Blackberry Cabernet Cupcakes

Blackberry Cabernet Cupcakes ~ When sugar and wine meet they birth cupcakes. At least they did this past weekend.

Blackberry Cabernet Cupcakes

Blackberry Cabernet Cupcakes

I really love making boozy anything and since I had left over wine and a surplus of blackberries I did a quick kitchen scan to see what my I could make with those two things. Naturally, no matter what I looked at cupcakes kept screaming at me

Blackberry Cabernet Cupcakes

I’m glad they did because these cupcakes are simple and delicious. It’s also a great way to use up leftover wine from a party. Don’t worry if you don’t have blackberries, depending on the wine, you can try this recipe with cherries, raspberries, blueberries and even some plums. But taste as you go, when you’re making your berry or fruit mixture. I’m definitely no wine expert. My expertise extends as far the recommendation from the given wine expert in the room.

Blackberry Cabernet Cupcakes 3

The Aftermath of a Shoot!

A few notes:

  • Don’t shortcut macerating (soaking) your berries. The deep flavors will be absent if you do.
  • If you haven’t noticed Alice Medrich’s chocolate cupcake recipe is my favorite to make, so once again, I used her recipe for the base and switched out the hot water portion with the wine and berry mixture.
  • The cupcakes come out a bit flat on the top. I’m thinking the added sugar and the wine may have messed with the chemistry in the recipe. That said, they still turned out fabulous and tasted great.
  • And for those wondering, based on the picture, yes, I do eat my cupcakes with a spoon or fork. I always have this fear that if I bite into a cupcake piled high with frosting that I will end up wit h some of it on my nose and cupcake crumbs between my teeth.

Blackberry Cabernet Cupcakes

Chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from Alice Medrich

Makes 12 cupcakes | Preparation: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.


Macerated Berry Mixture | Makes 1 cup:

  • 3 cups blackberries
  • ½ cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7.3 ounces) sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) SCHARFFEN BERGER Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Blackberry mixture

Blackberry Cabernet Frosting:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 11/2 cup sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Blackberry Mixture


Macerated Berry Mixture:

1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove mixture from refrigerator and place in a blender or food processor and process for 1-2 minutes to puree.


1. Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a blow and mix thoroughly to combine. Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for one minute. Add the butter and egg mixture and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the blackberry mixture. Beat for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thin enough to pour. Divide it evenly among the lined cups. Bake 18-22 minutes just until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool.

TIP: For light tender cupcakes, spoon flour and cocoa lightly into measuring cups (instead of dipping the cups into the flour or cocoa) and then sweep the measures level without tapping or shaking them.

Blackberry Cabernet Frosting:

1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly.
2. 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).
3. Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again. Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine. Add blackberry mixture and mix to combine.

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  1. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    I’ve been looking for ways to use the abundance of blackberries I have right now. (A wonderful burden to have, I might add.) These cupcakes are beautiful! Now to open a bottle of wine so I’ll have some leftovers to use. :)

  2. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    YUM. I don’t know how readily available it is, but I use St. James Winery Blackberry wine to make an amazing Blackberry wine cake. This reminds me of that. Must try!

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — July 14th, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

      Nailaholic-I lov the sound of a Blackberry wine cake. I think I’m gonnna have to give that one a recipe development go. Thanks for telling me about it.

  3. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonAnne Marie says

    A wine and cupcake combination is definitely something I am going to have to try. These look delicious. The photography is lovely, but the third one is my favorite it’s so artistic.

  4. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    This cupcake flavor sounds delicious. I love blackberries and my husband loves red wine so this just might be the perfect mix for both of us to enjoy! Oh, and I to eat cupcakes with a spoon or fork sometimes to prevent icing on the nose! Great pics, love the liners stacked up and the aftermath shot!

  5. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    These are such a wonderful twist on the old faithful chocolate cupcakes- and such a great way to use up all that extra wine!

    Love the new “aftermath” shots you’ve been sharing, by the way!

  6. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Wow these sound amazing. Never seen a recipe quite like it. I can imagine the wine adds a real depth to the berries. Looks fantastic

  7. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonConnie @ Daydream In Color says

    These cupcakes look divine! My fave picture is the aftermath of the shoot!

  8. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    My favourite photo of the lot is the one with the empty cupcake cases… :)

    I’ve got some cherries and kirsch in my kitchen, I think I’m going to have to make some black forest cupcakes soon!

  9. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonKelly says

    When I first read this recipe, I was very intrigued, especially after a co-worker gave me a big ziploc full of fresh blackberries. The cupcakes turned out great, albeit more chocolate flavor than blackberry or wine. (BTW, I doubled the baking soda to compensate for the “flatness” you mentioned, which worked great.)

