Sangria Cupcakes ~ Cupcake Challenge

Welcome to our third week of the Cupcake Challenge!!

If you missed the other weeks, don’t worry, you can continue to enter all month long. And you are welcome to enter as many times as you like. You can read all about the details.

Today’s Challenge is about turning an ordinary cake mix into a special cupcake, following our theme of Summertime Fun!

While browsing through my new cupcake book, “Who You Callin’ Cupcake?”, there were lots of great cupcakes that I want to try. In fact, you will probably be seeing a lot more of the cupcakes from this fun little book. But, one of them jumped out at me. Summertime for us is all about having fun, going to the beach and of course, all the great fresh fruit and veggies!

These Sangria Cupcakes were lots of fun to make, and very easy also. I did change the recipe a bit from the book, but only so it would fit our theme of using a cake mix.

Sangria Cupcakes
Make these easy, yet gourmet, Sangria Cupcakes for your next party - recipe from
  • 1 Butter Flavor Cake Mix (yellow or white will work fine too)
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 cup Buttermilk (you can learn how I make my own Buttermilk, in this video)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup Granny Smith apples, diced small
  • 1 cup green grapes, sliced in half
  • 4 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 cup red wine
Apple Chip Garnish
  • Simple Syrup: 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water – bring to simmer on stove until sugar is dissolved
  • a splash of lime juice
  • 2 apples (Rome or Honey Crisp are best)
  1. Combine cake mix according to directions, I use oil, Buttermilk and 4 eggs to make it taste like it’s made from scratch.
  2. Fold in apples, grapes and orange zest.
  3. Bake as directed on box.
  4. As soon as they come out of the oven, brush the wine onto the tops with a pastry brush. {If you are serving children, you could use grape juice or another dark juice.}
  1. In a sauce pan on the stove, bring the red wine to a boil and let it reduce to one cup, making a red wine syrup.
  2. Place in fridge to chill.
  3. Beat the Buttercream frosting, and then add the red wine syrup.
Apple Chip Garnish
  1. To make Apple Chips, very thinly slice apples.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Boil the Simple Syrup, and let cool slightly, add lime juice.
  4. Using a pastry brush, brush on Simple Syrup mixture to one side of apple, turn over and repeat on the other side.
  5. You can bake them slowly at 200 degrees for about 1 hour on each side. Because it’s Summer, and I really didn’t want my kitchen heating up with the oven on that long. I baked them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, watching them closely so they don’t burn.
Decorating Cupcakes
  1. I piped the frosting onto the cupcakes with a decorator bag fitted with a Wilton #1M tip.
  2. Then added an Apple Chip and a green grape.


Now, you all know what a HUGE fan I am of What’s New, Cupcake? and Hello, Cupcake books. I wanted to share with you, once again, how I learned from them to make my cupcakes taste like they are made from scratch.

These Strawberry Supreme Cupcakes started with a Strawberry Cake mix, then add…

  • 1 cup Buttermilk (learn how I make my own Buttermilk)
  • 1/3 cup oil (or amount shown on box)
  • 4 eggs

Strawberry Supreme Frosting:

Decorating Cupcakes:

I used the same method as I did with the Sangria Cupcakes, only adding a fresh strawberry for garnish.

And guess what??? I have 2 Awesome Cupcake Books for you today!!

Who you Callin’ Cupcake? has 75 In-Your-Face recipes that reinvent the Cupcake. You can read all about it over on the giveaway page.

AND, of course…none other than What’s New, Cupcake? And not just ANY old book, but a SIGNED COPY!!

So…hurry on over and enter the giveaways! AFTER you link up your creations!

