Mulled Wine Chocolate Cupcakes With Spiced Orange Mascarpone Frosting

mulled wine chocolate cupcakes

Christmas has snuck up on me way too fast this year, I’m usually super organised and have all my gift shopping done by the first week of December but I think that this year a lot of people are going to be getting their presents a tad late…I have however managed to get in a decent amount of Christmas baking, my favourite of which (so far) has been these cupcakes. I’d had the idea in my head for a while that I wanted to make a mulled wine cake, so when I stumbled across a recipe for red wine chocolate cake I knew that I just had to adapt it to come up with a christmassy version.

mulled wine chocolate cupcakes with spiced orange mascarpone frosting

These cupcakes consist of an incredibly soft, melt in the mouth chocolate cake, laced with mulled wine and spices, topped with a swirl of dreamy, smooth spiced orange mascarpone icing and drizzled with mulled wine syrup. All together it tastes like Christmas. These are definitely grown up cakes – you can taste the wine, but it isn’t too in your face boozy and they have quite a complex flavour with the layers of spice, chocolate, wine and orange. They are not too sweet, the creamy mascarpone icing complements the cake beautifully and the wine syrup adds an extra burst of mulled wine flavour, they are quite simply one of the most delicious things that I have ever baked and disappeared astonishingly quickly!

mulled wine chocolate cupcakes

The mulled wine syrup is easy to make, you simply heat red wine with some spices and orange and let it infuse, measure out what you need for the cake then add sugar to the remainder, bring it up to the boil and let it simmer until it has reduced and become syrupy. The syrup is sweet, spiced and slightly tangy, you will end up with more than you need for the cakes but it is delicious drizzled over ice cream, yoghurt, fruit or pancakes and will keep for ages in the fridge. If you don’t want to make the syrup you can use shop bought mulled wine for the cakes although they will be sweeter and the wine flavour less pronounced or you can use plain red wine and maybe increase the quantities of ground spices slightly.

mulled wine chocolate cupcakes spiced orange icing

Make sure that you use full fat mascarpone for the icing or you risk it going runny, you can substitute cream cheese if you prefer but it may end up being too tangy when combined with the mulled wine syrup; the mascarpone has a creamier, smoother flavour than cream cheese and when paired with orange and a hint of cinnamon it complements the dark cake perfectly. The recipe calls for dutch process cocoa powder (also known as alkalised cocoa powder); in the UK most cocoa powder is alkalised, double check the ingredients list – it should say something like “cocoa processed with alkali” or mention an alkalizing agent, like potassium carbonate. Green and Blacks cocoa powder is one brand that is alkalised.

mulled wine chocolate cupcakes mascarpone frosting

Mulled Wine Chocolate Cupcakes

(Please note: although I have provided a conversion from grams to US cup measurements I cannot guarantee the accuracy as I do not bake using cups, I thoroughly recommend investing in a digital metric scale, it is far more accurate.)


Mulled wine and mulled wine syrup:

  • 750ml bottle red wine
  • 1  cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 orange or 1 clementine
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 130g (2/3 cup) granulated sugar


  • 110g (1 stick) softened butter
  • 215g (1 packed cup + 3 tbsp) dark brown soft sugar
  • 75g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 265ml (1 + 1/8 cup) mulled wine (cold)
  • 200g (1 + 2/3 cup) plain flour
  • 65g (1/2 cup) dutch/alkalised cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice/pimento
  • 1/4 tsp ground star anise
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Icing: (Note: this icing quantity makes *just* enough to ice the cakes, if you like a thicker layer of frosting on your cupcakes then I suggest making one and a half times this recipe amount)

  • 50g (1/4 cup) softened butter
  • 200g (2 cups) icing (powdered) sugar
  • zest and juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 250g (9 oz) full fat mascarpone
  • White chocolate stars for sprinkling

Start by making the mulled wine. Pour the wine into a large saucepan and add the spices, thinly slice the orange/clementine and add to the pan. Place on the heat and warm until it just starts to come up to the boil then remove from the heat, cover, and leave to steep for at least half an hour.

Strain out the spices and orange then measure out 265ml (1 + 1/8 cup) of the wine for the cakes and set aside (leave it to cool before using). Pour the rest of the wine back in to the pan and add the sugar, place on the heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, bring up the the boil then turn down the heat slightly and simmer until thick and syrupy and reduced to about a third of the volume, this will take about 15 minutes. Once thickened, decant into a jar and leave to cool before using.

To make the cakes: Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ gas mark 4, line a couple of muffin trays with sixteen muffin cases. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time then the vanilla extract and cooled mulled wine, don’t worry if the mixture looks a little uneven.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb of soda, spices and salt, sift this mixture into the wet ingredients and fold in until evenly combined. Divide the batter between the muffin cases and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and leave to cool in the tray for 10 minutes or so before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, put the butter, orange juice and zest and cinnamon in a bowl, sift in half of the icing sugar and beat, using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer on a low speed, until smooth. Sift in the rest of the icing sugar and beat again until well combined. Add the mascarpone and gently beat in until smooth, be careful not to overbeat it as the icing could go runny. Keep refrigerated until just before using.

