red (wine) velvet cupcakes

July 2, 2013

red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!

I have a few life mottos that I attempt to practice on a daily basis. They mostly involve cocktails and yoga breaths and laughing and sharing cookies as often as I possibly can. But sometimes life-y things happen that are less then ideal and I turn to my most important lesson of all, “when in doubt, bake it out!”

red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!1

red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!2

It is a way of life that basically works for everything. Did you get caught in the rain without an umbrella wearing suede? Make some cookies and forget about it! Did you forget to pay your rent on time? Whip up a bundt and drop it off with the check. No more late fees for you!

red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!3

Or maybe did life get bonkers and you haven’t had time to blog in the past few weeks? Gah! That’s a big one! Looks like it is time to bring in the big guns (read: the boozy cupcake).

Please accept this recipe as a token of my gratitude (after all, there is cream cheese frosting involved) for sticking around these parts while the summer schedule goes into effect here at BMUB headquarters. I am not going anywhere – just working on lots of exciting projects behind-the-scenes (stay tuned!) and consuming as many Otter Pops as I am physically allowed in an attempt to combat the humidity of New York City.

red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!4

Make these cupcakes! They are naturally red and white and perfect for the Fourth of July! Did I mention they have wine inside? Exclamation marks!

Happy Day-of-the-Hot-Dog to you and I hope y’all have a wonderful holiday. When in doubt, “boozy” bake it out!

Also, moreΒ red wine + chocolate from the archives.

red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!5

Red (Wine) Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

For the cupcakes:
2 cups + 1 tablespoon (260 grams) flour
1 cup (100 grams) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (170 grams or 12 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) red wine
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the frosting:
three 8-ounce boxes (24 ounces or roughly 675 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks (170 grams or 12 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
one vanilla bean, seeds scraped
3 1/2 cups (350 grams) powdered sugar, plus more if needed

Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl beat butter and both sugars together until smooth. Add eggs and beat to combine, then add red wine and vanilla and beat until smooth. It will look weird but don’t fret, it will bake up into delicious. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the dry ingredients in several additions, being careful not to over mix. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. (Each one should be about 3/4 full.)

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for five minutes or so in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla, and vanilla bean seeds until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. When all the sugar has been added, beat for a minute on medium-high speed to make sure the frosting is smooth and spreadable.

Assemble the cupcakes: Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip and give each cupcake a swirly frosting hat and a sprinkle garnish.

red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!6

red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!7

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica July 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Red wine and baked goods – my two favorite loves combined at last – and not just in the form of me drinking it whilst baking!


Sarah | The Sugar Hit July 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm

You had me at wine. All is forgiven!


Kathryn July 3, 2013 at 5:51 am

Cake + booze is always a winning combination. Happy summer!


Wendy July 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I love that these are red due to wine( my beverage of choice), instead of the usual gallon of food coloring! Chocolate and red wine flavors do such wonderful things for each other. Glad to hear your summer is full of exciting and happy chaos. πŸ™‚


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar July 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm

These sound perfect! Lovely recipe!


Carole July 4, 2013 at 2:26 am

These look absolutely rich and gorgeous!! I can taste them just looking at the pics yum! Looking forward to trying these and I love the small size!!


Emily July 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm

These are absolutely delicious! I forwarded this to a coworker for the making. πŸ˜€ They turn out really well–good crumb and yummy flavor.


Lillie August 30, 2013 at 10:39 am

Hi Emily! Glad to hear they were a hit!


Qook August 8, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Can’t wait to bake this, looks delicious!


custom cakes brooklyn August 17, 2013 at 2:57 am

This is one great, boozy dessert! Cheers! πŸ™‚


Liz K August 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm

These are fantastic! Gave away as many as possible so I wouldn’t eat them all. I have nearly a quart of frosting left over and the husband dislikes cream cheese frosting. Next time I will reduce icing by 1/3 batch (I was quite generous with it too).


Lillie August 30, 2013 at 10:53 am

So happy to hear they were a hit! Any extra frosting could be frozen, and defrosted in the fridge the night before you need to use it. Just give it a little whip before using. πŸ™‚


Stacey August 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Does the kind of wine used make a difference? Or is the only requirement red!?


Lillie August 30, 2013 at 10:54 am

Anything red, but I would choose something you like to drink since you can taste the wine flavor. Happy baking!


Kat September 23, 2013 at 5:26 am

Thanks for the idea! πŸ™‚ see my version:



dkx December 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

How strong is the wine flavor?


Lillie December 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm

They do taste have a wine taste but it is not too overpowering. More like a background flavor that you can’t place until you learn they contain wine. πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear your review if you make them. Happy baking!


Sara Alaniz February 7, 2014 at 11:15 am

Thanks so much for sharing. I am going to be referencing this recipe in my upcoming post tomorrow. I failed horribly at Beet Dyed Red Velvet Cupcakes and wanted to find an alternative. When I saw this recipe I died and went to heaven! The are currently cooking in the oven and I can’t wait to share with all my followers. It will be day 8 of 14, of my 14 days of Valentines. Make sure to check it out and I will give you tons of credit πŸ™‚ I do omit the cinnamon. I am not a fan personally.

Have a fantastic day!


Shannon April 9, 2016 at 12:32 am

These sound so amazing, although I am more of a blush wine girl. I can not wait to try them:) I do however have a question…is there something else I can use in place of the vanilla bean seeds?? (no biggie if not, was just wondering…I was thinking along the lines of dehydrated raspberries??) lol Thank you so much for this recipe:)


Jonelle September 9, 2018 at 8:15 am

Quick question for you. I’m not a red wine drinker, any suggestions on the best red to use? My bestie and I are having a wine party and would love to make these for the party. Thanks,


Oleita Bibby June 20, 2020 at 8:48 am

Look tasty. Want to try them soon


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