there is too much alcohol.

This recipe is honestly one of the best I have ever made. The cake was so moist and the frosting not overly sweet. The recipe wasn’t nearly as complicated as I thought it would be and I learned not to gawk so long at beautiful recipes but to jump in and try them! I hope you enjoy making them for yourself!


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Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes & Raspberry Chambord Buttercream

Yield 24 standard cupcakes




1 1/2 C all-purpose flour

1 1/2 C white sugar

1/2 C dark cocoa powder (I used Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa)

1 1/2 t baking soda

1 1/2 t baking powder

2 t cornstarch

1 t salt

2/3 C buttermilk

1/2 C + 2 T red wine (I used a Zinfandel from Keenan Cellars)

1/3 C + 1 T vegetable oil

2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

1 T pure vanilla extract (I used Nielsen Massey Fine Vanilla)

extra raspberries for a filling (optional)


3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes

5 C confectioners’ sugar

2 T heavy cream

2 t pure vanilla extract (I used the same vanilla as above)

1/2 C raspberry puree (take the seeds out)

2 T + 1 t Chambord Liqueur

pinch of salt

extra raspberries for a topping (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and line a muffin/cupcake pan with liners of your choosing.
  2. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder cornstarch and salt. Wisk together in the bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, wine, oil, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix for about 2 minutes on medium speed. Divide batter among liners, about 2/3 full. Batter will be thin but the cupcakes will rise.
  5. Place one raspberry, per cupcake, in center of the batter. Push down gently with a toothpick so raspberry is submerged.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the toothpick or skewer comes out with only a few crumbs. Try not to overbake. Carefully remove cupcakes from the pan immediately after taking them out of the oven – they will be HOT – and place them on a wire rack until completely cool.



  1. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 5 minutes on medium speed. Butter will become very pale and creamy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low, just until all ingredients are incorporated, then beat on medium speed for 5 more minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy.
  3. Add touch of food coloring, only if desired.
  4. Best if used right away.


Assembly of Cupcakes

  1. Fill a large pastry bag, fitted with Ateco #845 (or the decorative tip of your choice) about 2/3 full and swirl the buttercream in a circular motion, beginning on the outside rim of the cupcake and moving inward. Gently release pressure when you reach the top of your swirl.
  2. Top with fresh raspberry
  3. Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, however I made mine the day before and kept them in an airtight container and they were as fresh as the day I baked them. If you decide to refrigerate, make sure you take them out and enjoy at room temperature.



Cupcake Recipe adapted from Sweetapolita

Frosting Recipe adapted from Sweetapolita

**Special thanks to Roger Davidson for helping take the hands on photographs!



© Rachel Davidson and Wine, Dine and Wander, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

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