To ice the cupcakes, fit a piping bag with a large star nozzle (the ridges help to catch the mulled wine glaze), dollop the icing into the bag and twist closed, pipe a swirl of icing onto each cupcake then drizzle over some of the mulled wine syrup, either using a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle or just drizzling it off a teaspoon. Sprinkle over white chocolate stars to finish. Keep refrigerated.

(recipe adapted from


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33 Comments on Mulled Wine Chocolate Cupcakes With Spiced Orange Mascarpone Frosting

  1. Christie Campbell
    December 22, 2014 at 11:08 pm (4 years ago)

    O.M.G these look amazing! And I love the flavor combinations; mulled wine and spiced orange? YUM!!! I can’t wait to try these. Pinning

    • hannahhossack
      December 24, 2014 at 10:29 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you! they taste pretty amazing too 🙂

  2. Gym Bunny Mummy
    December 23, 2014 at 9:45 am (4 years ago)

    oooh these look gorgeous! I’ve made cocktail cupcakes before but never thought to make mulled wine ones. I might have to try this out next year

    • hannahhossack
      December 24, 2014 at 10:29 am (4 years ago)

      I do like a boozy cake!

  3. Alison
    December 23, 2014 at 10:18 am (4 years ago)

    What a lovely idea and they look gorgeous. Will definitely have to try this.

    • hannahhossack
      December 24, 2014 at 10:30 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂

  4. Cuddles and Crumbs
    December 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm (4 years ago)

    I have to try these! I just heard of mulled wine when we moved to Dubai. #TastyTuesdays

    • hannahhossack
      December 24, 2014 at 10:31 am (4 years ago)

      I love mulled wine, it wouldn’t be Christmas without it!

  5. Kirsty Hijacked By Twins
    December 23, 2014 at 3:46 pm (4 years ago)

    Oooh these look lovely! Mulled wine is definitely a favourite at this time of year! Merry Christmas x #TastyTuesday

    • hannahhossack
      December 24, 2014 at 10:32 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 I’ve drunk about a gallon of it…(so far) Merry Christmas!

  6. HonestMum (@HonestMummy)
    December 23, 2014 at 5:29 pm (4 years ago)

    They look beautiful and would never think to make mulled wine cupcakes-genius! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays, Merry Christmas x

    • hannahhossack
      December 24, 2014 at 10:32 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 Merry Christmas!

    December 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm (4 years ago)

    What a great idea and I love mulled wine. I wonder how it tastes in a cupcake? Guess I will just have to make them 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm (4 years ago)

      It tastes amazing in a cupcake! 🙂

  8. Hilda
    December 29, 2014 at 6:18 am (4 years ago)

    These, like all your cupcakes, are fabulous. Now I know whom to turn to when I want an out of the ordinary cupcake recipe.

    • hannahhossack
      December 30, 2014 at 10:00 am (4 years ago)

      Aww thanks Hilda 🙂

  9. noodlesforthoughts
    December 30, 2014 at 6:06 am (4 years ago)

    these are to die for!! And happy fiesta friday!


    • hannahhossack
      December 30, 2014 at 10:03 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you! Happy fiesta friday!

  10. breakfastdramaqueen
    December 30, 2014 at 6:11 am (4 years ago)

    I never would’ve thought of including mulled wine in cupcakes! Great idea!

    • hannahhossack
      December 30, 2014 at 10:02 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂

  11. Honest Mum
    December 30, 2014 at 11:51 pm (4 years ago)

    They are delightful! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

  12. Jaime Oliver
    December 31, 2014 at 10:35 pm (4 years ago)

    oh wow these looks amazing, i love the colouring in the frosting too #BestRecipes2014

    • hannahhossack
      January 1, 2015 at 8:08 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂

  13. carolinescookingblog
    January 1, 2015 at 9:12 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m not sure how I managed to miss these before, these look fantastic! I love the sound of all those flavors, and do miss having mulled wine over the festive season. Thanks for sharing

    • hannahhossack
      January 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 I think I must have drunk about a gallon of mulled wine (so far…) this year!

  14. Sneaky Veg
    January 2, 2015 at 9:27 pm (4 years ago)

    I love the sound of these – what a great idea! #CookBlogShare

    • hannahhossack
      January 3, 2015 at 3:29 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you!

  15. lucyparissi
    January 3, 2015 at 10:42 am (4 years ago)

    These look beautiful (all your bakes do!) but I love the sound of the spices and wine even more. I think these need to be made into a layer cake. I can just see it! Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare and happy 2015!

    • hannahhossack
      January 3, 2015 at 3:13 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Lucy 🙂 My original idea was to make a three layer cake but I did cupcakes in the end as I was taking them to a party and figured that cupcakes would make better finger food, I think it would be quite spectacular as a layer cake though! (and you can definitely taste the wine :p ) Happy New Year!

  16. EllaBella
    January 5, 2015 at 4:51 pm (4 years ago)

    YUMMY! I made these at the weekend, just tucking into one on my first day back at work. Brightening up my day. Thanks, Hannah!

    • hannahhossack
      January 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Ella 🙂 glad you liked them!


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Mulled Wine Chocolate Cupcakes With Spiced Orange Mascarpone Frosting

  1. […] stumbled upon the original recipe here from DomesticGothess and put it to the test to see whether mulled wine in a chocolate cupcake […]

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