If you’re from the East Coast, it’s very possible you have no idea what a Red Vine is (if you do, I’m sorry for making the assumption about you). I’ll give you a chance to guess before I change your taste buds forever…did you guess yet?…no?…okay, I’ll tell you! A Red Vine is the ultimate chewy red licorice! Sure, you might now be saying to yourself “I eat Twizzlers and they are delicious,” but I’m here to tell you that Twizzlers have nothing on Red Vines! Here are my favorite things about Red Vines: they are chewy and not waxy like Twizzlers, they can be an instant yummy straw when you bite off the ends and they taste so good when they get really hard and stale! If you think I’m the only one obsessed with Red Vines, I once read a great quote from a fellow Red Vine lover: “No comparison, red vines rule. Twizzlers taste like wax. If you want flavor, Red Vines are the way to go. If you want a mouth full of wax, chew on a birthday candle and save your money.”
So it was a no-brainer to use Red Vines when my I decided to alter a recipe that my sister sent me for Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes with Red Licorice Filling from a 2010 episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Please please please do not use Twizzlers in place of Red Vines! Just check out the “WHERE TO FIND RED VINES” tab on Red Vines official website and pick up a bag (or two).
makes 12 cupcakes
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cherry cola (I used Cherry Coke Zero), warmed in microwave for 1 minute
RED LICORICE FILLING
5 Red Vines
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted margarine, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp soy milk
1/2 tsp raspberry (or cherry) extract
1/8 tsp anise extract (tastes like black licorice)
red food coloring (optional)
I combined the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in an electric mixer. I then added the egg, soy milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for two minutes. I stirred in the warm Cherry Coke Zero until fully combined. Note: The batter might seem a little thin compared to what you’ve probably seen before on Cupcake Wars but trust me, it is perfect! I filled 12 cupcake liners 3/4 full with the light batter and baked until the cupcakes were springy to touch, around 15-18 minutes. I let them cool in a pan for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. While the cupcakes were cooling, I made the licorice filling. I tore the Red Vines into 1 inch pieces, placed them in a small saucepan with the water and brought the mixture to a boil over medium heat. I removed the pan from the heat and let cool. Once cooled, I whisked in the sugar, cornstarch, salt and egg yolks. I cooked the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and bubbly. I continued cooking the filling for one more minute then removed from the heat and cooled to room temperature. You will go bananas for this filling!!! You can just eat it with a spoon.
While the cupcakes and filling were cooling, I moved on to the final step: the sweet licorice buttercream frosting. I creamed the room temperature margarine in a standing mixer then gradually added the powdered sugar.Once combined, I added the soy milk, raspberry extract, anise extract and red food coloring. I mixed on high-speed until light and fluffy. Add as much or as little food coloring as you want until your buttercream is the right color for you.By this point, everything was cooled and my cupcakes were ready to assemble! Using a small spoon, I scooped out the center of each chocolate cupcake and filled with the gooey Red Vine filling.Using a star tip and a pastry bag, I piped the sweet pink frosting on to each filled cupcake then topped with a piece of Red Vine licorice. A FEW TIPS:
- I suggest refrigerating the cupcakes once frosted so the buttercream doesn’t collapse. Plus, I love the way a cold cupcake tastes.
- If you’re wondering what to do with the extra cake that you scooped out for the filling, make cake pops! I was able to make 6 cake pops with my extra cake and licorice frosting.