I had a taste for chocolate cupcakes. A friend of mine treated me to this Vouvray wine which was FANTASTIC. I was in the process of making the cupcakes and deciding what kind of alcohol to add, while sipping my second glass of wine, and figured why NOT the Vouvray?
The cake came out wonderfully. According to The Hero and The Kid, they were outstanding. The Hero wished the cake was more chocolately and so I decided next time to add mini chocolate chips and use chocolate milk instead of buttermilk. The Kid, well, he’s a kid and it was dessert, so he simply ate them saying ‘oh, these are good’ between chocolate mouthfuls.
With the great experiment, however, came a couple of twists in the road. The first was figuring out how to add wine to the cupcakes without destroying the texture. I chose the last four cupcakes for experimentation. I cleaned out a spray bottle, added a little Vouvray and sprayed them right out of the oven. I figured the cupcakes were already cooked and the wine could soak in as they cooled and set. First spray… soaked right in. Second round… same effect. Three is a magic number and so I sprayed them one more time. Fifteen minutes later, the cupcakes were still fine, but the tops, when touched lightly, came off on my fingers. That meant a gentle touch when decorating.
Second lesson: recipes are recipes for a reason. I made the chocolate buttercream and the texture was great. Light, smooth and fluffy, almost like the gelato I had earlier in the day. I began adding the Vouvray one tablespoon at a time. First three tablespoons, no change in flavor or texture. Two more and the texture started to become questionable. I added a teaspoon of powdered sugar to try to compensate for the texture change. Sigh. Didn’t work out so well, so I added more melted chocolate. Better, but not like the original batch. The additions were enough to try experimenting with the wine flavor though. Ten tablespoons of Vouvray, approximately three teaspoons of powdered sugar and the last of the melted chocolate resulted in a good tasting, yet scary textured icing. The lesson here: this recipe is NOT for adding additional liquid, but fantastic for cakes without alcohol.
Third lesson: don’t use the icing on a cake that hasn’t cooled for at least 45 minutes. In an overzealous attempt to taste the finished product, I iced the experimental four cupcakes before they cooled completely and the icing melted into a literal chocolate wine pool. The solution: open the window and let the tornado-like winds cool the cakes. Re-iced them and all was well.
Fourth… this icing should stay room temperature or cooler. The cooler it was, the less likely the incident of runny chocolate wine mess. The remaining icing is sitting happily in the refrigerator now waiting for the next cake.
Final note, which I already knew, is that the longer the cupcakes last, the more infused the wine taste becomes. I ate the last unspoken-for cupcake and the Vouvray taste was very distinct in the icing. I can only imagine how the last one spritzed with wine tastes. My friend who purchased the Vouvray gets to eat that one.
So… gearing up for the pineapple tasting this coming Saturday. Working on the logistics for that now so it’s flawless Saturday.