Cake portion adapted from Silvana Nardon's recipe
Makes about a dozen cupcakes or 2.5-3 dozen mini cupcakes
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. dark chocolate (72%) broken into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water
1 stick (8 oz.) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup Chianti red wine
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in cupcake pan cavities.
2. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine cocoa powder and chocolate pieces, whisk in the boiling water until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is thoroughly combined.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar. Beat in the eggs until well blended. Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined. Alternating, add the chocolate mixture and wine, mix until batter is smooth.
4. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them about halfway full. Bake for about 20 minutes for regular size cupcakes - 10-12 for minis. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
*Note: These cupcakes have a flat top when baked, so don't expect a nice rounded top. That said, they are very moist and tender. Don't let the flat tops fool you!
1 cup Chianti wine plus 4 tablespoons, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick of butter, softened (not room temperature, butter should still be a little cold)
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Small seedless red grapes for garnish
1. Place 1 cup Chianti and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, and simmer until mixture is reduced to scant 1/3 cup. Allow to cool completely
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the softened butter and confectioners' sugar. Mix on low speed at first, and then on high until mixture is fluffy. With mixer running, gradually pour in the cooled Chianti reduction. Add salt and beat until well combined. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.
3. Again, with the mixer running, gradually pour in the 4 tablespoons of Chianti one tablespoon at a time until thoroughly mixed. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large french decorator tip. Frost cupcakes and garnish with grapes.