Recipe: Sara’s Cocoa and Montepulciano “Drunken Cupcakes”

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!”

Appetibilis: Sara's Drunken Cupcakes

  • Servings: 20 pieces
  • Difficulty: medium
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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 moulds, and crimped paper cups


Use a food processor to mix sugar, unsweetened cocoa, butter (non viene elencato negli ingredienti) and wine.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook for a few minutes on low heat until boiling point. Set aside about a glass of this glaze (about 170 grams).

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.

Place the paper cups into the muffin mould and fill them 3/4 full max. If a muffin mould is not available, pour the mixture into a 24 cm diameter cake pan or into a ring-shaped mould.

Bake at 180 °C, 20-25 minutes. Check with a toothpick if ready (toothpick should come out clean).


Take the cupcakes out of the oven, remove them form the moulds 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.

A shot of ratafià liqueur will be the perfect pairing for these pastry.

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