What woman in her right mind doesn’t flip for dark chocolate and red wine. Separately, these treats are decadent enough, but put them together and you’ve got a dessert dropped straight from heaven. Plus, it’s easy. This is one recipe you’re going to be sorry you ever made because it’s a party in your mouth—and in every other part of you, too. So without further ado, here it is: cupcakes that combine the two ingredients we always crave. Just in for Valentine’s Day because, hey, you deserve a treat—or 12, right? The Best Valentine's Day Dessert: Decadent Chocolate Merlot Cupcakes


Makes about 1 dozen cupcakes


CAKE RECIPE (adapted from SprinkleBakes)

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 oz dark chocolate broken into small pieces, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup boiling water 1 stick (8 oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 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 Merlot (YUM)

WHAT YOU DO: The Best Valentine's Day Dessert: Decadent Chocolate Merlot Cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Fill muffin tin with cupcake liners.

3. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine cocoa powder and chocolate pieces, whisk in the boiling water and continue to gently whisk until all of the chocolate is melted and the mixture is thoroughly combined and smooth. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well blended. Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until combined.

5. Add the chocolate mixture and wine, alternating, and mix until the batter is smooth.

6. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.

7. Let cool completely before frosting.



  • 1 cup Merlot, plus 4 tablespoons, divided
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

WHAT YOU DO: The Best Valentine's Day Dessert: Decadent Chocolate Merlot Cupcakes

1. Place 1 cup Merlot and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Carefully stir until all sugar is dissolved and simmer until mixture is reduced to approximately 1/3 cup. Set aside and cool completely.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the softened butter and confectioners’ sugar. Mix on low speed at first and then on high until mixture is fluffy. With the mixer running, gradually pour in the cooled Merlot reduction. Add salt and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. With the mixer running on low, pour in the 4 tablespoons of Merlot, one at a time until thoroughly mixed.

4. Frost the completely cooled cupcakes using a palette knife or with a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Top with remaining piece of dark chocolate.

Can be stored in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

About the author

Laurie Waldman

Laurie Waldman is a 48-year-old Client Services Coordinator who is passionate about about all things Customer Experience. She's also Mom to two young adults and has been married to her best friend for the past 25 years. A lover of music and performing, she is happiest sitting around a campfire, singing her heart out and enjoying the company of friends. 

Get Brazen In Your Inbox

Sign up to receive our daily or weekly newsletter.