    The frosting, however, was a MASSIVE FAIL. I boiled the egg egg white/sugar mixture as directed (and even put my rarely used candy thermometer to use!). For some reason, after mixing for well over 10 minutes on level 6-8, it didn’t whip up as big as I’m sure it was supposed to. I proceeded ahead, hoping the butter would help it to “fluff up” but no luck. I thought, maybe, I could revive it with a bit of confectioners sugar and/or meringue powder, but it still didn’t “solidify” like frosting should. I ended up with a giant vat of syrupy, sugary, buttery, goo… although the hubs says it’s good when drizzled over the cupcakes.

    Any suggestions for how to fix my mess? It seemed like a ton of blackberry/wine puree, so much that even had the frosting been correct, the puree would have “liquified” it anyway. Help!

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — July 18th, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

      Hi Kelly,

      I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m not sure why your frosting failed. This is my base recipe for all Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting, so I know it’s tried and true. If you used large eggs(not extra large) and heated it to 150 degrees F, mixed it on speed 8 for ten minutes, it should not have been been syrupy. As for the puree, it is not too much, but given that your frosting was syrupy before the addition of it I’m sure adding that made it more so.

      I’m a little flumoxed as to why this is the case with your frosting. I’m will be doing a baking basics post with this frosting in which I will go through it step-by-step, so check back. I will have pictures that may help with a visual que for double in size.


      • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

        Lauren replied: — April 29th, 2014 @ 9:50 am

        Hi Naomi,
        I think I know why Kelly’s frosting failed. She says she boiled the egg whites and sugar, which makes it sound like she cooked them together rather than whisk them in a separate bowl OVER simmering water. Could that be the problem?
        Love your site and plan to make these soon!

  10. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonCarol says

    I wanted to chime in and say I made the Toffee Crunch Cupcake (BTW-huge office hit) and I think the frosting base is the same as here (as you mentioned). I didn’t have a problem with it being runny, it was actually nice and fluffy. If you don’t heat up the egg white portion correctly, it won’t fluff up or set like it should.

    I also think it would help if the explanation pointed out using a high quality butter. Cheap butter has less butter fat and therefore is more liquidity to begin with once melted. It also lacks the fat molecules to emulsify and aerate into a meringue like texture.

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — July 21st, 2011 @ 3:44 am

      Hi Carol-Thanks for letting me no about why cheap butter won’t work with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I’m going to have to look into that more deeply.

  11. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonLeslie says

    Naomi- Just tested a batch of this for an event next weekend, and love it! Big hit in my house! For the ‘flatness’ you talked about I added an egg white and it helped. I also made mini cupcakes so perhaps it was a combo of that. As I read through the comments to leave one, and this one goes beyond how great your photos are but that THIS IS A GREAT RECIPE!! And to the lady who had an issue with the frosting, I think, remember to note the fact that it does curdle after the butter, just let it whip for a long time until it comes back together. I just used a local creamery, doubt it’s top notch, just had to whip it for like 10 mins longer. Also used a third of the frosting and had about enough for my 36 mins.

    And thanks for sharing amazing recipes, I really love reading your blog. Might be the most starred in my google reader!

  12. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonRebekah says

    Hi! I really want to make these soon but it isn’t blackberry season! :( Do you think i would be able to substitute frozen blackberries? not quite the same i know but i’m just too impatient to wait! Thanks!

  13. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonLauren says

    I just made these, and it is an absolutely fabulous recipe! I read your note on flat cakes, and although the ingredients were right, a more classic order and method fixed that: creamed the butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, alternate sifted dry with blackberry mixture (dry-wet-dry-wet-dry). Rise was perfect! Hope this helps :)

  14. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonKaren says

    I would like to try these but it seems like a lot of butter for the frosting. Does the frosting recipe really call for a full pound of butter?

  15. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonJamie Bothen says

    Say s to mix in the cocoa but there is no cocoa in list of ingredients. Also may be missing other ingredients- lists salt but no baking powder o

  16. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonJuan says

    I made a cake instead and it turned out fantastic! The basic buttercream recipe will from now on be “My go to” recipe for frosting. It’s light, not greasy and most importantly, not overly sweet!

  17. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonTicked Texan says

    The frosting was a disaster. I ended up making a good old American buttercream and throwing in some Cabernet (I had used up all the blackberries on the first clumptastic liquid frosting disaster). Maybe if you added more detailed directions… Or maybe this frosting is too delicate for the average baker in a hot and humid climate.

    Also, you didn’t mention it, but I think it’s important to strain the pureed blackberry wine mixture for cake/frosting texture purposes.

  18. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonBecks says

    Hi! I was just wondering, if I were to make this for my teetotaler friends, would the alcohol affect them? I myself am a big wine drinker, as are many of my friends, however I would love to know how the wine in this affects people so I know the right crowd to make it for. Thanks!