Creative chefs like to experiment, sometimes using wine as an ingredient.
Gretchen Hartrick of The Cupcake Daily in Talent has a following for her Rose Jolee strawberry cupcake ($3.25) using Del Rio Vineyards & Winery's 2011 Rose Jolee ($15 a bottle), a white blend of early muscat and riesling with red wine added to create a pink color.
"The cupcake is very popular, especially because so many people are big Rose Jolee (wine) fans," she says.
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, Hartrick and her crew will serve cake samples at Del Rio's ninth annual Winter Wine Event. Inside the winery at 52 N. River Road in Gold Hill, other vendors will pass out candies, breads, cheeses and Talent-based Shibui balsamic sauces.
Admission is $15 and includes a keepsake wine glass and tastings ($10 for wine-club members who are allowed inside at noon).
Hartrick says this event always draws a large, cupcake-friendly crowd. "After a few glasses of wine, they are not as worried about calories and are looking for a good time," she says. "It's a 'what-the-heck?' attitude."
The Cupcake Daily customers don't have to feel that guilty because the cakes, frostings and fillings are made from scratch, with unbleached flour and in-season fruits.
The shop at 102 Talent Ave. (open Tuesday through Saturday) has daily specials, such as the Wine & Cheese: a chocolate-red wine cake with cream-cheese frosting and salted caramel. On Wine Wednesdays, there may be pear-chardonnay, chocolate-zinfandel or other cakes made with wine.
The Cupcake Daily has worked with other wine producers, including Talent-based Ledger David Cellars, to infuse a red-velvet cupcake with 2010 Sangiovese ($22), and Ashland-based Grizzly Peak Winery, to pair a brown-butter buttercream-spice cake with 2010 Chardonnay ($16).
— Janet Eastman