A classic vanilla cupcake is filled with a mixture of strawberries and blackberries that have been soaked in a Merlot syrup. Crowned with a vanilla marshmallow frosting and even more sugar-coated berries, these boozy cupcakes were a hit among all of my friends and coworkers!
I would like to start this post by acknowledging that, after reading it, you may think I'm an alcoholic. My response to this thought is, please don't judge me. Judging people is against my religion. That I just invented. This religion also requires that I have seven cups of coffee a day and an IV of tequila on a thrice-weekly basis. But, back to me not being an alcoholic!
So, my best friend Amanda and I have decided that life's too short to not drink every day. Thus, we have instituted the following holidays:
- Margarita Monday
- Tequila Tuesday
- Wine Wednesday
- Thot Thursday (in which we drink whatever we can convince guys to buy us)
- Frisky Friday
- Saturday (a holiday in and of itself)
- and, last but not least, Sundae Sunday (as ice cream is a drug akin to alcohol)
Allow me to transport you to a Wednesday in March 2016. Amanda and I are at work, shooting glances at each other across the room, when she pings me.
A - Let's bake tonight.
J - I have a date though. I need to thot it up!!
A - Cancel it, bitch. Let's drink wine and bake. Tell him you have a friend in need and cupcakes are the only cure.*
J - I don't know... I've kind of been looking forward to it...
A - I'll pay for the wine.
J - So, what time do you want to come over??
I'm easy like Sunday morning, readers.
*To my cancelled date, should you ever read this post, I am only a little bit sorry for lying to you. I'd probably feel more remorse if a) I had ever met you, and b) the cupcakes weren't so dank.
As soon as we finished work for the day, Amanda and I both piled into my car and made a beeline for the grocery store. We picked up the essentials: cake mix (lazy), frosting (still lazy), and berries - all that was left was the wine.
We headed into the wine aisle, where Amanda grabbed a magnum bottle of Merlot for the cupcakes/her personal consumption. I wanted a Riesling to drink myself, so I headed to the appropriate aisle, only to find myself face to face with someone I did not want to see. Let's just say that last time* I saw him, I walk-of-shamed out of his house, straight into a gaggle of small children (and their parents) waiting at the bus stop. We had not communicated since that day.
*It was a Thot Thursday. I need no other explanation for my actions.
I bolted back over to where Amanda stood, proclaimed that I didn't need wine anymore, and tried to drag her to the checkout line by her wrist. Amanda stood strong.
A - Why are you trying to run away, Jess? Was there something you didn't want to see there? Are you hiding from someone? Was it a fuckboy? Can I go see?
Months of powerlifting paying off, I was able to wrench Amanda from her spot and take her away to the pasta aisle, where I explained the scenario.
A - LOLOLOLOL CAN I SAY HI
She's a good friend.
We finally got back to my apartment, poured a couple hefty glasses of wine, turned on a playlist called 'Let's Get Ratchet' (#DJAmanda), and got to work.
Vanilla Cupcakes with Berry-Red Wine Filling
For this cake, Amanda and I took the easy way out and used a white cake mix. Remember what we said about not judging, guys?!? I first preheated the oven to 350F. I then combined 1 box white cake mix with 12 oz black cherry seltzer (for a flavor to complement the berries). I poured this batter into 16 cupcake liners, and baked for 17 minutes. I removed them from the oven and let them cool while I prepared the berry-red wine filling.
Amanda diced 1 cup each of blackberries and strawberries into small pieces, and we combined them in a medium saucepan with 1 cup merlot (I had to fight Amanda to get her to hand it over) and 1/2 cup sugar. I cooked these, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 20 minutes until the mixture had reduced.
I strained the syrup from the berries, and set that aside to cool. I then used the technique seen in this post to cut a small cone from each cupcake. We discarded the extra cake bits, and filled the cavities with the red wine-infused berries.
Finally, I crowned each cupcake with a swirl of store-bought vanilla marshmallow frosting while Amanda rolled blackberries and halved strawberries in sugar. She artfully/drunkenly arranged one of each berry on each cupcake, as shown below.
These were delicious right away, but the next day when we had sobered up the wine had a chance to soak into the cupcakes, they were even better! Moist, boozy, and amazingly delicious.
As for the reserved red wine syrup? We poured a glass of it for our friend Dan and told him it was just regular wine. Ahhhh, you should have seen the look on his face when he tasted the syrup! We love you Dan!
Try these out, and remember this - if you drink an entire magnum bottle of Merlot on a Wednesday night, you will be hungover at work on Thursday. Just ask Amanda. Hehe :)