Sweet Recipe: Cocoa and Montepulciano “Drunken Cupcakes”

Here’s a delightful pairing of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine with bitter chocolate, in our Appetibilis friend Sara’s cupcakes interpretation.

I would like to pay homage to my Abruzzo region with this recipe: unsweetened cocoa cupcakes with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, our intense ruby-red wine.

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I gave the name “drunk cupcakes” as they hide a bit of wine in their dough, and they are glazed with wine and cocoa icing. In the oven they will give off a strong chocolate flavor combined with the typical red-berry scent of the Montepulciano wine.

The perfect pairing for Montepulciano is with red meat, but I chose to use it for this miniature cakes, topped with sour cherry in syrup, my “cherry on the cake!”

Recipe for Montepulciano Drunken Cupcakes

Ingredients for Cocoa and Montepulciano “Drunken Cupcakes”
  • Author’s Recipe: Sara Scutti
  • Category: pastry, desert
  • Cuisine: Italian, Abruzzo, International
  • Keywords: handmade, cupcakes
  • Servings: 20 cupcakes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Medium


  • 60 gr unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 200 gr sugar
  • 200 gr butter
  • 100 ml Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine
  • 150 gr wheat flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 spoonfuls of Altino mild pepper powder (*)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pack baking powder (16 gr)
  • Sour cherries in syrup to decorate (*) you can use some hot chili pepper powder, if you like.
  • Special cookware: Muffin trays and paper cups


  1. Use a food processor to mix sugar, unsweetened cocoa, butter and wine.
  2. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook for a few minutes on low heat until boiling point.
  3. Set aside about a glass of this glaze (about 170 grams).
  4. Pour the remaining glaze into a blender bowl, add eggs, sift in wheat, pepper and baking powder, with a pinch of salt. Blend until it gets smooth.
  5. Place the paper cups into the muffin trays and fill them 3/4 full max.
  6. If a muffin tray is not available, pour the mixture into a 24 cm diameter cake pan or into a ring-shaped mold. Bake at 180 °C, 20-25 minutes.
  7. Check with a toothpick if ready (toothpick should come out dry clean).

Presentation: Take the cupcakes out of the oven, remove them form the molds and with a spoon top each cake with Montepulciano glaze.

Serve it with some sour cherries in syrup whose sweet flavour will perfectly match the Montepulciano.

Pairing: A shot of Ratafià liqueur will be the perfect pairing for these pastry.


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