Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kristina Cooks: Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes

After I mentioned that I wanted to try out a recipe for champagne cupcakes, my sister almost immediately requested them for her birthday. She's fancy like that. I happen to really like champagne and maybe next time I will splurge for some prosecco, but I think they turned out absolutely delicious with an old reliable bottle of Andre. I was surprised with how clearly the champagne flavor came through without overpowering the entire cupcake and even though I'm not necessarily a fan of filled cupcakes, the custard somehow seeped into the entire cake and just enhanced the flavor. I imagined taking a bite and having all of the custard just oozing out, or having a huge chunk of it that I would have to eat around, but that definitely wasn't the case. Just like champagne, these won't be my everyday go-to cupcakes, but I think they are definitely fitting for special occasions and am happy to add them to my book of tricks.

Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes
*recipe from Sprinkle Bakes

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup champagne, prosecco, or your favorite sparkling wine (I used Andre Brut)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. in a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little). Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Batter will be thick.

Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter. Bake for 17-22 minutes. Set aside.

Champagne Pastry Creme Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup champagne or prosecco
2 tbsp cornstarch
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and 1/2 cup champagne in a saucepan; bring to a boil then remove from heat.

Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook. Return the remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.

Cut a divot into the top of each cupcake and fill with pastry cream. Trim the cut-out cake pieces flat to make a "lid" and place on top of the filled divot.

Champagne Frosting:
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne or prosecco (I only used a few splashes of champagne in the frosting because I was afraid that a concentrated amount would overpower the frosting)
2 sticks of butter softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Transfer to a small bowl or condiment cup and allow to cool. (I omitted this step completely but give it a try and let me know what you think!)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together. Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tbsp. champagne plus 1 tbsp. champagne from the bottle (I used a few splashes) and mix well.

Frost the cream-filled cupcakes with your favorite piping tip.

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