Red Wine and Cupcake Pairings: Red Velvet and Chocolate Guinness Meet Their Match

In our second video, we chat about pairing red wines with cupcakes: think red velvet, chocolate chocolate and chocolate Guinness (Belgian dark chocolate dipped in Guinness beer).

Even lighter and drier red wines, such as pinot noir, have a place beside cupcakes. Discover some great combinations with the owners of Ottawa’s Cupcake Lounge.

You can also watch part one of our chat where we pair carrot, butterscotch bourbon and maple cinnamon cupcakes with white wines and sparkling wines. The research never ends ;)

Natalie: We are back with Claudia Arizmendi and Bill McGuiness, owners of Ottawa’s Cupcake Lounge. We are deep into the pairing of wine and cupcakes, having a lot of fun with it and we are about to move into the red wine. So, folks, I have a Pinot Noir from Niagara here. Flat Rock Pinot Noir, love it, it’s juicy, it’s got lots of berry fruit. Which cupcake would you put with this one?

Bill: I would definitely choose the Red Velvet.

Natalie: Red Velvet is a classic cupcake, maybe can you just describe a little bit as to how it’s made. It’s chocolate in the bottom?

Claudia: It is reddish with like a hint of chocolate flavor. It is red-chocolate flavor in the center, so this is the only one that we have with red colour, unfortunately. We are trying and testing natural red colour this week and hopefully they will work because we are trying beets, we are trying raspberries. Everything that you have in mind that is deep red, and as we bake it, it changes colour so there is a little bit colouring to it and cocoa powder.

Natalie: You’re on the right track, though. Raspberries, cherries, those are signature flavor, especially in New World Pinot Noir, but it’s interesting that you’ve chosen a cupcake with a bit of a red tinge as opposed to diving into the deep end with chocolate and Pinot Noir. So do you have a Pinot Noir there as well?

Bill: Yes we do, we have The Mary Sue Winery Pinot Noir from California.

Natalie: That’s another good one and lots of berry fruit. Do you think a cupcake needs a New World Pinot Noir as opposed to Burgundy or a drier Pinot Noir from the Old World?

Bill: That’s a great question. I really don’t know the answer to that question. Certainly the whole thing about red velvet, and I’m not an expert on red velvet cupcakes by any stretch, but red velvet comes from the South in the United States and so, I don’t know, the Mary Sue Pinot Noir, it’s not too strong, it’s very elegant and I think it’s a really nice combination for the red cocoa cake.

Natalie: Yes, it has a cherry fruit to carry it as does the Flat Rock I found. Again, not a clash, a really nice combination and really surprising. So you folks have a full body Shiraz, what would you pair that with? Will you tell us which wine it is that you’ve chosen?

Bill: Well the wine that we have is Mollydooker The Boxer is Shiraz, I’ll just show you the bottle.

Natalie: That’s always a fun label from Australia.

Claudia: Yes.

Bill: Correct. So this is a delicious Shiraz, we like it very much and we found that it goes with the Guinness Beer Cupcake. Basically, it’s strong but it’s not too sweet, the Guinness cupcake, and it’s a good combination.

Natalie: And you know the thing about the Mollydooker, they’re kind of famous for high alcohol so you’re bordering almost on a port level alcohol but they get up 15-16% which actually does help when you’re talking about richer foods, the beer toward the dessert side of things. So, that may be helping you as well with that match.

Bill: Well Natalie I’m also pleased to report the cupcakes have an absorbency factor which best help out when you are drinking wine.

Natalie: An absorbency, that’s a cute call. Yes, okay. That would make sense to me, the rich because Shiraz does have a darker, blacker fruit, fleshier flavor, so it works. Alright now, so we are into, I think it’s Port. I think we’ve got Port now which was where I would start with cupcakes but we’re going to finish off with. Port of course is the dessert wine, fortified, sweet, rich, dark, can handle the sweetest of desserts. I’ve got the Taylor Floodgate, which do you have?

Bill: We have the Cinnamon Port.

Natalie: Okay.

Bill: This is from the Portugal, if I’m not mistaken.

Natalie: Yes.

Bill: And we found it. Essentially this particular Port match the sweetness level of the chocolate, so it’s the Dark Belgian Chocolate. Really rich.

Natalie: Yes, you had to go that way I think, with such a, this is my favorite cupcake.

Claudia: I know, isn’t that nice? Very chocolate.

Natalie: Killing me softly with chocolate, it’s so rich and decadent but so beautifully made. That’s got to be a match made in heaven.

Claudia: Yes, for sure.

Natalie: And would you go anywhere else with the double chocolate cupcake or would you stick with Port pretty much?

Claudia: You know what? I found that berry wines are really very nice, too. So I think it’s a personal choice what they’re teamed to, or labeled with. We tried chocolate in the South of Ontario last summer with a sparkly wine. We tried with a red wine, white wine and with the Port.

Natalie: Right.

Claudia: Yeah, so it was amazing with the Port.

Bill: Ice wine.

Claudia: Yes, ice wine.

Natalie: It worked with ice wine?

Claudia: Yes.

Natalie: Yes, that’s interesting. The other match that I’ve seen with dark chocolate is Amarone, the really robust Italian red or other really big reds that have both the alcohol and the aromatic or fruit heft to them to handle that. Well, that’s terrific. Is there a sort of overall guideline that you’d suggest when it comes to cupcakes and wine or is it more about experimentation? I want to ask that, but also, what has been the absolute best cupcake and wine combination you’ve ever tasted?

Claudia: I love the strawberry champagne with champagne. That is amazing for Christmas, New Year season and Valentine’s Day.

Natalie: So strawberry champagne cupcake with champagne?

Claudia: With champagne, and that is whatever champagne, even with sparkly wine, so many, even the Spanish one and French one that we tried, California once and Canadian. It is just, you know, everybody can try and follow it on, it is just amazing.

Natalie: That sounds lovely, that sounds decadent and Breakfast at Tiffany’s or something. And Bill do you have a favorite wine or one that’s most memorable of all you’ve tried?

Bill: Well actually there’s two, definitely the Mollydooker Shiraz and the Guinness Cupcake I think works quite well and also the chocolate-chocolate with the Cinnamon Port I think is a really good combination. We tried some Shiraz that’s with the chocolate-chocolate and it just didn’t work, they were competing with each other. But those would be my tops.

Natalie: That’s great. Well there’s lots of food for thought here. I appreciate you folks joining me today. So, Claudia Arizmendi and Bill McGuiness, owners of the Cupcake Lounge here in Ottawa. You can sample their cupcakes and I do recommend trying this sort of tasting party with friends because it’s a lot of fun, so thank you both.

Claudia: Thank you.

Bill: You’re most welcome, Natalie. Thank you.

Natalie: Cheers!

Bill and Claudia: Cheers!

Natalie: I’m going to keep going




Leave a Reply