If you're trying to cook seasonally, February, March, and April are pretty challenging. Nothing is in season! Sure, there are starting to be the first strawberries now. And there was asparagus back in February. But who wants asparagus cupcakes? Not even I would try feeding that to my husband.
So I've had to be creative. Violet flowers are growing (purple macarons still in process here - botched one group already). Black licorice is a good possibility. But one of the richest flavor families to steal from during times of lack? The fermented goodness of booze-flavored treats.
Now most of you probably know that I don't drink alcohol. But baking with it? Child, please! It doesn't get any better (and those pesky alcohol units bake out anyway you teetotalers). So this week and for some other weeks, there will be lots of experiments with the bubbly.
And now for this week! Champagne flavored cupcakes! And they. Were. AMAZING! A total K.O. They would be awesome for a New Year's Party, or wedding. Or, if you're like me, a Tuesday.
Champagne Cupcakes with Sweet Champagne Buttercream
For the cupcakes:
2 3/4 c flour (I used cake flour, it lightens things up)
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
2/3 c butter
1 1/2 c white sugar
3/4 c champagne
6 egg whites (save the yolks for a creme brulee!)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a pan with cupcake papers.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar for at least three minutes, until light and very fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.
In another clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the white into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
*For the frosting:
3 1/4 c powdered sugar
1 c butter at room temperature (important! microwaving can approximate it, but you're taking risks with the texture)
1/2 t vanilla extract
3 T champagne
With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes. Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute.
Makes about 20
*Double recipe if you want to do fancy swirly cupcakes! I did the regular and had plenty, but you will want more if you want to be fancy.