We all want it and we all need it.
Tennyson said it perfectly:
Love is the only gold.
And when we have it, we are truly rich indeed.
It can be found in the most expected and unexpected of places.
In food made with it, in a heart filled with it and especially when we give it.
It’s found in compassion given to those who may or may not deserve it. (Hint: they’re the one’s who need it the most).
When we make the choice to let go of needing to be right and choose happiness instead.
When we remove the word
should from our vocabulary and replace it with could.
When we do things for no other reason or agenda than that it makes us or others happy.
There is not nearly enough of it in this world and yet is all around us and everywhere.
This week — a week we celebrate this wonderful thing called Love — I wanted to make you something made with a whole lot of it.
Red Wine Red Velvet Cupcakes with Buttermilk Mascarpone, to be exact.
Red wine to take the place of artificial food dye …
Gobs of chocolate flavor — usually missing in traditional red velvet cake — and topped with light, fluffy tangy-sweet buttermilk mascarpone.
Divine, just-sweet-enough red-wine-chocolate-velvety deliciousness.
You won’t believe they have whole wheat in them, but they do.
And I hope that whenever you make them they remind you to love much, love fully and mean it always.
And to remember that there’s a little bit of love in there, just for you.
Red Wine Red Velvet Cupcakes with Buttermilk Mascarpone
Inspired by The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder, rounded
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, rounded
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, rounded
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup red wine (I used my favorite Tempranillo)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Buttermilk Mascarpone
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons powdered confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons reduced fat buttermilk
1 pinch sea salt
a handful of freeze-dried strawberries, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 Degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with parchment paper liners. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl — using a wire whisk — combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together until well combined.
In a separate, large mixing bowl — using an electric mixer at medium low-speed — cream butter until smooth. Add brown sugar and trurbinado sugar to butter and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, beat well again and then add wine and vanilla extract. Beat well.
Note: Once you add the wine and vanilla extract, the batter will look like it’s curdled. Not to worry! This will go away once you mix in the dry ingredients.
Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients and — using a rubber spatula — fold mixture gently, scraping sides of bowl from time to time until batter is glossy and fairly smooth.
Note: It’s perfectly fine if a few lumps remain.
Using a regular soup spoon, divide batter evenly into your prepared muffin tin lined cups.
Transfer tin to middle rack of oven and bake for 22 – 25 minutes — rotating tin halfway through baking — or until toothpick inserted into one of the middle cupcakes comes out clean.
Remove tin from oven and let cupcakes cool in tin on wire cooling rack for approximately 10 – 15 minutes.
Carefully turn out cupcakes from tin onto cooling rack to cool completely, approximately 30 – 40 minutes.
While cupcakes are cooling, make buttermilk mascarpone.
In a small mixing bowl — using an electric mixer at medium low-speed — beat mascarpone cheese, powdered confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, buttermilk and sea salt together until creamy and smooth.
Using a small offset spatula or regular knife, spread each cupcake with a dollop of buttermilk mascarpone. Garnish each with a few freeze-dried strawberries if desired and …