Saturday, January 1, 2011

Celebrating With Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Happy New Year! I was inspired by one of my favorite shows I love to hate, Oprah. She is so out of touch, always interrupting her guests, and somehow turns every topic back to herself, yet I watch religiously.( I think I will start my own Oprah drinking game, every time she says me-mine-I you have to take a shot, by the time my husband gets home from work I will be passed out on the couch.) The other day she had the girls from DC Cupcakes on, an equally annoying TV show, and they were making champagne cupcakes for New Years. The dessert they made didn't sound that great, but it did make me think about making my own champagne cupcakes for New Year's Eve. Using a mix of recipes and a crazy idea I had, I made the perfect cupcakes to ring in the New Year. Pink Champagne Cupcakes topped with Strawberry Pop Rocks. The Pop Rocks were my idea to give the cupcakes the fizz of champagne. When I first started I was immediately worried, because when I opened the bottle of champagne, I poured the tiniest drop into a glass to taste it and thought I was going to die. I continued on, but in fear that I was poisoning the entire batch with champagne. It turns out champagne tastes great when you add a few cups of sugar to it. The cupcakes tasted the way I always hoped champagne would taste, sweet and fruity with just the slightest hint of alcohol. I would make these cupcakes again in a second, they were so perfect. I am thinking Valentine's Day, bridal showers, or just for something girly. Maybe now I will experiment with other types of alcohol. Do I see a real pina colada cupcake in 2011, I think so.

Vanilla Cupcakes
from Billy's Bakery

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins with liners. Set aside. 
In a large measuring cup, add the milk and vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until combined. 
Add butter one cube at a time until all the butter is coated with the flour.
With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs one at a time mixing until incorporated.
Add the milk in three parts, mixing for about 30 seconds between each addition.
Using a pastry bag (Just started doing it this way and love how clean it is.) fill each cup about 2/3 full.
Bake for 17-20 minutes.

Champagne Syrup

2 cups champagne
1 cup powdered sugar

Bring the champagne and powdered sugar to a boil. Continue boiling for about 6 minutes, it will not be thick. Remove from the heat. Poke holes in the cupcakes with a toothpick or skewer. Using a spoon, drizzle the syrup over the cupcakes. When you have covered the last cupcake, start over drizzling more syrup on each cupcake.You may have to re-poke some of the holes to help the syrup get into the center of the cupcake. Let set while making the frosting.

Champagne Buttercream Frosting
adapted from DC Cupcakes 

1/2 cup good Champagne
16 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
red food coloring

In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and sugar, beat on medium until well incorporated.
Add the vanilla, milk, salt. On low speed, slowly add the Champagne. Turn to high speed and beat until light and fluffy. Add a tiny drop of red food coloring and mix well.

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcake using your favorite decorating tip.

Then add the piece de resistance, Strawberry Pop Rocks. As kids from the 80's all know, once Pop Rocks touch anything damp, your tongue, coke, the palm of your licked hand, they start exploding immediately, well that also includes frosting. So the trick is to sprinkle the Pop Rocks on the cupcakes as soon as you serve them, or you can do as I did and just have a bowl of Pop Rocks with a spoon sitting next to the cupcakes and let the guest put it on. It really does the trick of adding champagne fizz to the cupcake.


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