Celebratory Champagne Cupcakes
If there’s anything more celebratory than cake, it’s cake with champagne. These Champagne Cupcakes, then, are the dessert to make when congratulations are in order or someone you love will be honored. Fortunately, they are as delicious to eat as they are spectacular to see.
Get the original recipe here.
To inspire party guests bubble over in excitement even more about these Champagne Cupcakes, they call for a second surprise element: a jam filling for a bright and rosy layer. Raspberry was my choice, since these beautiful gems are in season and could serve as a fresh garnish to the dessert, but feel free to use your favorite flavor. I opted to add some fresh red berries to glasses of champagne to complement the cupcakes and to toast summer!
The gathering I was hosting was on the small side, so I halved the batter volume to produce a dozen cupcakes—still enough for leftovers. I also replaced the American buttercream with a Swiss meringue number which had a glossy finish and silky texture that perfectly complemented the champagne. Finally, I couldn’t resist adding a touch of pink food coloring to the frosting, both because it alludes to the raspberry filling and it’s just so pretty. Leaving the buttercream a pearly white would be a classic, elegant option if that fits your occasion.
I was anxious to find out: Could you taste the champagne? I’m not sure someone who didn’t know the bubbly beverage was an ingredient in the batter and frosting would be able to identify it blind, but I do think it adds a little special something (perhaps a lightness) to this dessert. Regardless, this is a lovely recipe. White cakes are common but also notoriously hard to get right, and this one is pleasantly moist but delicate and just rich enough to pair with the sweet-tart raspberry center. The champagne Swiss meringue buttercream is exquisite. Top it off with some pearls of sugar pearls and the cupcakes make it a party.
Even if you need to make up a reason to celebrate (August is apparently “Romance Awareness Month!”), pop a bottle and make these Champagne Cupcakes stat. Cheers!
1/3 cup butter
1/2 vanilla bean, split, or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cup champagne or sparkling wine
1/3 cup raspberry or strawberry jam
1 recipe Champagne Swiss Meringue Buttercream (below)
White jimmies, coarse white sugar, and/or other white sprinkles
- Separate eggs; discard 2 of the yolks. Allow remaining yolks, the egg whites, and butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, generously grease twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups. If using vanilla bean, use a sharp knife to scrape seeds from vanilla bean halves; set seeds aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight); set aside.
- In another large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add granulated sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in the reserved egg yolk and the vanilla seeds or vanilla extract. Alternately add flour mixture and champagne to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Fold half of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten; fold in remaining beaten egg whites. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full.
- Bake about 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire rack.
- Place jam in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Insert the tip into the top of each cupcake. Squeeze about 1 teaspoon of the jam into the center of each cupcake. Spread or pipe Champagne Swiss Meringue Buttercream on cupcakes. Decorate with jimmies, coarse sugar, and/or other white sprinkles.
Champagne Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes: About 3 cups
Adapted from dessert. design. life.
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup champagne or sparkling wine
1-2 drops pink food coloring (optional)
- Whisk together the egg whites and sugar in a bowl sized to fit snugly over a small pot. (Alternately, use the bowl of a double boiler.) Add an inch of water to the pot and bring to a simmer. Place the egg whites over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar has dissolved; if you have a candy thermometer, you’re looking to reach 160° F.
- Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high with a whisk attachment until the mixture is room temperature and reaches opaque, glossy peaks.
- Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, a piece every few seconds. Continue beating until the butter is fully incorporated and the mixture is silky and firm enough to pipe. If the mixture looks soupy or curdled, do not lose faith, and continue beating—it will get there! Beat in the vanilla, salt, champagne, and food coloring (if using) until smooth.