Strawberry Wine Cupcakes

For Valentine’s Day, these are great. One thing we miss greatly is getting to go out to a nice dinner for date night. After all, that’s why I wrote my book, Real Food Dinners for Two: Healthy Paleo Recipes at Home. We started having a ‘date-night-in’ and made all of our favorites at home. Still… sharing those fancy desserts that are plated so perfectly are something I really miss. However, I love baking so I can find other options for us! Like these…. complete with strawberries, red wine and chocolate. Plus, I cheated and used one of my favorite Paleo baking mixes for the cupcake base! Use your favorite packaged mix to save some time! Makes about 12 servings (with the mix I used).

Strawberry Wine Cupcakes wm

1 pkg of vanilla (or chocolate) cake mix (My top 3 Paleo are: Paleo Folks, Simple Mills and Cake Therapy)
1 cup of fresh strawberries, chopped*
1/4 cup red wine
Frosting
1/2 cup palm shortening
2 cups powdered sugar *see note below*
2-3 Tbsp red wine
1/3 cup cocoa powder
Fresh or dehydrated strawberries
Melted Chocolate -for drizzling, if desired

Add cake mix to a mixing bowl. Add in required ingredients for mix except reduce liquid (milk or water) by 1/4 cup to account for red wine. Add in red wine. Mix together until well combined (as per package instructions). Fold in strawberries. Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown in a greased or lined muffin pan. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine shortening, powdered sugar, wine and cocoa powder. Using the whisk attachment, blend until smooth and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Spread on with a knife or you can use a pastry bag to put icing on completely cooled cupcakes. top with a fresh or dried strawberry slice.

* You can use Freeze-dried Strawberries also! They work great and have less liquid. I used about 2/3 cup of dried berries. Tropical Traditions has a great selection of freeze-dried fruit.

**To make powdered sugar; add about 3 cups of whole cane sugar (or coconut sugar) and 1/4 cup arrowroot starch into a blender. Pulse a few times until mixture is powdered. Add to recipe as needed.

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