Kingston Family Vineyards Bayo Oscuro Syrah and Chocolate Cupcakes

Monday, September 26, 2011

I don't make cakes. As you can probably see from this blog thus far, my propensity for making cakes, well...let's just say it doesn't exist. In fact I might as well have been la hija del Monstruo de las Galletas. Because that's what I make. Cookies. Cookies, cookies, and more cookies!

But not for my friend Micah's birthday. Cookies would never do. It would have to be a cake. And since it was his 21st birthday, preferably a cake with alcohol. I toyed with doing a rum cake, but then I remembered the recipe for Bizcocho al vino tinto which I saw on Mercado Calabajío last summer. I had really wanted to make it then but, the problem was, I didn't have any wine last summer. Luckily that was cured by my employment by a winery this summer.  Kingston Family Vineyards to be exact! And suddenly there was wine. Very good wine.

So I decided to use some for Micah's 21st birthday cake. But measurement conversions are always difficult from the metric system or the way they make things in every other country but the U.S. (or at least I think, maybe Canada uses cups...) In any case, I'm still not exactly sure, by weighing everything I guess, a phenomenon which I never witnessed in Spain, no doubt due to the fact that my host mom was no baker. In fact there were no sweet things in the house unless I baked them. Just these sort of orange flavored cookies which said “Digestive” on them. But I digress.

In any case, Micah's birthday cake, sad to say, was something of a disaster. It looked pretty good, but looks are deceptive. The batter was too dry and then I over baked the cake. On top of that the chocolate wine ganache simply didn't taste anything like wine and there wasn't enough of it. Sigh. Not one of my finer baking moments.

However, I was determined to get it right to share it with my wonderful coworkers at Kingston! So, for my last couple of days at the winery, I decided to make this cake in cupcake form and do things a bit differently. I added a bit more wine to the batter, I fluffed the egg whites more (aka I followed the directions better), I made a red wine reduction for the ganache and I doubled the ganache recipe. Wow. Lots of corrections. And low and behold, the cupcakes (unlike the original cake) came out stellar. There were rave reviews all around! I think I got it right this time!

Kingston Family Vineyards Wine Cupcakes (based on Bizcocho al vino tinto by Mercado Calabajío)
4 eggs
1 cup of cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
1 cup of flour
14 tablespoons of softened butter (awkward amount, I know)
3/4 cup of red wine (preferrably Kingston Family Vineyards  Bayo Oscuro Syrah!) :)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder

1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF
2) Separate the egg whites and the egg yolks into two separate mixing bowls.
3) Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you're lucky enough to have one!) whip the egg whites until they are almost snow-like but haven't yet turned into meringue. (I suggest looking at the pictures on Mercado Calbajío for points of reference, even if you can't read Spanish)
4) Add the sugar to the egg yolks and mix with a fork.  Then, a little at a time, mix in the very softened (but not melted) butter.
5) Add the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and mix well.
6) Next, add the cocoa powder and mix before adding the wine.
7) Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and add to the cocoa mixture a bit at a time until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix!
8) For the cupcakes, line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill each one about 2/3 of the way full. Or if you're making a cake (and I add this sheerly because I find it entertaining), butter or spray a 9inch round pan with cooking spray (a "great invention" which it seems they have only just discovered in Spain based on Mercado Calabajío's comments and the suggestion of buying it on
9) Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs.

Kingston Family Vineyards Wine Ganache (based on the ganache for Brownies with Chocolate Wine Ganache by Diana's Desserts)
10oz dark chocolate (I used a bag of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup of red wine
6 tablespoons of cream

1) In a small saucepan, reduce 1/2 cup of the same wine you used in the cupcakes, to two tablespoons.  Or, you can just add 2 tablespoons of the red wine instead of reducing it. Though it lends a different flavor to the chocolate ganache, it's still good.
2) Whisk all ingredients in small saucepan (or double boiler) over medium-low heat until melted and smooth.
3) Remove from heat and set aside.  Allow the ganache to solidify a bit before pouring or scooping a generous amount onto the top of the cupcakes.
4) Let the ganache set up, preferrably overnight, before serving.
5) Enjoy as your friends, family, and coworkers ooh and aww over the decadence of these cupcakes.