It’s this time of the year again when you’ve got a reason to bathe your mouth in wine and chocolate (as if you’d need a reason anyway), and colour code everything in red. Valentine ’s Day. It is a very personally social (socially personal?) experience and it seems everyone feels obliged to be in a love-hate relationship with it.
For me it’s been a special day for years as it is my granddad’s birthday. Also, on this day Bulgarians honour Tryphon Zarezan – the patron saint of wine. Copious amounts of wine are drunk as part of ‘a fertility rite intended to encourage the growth of the vines’ . A true love affair. So, even if you don’t like Valentine’s Day, raise a glass of red and revere this feel-good pagan ritual.
Or bake a cupcake with wine. While revering.
I admit wine chocolate cupcakes are acquired taste. They have very rich chocolate flavour and this little bit of something aroma-wise. But they are also so incredibly soft and moist, and would not dry up for days even if left in the room.
I liked them a lot even as they were but their transformation into truffles (or cake-pops of sorts) or frosted with coconut cream cheese gave them a lot more depth. The truffles were dense and chocolatey almost like fudge texture-wise. The frosted cupcakes had a nice balance between the bitterness of the cocoa and the sweet aroma of the coconut. However you decide to dress them, do give them a go as it is not something you have tried before.
What you’ll need for 10 muffins or 30ish truffles
65 gr light brown sugar
20 gr sugar (if you like your bakes on the sweet side triple or even quadruple the amount of sugar)
56 gr all-purpose flour
40 gr dark or dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup red wine
1/8 cup coconut or light olive or vegetable oil
1 vanilla bean
- Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder together so you get rid of any lumps.
- Wisk the egg and add the buttermilk, wine, oil, and vanilla and beat until everything is well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir briefly until the mixture is just incorporated but don’t over mix.
- Divide evenly among prepared muffin cases or in a spring form depending on what you are to do. As the batter rises a lot don’t overfill the cases.
- Bake for 18-20 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until they are cooled completely.
(The quantity of my truffle-binding mixture and coconut frosting exceeded almost 2 times the quantity I needed, so I am halving my ingredients)
What you’ll need for the truffles
1/4 can coconut milk
100 gr frozen fruit
2 leaves gelatine
Any topping that you like
- Put the coconut milk and berries in a sauce pan on medium to high heal.
- Bring to the boil and let any excess liquid evaporate.
- Remove from the heat and put your gelatine leaves to soak in cold water. In about 5 mins squeeze the gelatine to remove the liquid and add to the warm (not hot) berries.
- Stir and let the mixture set in a fridge for a couple of hours.
- Break the baked (and cool) sponge and mix with the berry mixture until completely incorporated. You should get very thick pliable dough.
- Spread the chocolate dough in a trey and let chill in the fridge for an extra hour or two until set.
- Form balls between your palms approximately 2-3cm in diameter.
- Roll in any topping that you like.
For the frosted cupcakes
150 gr cream cheese
1/4 can coconut milk (use the drier pulp and don’t mix with the water that separated in the can)
150 gr powdered sugar
140ml double cream
- Whip everything together until homogenised and thick enough to be piped. I made the mistake to add the coconut water so it took me a while before my frosting had the desired consistency. But boy was it worth it. If yours is not thick enough add more double cream.
- Cover with cocoa nibs or simply bury your face in the heavenly goodness these cupcakes are.