Last week Raycom Media asked me to come up with a dessert for an Oscar themed menu. I was sent a list of all the nominated movies and a quick summary of each. After reading through them, there were definitely some obvious desserts that I could have made, but I like to think outside the box. Instead of taking inspiration from one particular movie, I created a dessert inspired by Hollywood’s biggest night itself. One that is elegant, charming, and ready for the red carpet! You can read the news story here.
My first task was to assemble a cast of characters that would make this dessert a success. I opted to go with a cupcake because it’s fitting for any party you’re having. In order to dress up my chocolate cupcake, I decided I would incorporate goat cheese. I made a goat cheese frosting that is light and airy like a mousse. Light brown sugar in both the frosting and cupcake add a wonderful layer of flavor. That slight tang of the goat cheese frosting paired with the chocolate cupcake is a flavor combination that should not be missed! This is also a great way to try goat cheese in a dessert if you haven’t gone there yet.
At this point the cupcake was good, but it needed that finishing touch. That’s when the red wine popped in my head. I got a sweet red wine and let it reduce till it got nice and syrupy. I spooned a little of the reduction over the frosting, and that’s when the magic happened. Besides adding a fantastic color to the cupcake, the wine added a sweetness that was needed. With underlying hints of cherry and pomegranate shining through, it balanced the cupcake beautifully. The final product is incredibly luscious, yet refined at the same time.
I guess you can say the star of this show is the goat cheese frosting with supporting roles going to the red wine reduction and chocolate cupcake. While they all hold their own, together they create a smashing success!
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temp.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2t. vanilla bean paste -you can also use vanilla extract
- 1 & 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1t. baking soda
- 1/2t. salt
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 16 ounces goat cheese
- 1/4 cup + 2T. light brown sugar
- 1t. vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup red wine – I used a sweet red wine, use one you like to drink.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Make coffee and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugars till light and fluffy.
- Add egg and vanilla.
- Sift dries together.
- Alternate adding the dries with the coffee and buttermilk.
- Fill cupcake pans and bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes rotating once halfway through.
- Cream goat cheese, light brown sugar, and vanilla on medium speed till creamy.
- Whip heavy cream and powdered sugar till stiff.
- Fold whipped cream into goat cheese mixture and refrigerate till ready to use.
- Bring wine up to a boil and then lower heat to medium-low and let simmer down to about 1/4 cup liquid. It takes about 12-14 minutes to reduce and get syrupy. Make sure you keep a close eye on it!
- Make sure it is completely cool before you spoon it on the frosting.
Spoon the red wine reduction on close to serving time so it looks pretty.