After all the cookie-ing I’ve been doing over the holidays, I’ve decided that it’s time to get back to my cupcake roots. I love making cupcakes because they’re (usually) quick and easy, the perfect serving size, and I’m a sucker for buttercream. With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, I decided these cupcakes couldn’t be just any ol’ cupcake. No no, these had to be the stuff of champagne dreams.
Yields 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1/2 stick (57 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup champagne
1 cup all purpose flour
For the frosting:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
2 sticks (226 grams) butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup champagne
Start by preheating your oven to 350* Fahrenheit (175* Celsius) and lining you cupcake pan(s) with liners. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture becomes slightly chunky. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, baking soda, and champagne. You can use just about any champagne you want, or pink champagne if you want to make pink champagne cupcakes. Personally, I used a champagne called Martin. Beat the mixture until all the ingredients are combined (this may take a little longer than usual as the champagne is very bubbly and doesn’t mix well). Add the flour and beat until all ingredients are just combined. Spoon the mixture into the lined cupcake pan(s) and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Unfortunately, I’m still figuring out the oven in this new apartment (it would seem it doesn’t bake very evenly) so mine came out a little darker than I would have liked.
While the cupcakes cool, you can whip up the frosting. In a large bowl, beat together the vegetable shortening and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until the mixture returns to a smooth and creamy state. Add the vanilla extract and champagne, and beat until just combined. If you don’t want quite so much champagne or you want a sweeter taste, you can also omit the champagne in the frosting entirely. Spoon the frosting into a large piping bag, affix with the desired tip, and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. I finished my cupcakes off with two sizes of white sugar pearls and some golden party picks.
Normally, I would have just bought the picks, but I couldn’t find any. Luckily, they’re very easy to make. If you can’t find any or want to make your own, you’ll need some tissue paper in the desired color (I went with gold), round toothpicks, and scotch tape. Start by cutting a long strip of tissue paper about 1 1/2″-2″ wide. Fold that in half so the strip is half as long, and start cutting small strips down to a few centimeters from the edge. Do that across the entire length of the tissue paper strip. Cut your long strip into shorter pieces (about 3-4 inches in length) and start rolling them onto toothpicks. As you roll the tissue paper onto the toothpicks, make sure you do it at a slight angle so the paper slowly works its way farther down the toothpick. You also want to roll the paper so that the most colored side (if there is one) is on the inside (the paper will be right-side-out once you hold the pick upright). Tape the end with scotch tape, and you’re ready to go!