The cupcake part of this recipe produces a very, very light cake that tastes a bit more like a sweet bread than a traditional cupcake. The recipe uses kosher salt instead of regular salt, which really brings out the champagne flavor (awesome idea, Carly!)
But, you say, champagne is expensive! Fine, don't use real champagne - I didn't. Sidebar: has anyone seen that really obnoxious ad in the New Yorker that shows a fake bottle of champagne wearing a fancy costume mask and encourages you to report fake champagne? Anyway, I used asti, which is a sparkling wine from Piedmont. You can use any sort of cheap champagne imitation (although if you get something too cheap, I wouldn't recommend it for the frosting). Also, I guess if you're using an imitation champagne you can't call these champagne cupcakes ... oh well.
Champagne cupcakes - makes 4 dozen with extra batter for some big cupcakes or eating
- 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup champagne or sparkling wine
- 6 egg whites, whipped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini-cupcake or regular cupcake tins with paper liners.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the butter for on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. This will take about two minutes
- Slowly add in the sugar and continue to beat on medium speed until the sugar and butter mixture is smooth.
- Sift the flour into a separate small bowl. Then, with a whisk, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the dry mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the champagne until fully incorporated. The batter will seem a little thick and sticky, but that's OK because you're about to add egg whites.
- In a separate bowl (metal or glass is fine, but don't use plastic), beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter.
- Fill the paper liners 2/3 full and bake for 11-13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- 1/2 cup of champagne
- Approximately a tablespoon of sugar
- Zest of one tangelo
- 3-4 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 sticks of butter, room temperature
- In a small pot, add the champagne and tangelo zest and bring it to light simmer. Add the sugar and let the mixture simmer for about five minutes or until it has become slightly thicker. Remember to stir often so that it doesn't burn.
- If you want, you can strain the champagne/tangelo syrup using some cheesecloth. You don't have to though and I think having flecks of zest in your frosting is actually pretty.
- While you let the syrup cool, cream the butter in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer.
- Add the confectioners sugar and champagne syrup in about six additions, alternating between the two ingredients. Be sure to mix well after each addition (for about a minute).
- Frost the cupcakes and serve!