Here is how this is gonna work…

  • Cupcake Tuesday – if you have a Cupcake to share for Cupcake Tuesday, please add it to that linky
  • Cupcake Challenge - if you have a Cupcake, that follows the theme, please add it to that linky. PLEASE be sure to follow the Cupcake Challenge rules, I will need to delete you if you don’t, because Alan from What’s New Cupcake is judging and I don’t want him to get confused. thanks!
  • Who You Callin’ Cupcake? and What’s New, Cupcake? (Head on over and ENTER to win)



  1. Amber Smith says:

    Mmm… I love the apple chip garnishes – so fancy!

  2. Christy says:

    I looove the apple garnish! AND I can’t wait to explore the new cupcake book. I’ve been looking forward to tonight and get the cupcake fun started, and this was a good start. :O)

  3. The red wine icing looks amazing. I think I’ll trying making these on Saturday. They will be perfect to bring along to a dinner party. I look forward to Tuesday’s. I am loving your recipes.

  4. Ott, A. says:

    The apple garnish is really cute. I think we saw the same episode of cupcake wars as we have both done our own take on the s’more cupcake. I like the way you used a hershey’s on top of yours.
    Ott, A. recently posted..from garden plOTT to kitchen pOTT- Canning Week is only 1 week away!!!My Profile

  5. Love the idea of the apples! I can think of so many different uses for them!
    Amy @ Positively Splendid recently posted..We all scream forMy Profile

  6. Susie's Homemade says:

    I love those sangrias!!

  7. Evan @swEEts says:

    I love cocktail inspired cupcakes! These look delicious!
    Evan @swEEts recently posted..Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese FrostingMy Profile

  8. Amanda says:

    I love love love reading your blog… But I always end up salivating over my keyboard. :)~ I cannot wait for my kitchen to be finish being remodeled so I can try out my favorites!

  9. SARAH says:

    We’ve mentioned your cupcake challenge in a post at the Blog Guidebook! Take a look!

    Sarah & Lyndsay
    SARAH recently posted..Google Blogger Blog2PrintMy Profile

  10. Amy says:

    These are just beautiful, Liz! I am getting all caught up on your cupcake goodness today and so many great ones to choose from.

    We have started taking cupcakes into my hubby’s work and you should see these grown men all a flutter for some cupcakes ;) My kids were inspired after watching Cupcake Wars and it is such a blast to bake together.


    • CupcakeLady says:

      @Amy, That’s awesome! How fun! My Cupcake Challenge was inspired by Cupcake Wars…couldn’t call it that though, of course :-)
      There are some amazing cupcake linked up!
      Thanks for stopping by Amy!

  11. april says:

    I had a question about the sangria cupcakes. If I make them the night before our party, will they be soggy from the wine brushed onto them? Also, should I wait to do the icing until the day of the party? I just don’t want them to get mushy!


    • CupcakeLady says:

      Hi April,
      The cupcakes probably will be a little soggy, I would wait until the day of your party, if you can. I would also do the icing the day of the party also.
      Let me know if you have other questions! Thanks for visiting :-)

  12. CB says:

    I am making these cupcakes for a wedding shower this weekend and wanted to know if the apples and grapes could be eliminated from the recipe. Personally, I think it would taste great, but some of the people are doubting the flavor with the chopped fruit. If I eliminated the fruit, would I still use as much buttermilk, eggs, etc.? Also, I was thinking about coring the cupcakes and filling with the sangria buttercream frosting, too. Would that be too much? Thank you for your help.

    • CupcakeLady says:

      Hi CB, yes you can certainly change them up. You can leave out the fruit in the cupcake, but you still need the 4 eggs, oil and buttermilk. I use those ingredients when I’m using a box mix, it makes the cupcakes taste more like homemade. I think filling with the buttercream will be fine too. As far as the time for reducing the wine, I’m not exact, it was quite awhile ago that I made them. I looked in the cookbook that I got the recipe from and it doesn’t have a time. I would think it would take about 10-15 minutes, just watch it closely.
      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have other questions, I’m happy to help.

  13. CB says: last question :-) When I am making the frosting, I am going to boil 3 cups of red wine? How long does the red wine boil, on average, before it reduces to one cup? Thank you.


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