Champagne Cupcakes

Somehow, 2016 is right around the corner. 

I really don’t know how that happened, but here we are and I say we make some cupcakes. And…let’s throw in a bottle of champagne. Cool? Cool.

These cupcakes are a marriage of perfection: sweet, rich cupcakes and light, bubbly wine. I’m not really sure what could make it better. Maybe if we soaked them in champagne syrup and topped them with rich champagne buttercream? Yea, I think that’ll do it. 

I’m using New Year’s Eve as an excuse to bring the two together but, honestly, these would be just as delicious in the middle of July. The flavor from the wine is light and subtle, yet definitely present, adding a level of sophistication to the classic cake. So, even if you’re not a fan of champagne you’ll have no problem with these. (But also, if you're not a fan of champagne…???)

The batter comes together in a less typical order, wet gets mixed directly into dry, only slightly combined prior, leaving small pockets of butter. The batter will be slightly lumpy due to this, but the magic occurs when these pebbles of butter melt during baking, adding an airy lightness to the crumb. A sticky-sweet, wine-infused syrup boosts the flavor further, supporting a generous dollop of buttercream. 

Obviously, they’re served best with a cold glass of champagne, but you do you. 

So let’s raise a glass, or a cupcake, to the end of 2015 and to the beginning of a new year.

Champagne Infused Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream

Makes 16 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes: (adapted from here)

1.33 cups all purpose flour

0.75 cup sugar

0.25 teaspoon salt

0.25 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

0.75 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (or Earth Balance sticks*)

3 egg whites (3 tablespoons ground flax seeds combined with 4.5 tablespoons water*, will change color slightly)

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

0.5 cup sour cream (or soy yogurt*)

0.5 cup + 2 tablespoons champagne

 

For the Syrup:

0.5 cup champagne

0.25 cup powdered sugar

 

For the Buttercream: (adapted from here)

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (or Earth Balance sticks*)

4.5 cups powdered sugar

5 tablespoons champagne

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. For the cupcakes: Combine flour, sugar, salt, soda and powder in small bowl, set aside.

3. In bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, egg whites, vanilla bean paste, sour cream and champagne. The mixture will be very lumpy. 

4. Add dry ingredients slowly and, again, mixture will have small lumps. These will disappear in baking. 

5. Divide into cupcake liners, filling about 0.75 full. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and surface of cake springs back to light touch. Transfer to cooling rack.

6. For the syrup: While cupcakes cool, combine sugar and champagne in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce until it has about halved in volume. It is a very thin syrup, so don’t worry if it doesn’t thicken like a classic syrup. 

7. For the buttercream: In a stand mixer, beat together butter and half the powdered sugar. Add champagne and mix until smooth. Add the rest of the sugar and beat on high until very light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). 

8. Once cupcakes are completely cooled, poke holes in the tops with a toothpick and then brush on a generous amount of syrup. To get the maximum amount per cupcake, I did two coats. 

9. As syrup sets, transfer buttercream to a piping bag and frost cupcakes. Best served day of with a glass of champagne. 

(*The vegan subs have not been tested, but should work. Let me know if you try them!)

I hope these cupcakes make it into your kitchen or even to your New Year’s Eve parties. Tag me if you post photos on Instagram, I'd love to see what you create!

Thank you so much for an amazing year starting The Sweetest Beet. I've loved sharing my baking adventures with you and can't wait to see what 2016 holds. But, in the meantime, let's sip some champagne and eat a cupcake (or two).

xo