New Year's is my favorite time of year, and Champagne is my favorite drink. So it's no surprise that when I came across a recipe for Champagne cupcakes last week, I nearly jumped out of my seat with excitement. These cupcakes have Champagne in the batter, in the pastry cream filling, and in the buttercream frosting. How much more exciting can this dessert get?
There are quite a few steps involved in this recipe, but I was able to whip up a batch in just a couple of hours. These would make an impressive addition to any New Year's party, or if you're planning a sweet night in to ring in 2015, cut the recipe in half and enjoy them yourself!
I accidentally used two sticks of butter instead of one (oops!) like the recipe calls for, but my cupcakes still turned out fluffy and delicious . . . and more fattening, of course, but it's technically still the holidays so I can justify that small mistake.
If you're like me and have never made pastry cream before, this recipe offers a great step-by-step introduction to the process. Filling the cupcakes with the cream makes them even more moist and delicious, but they also make them quite a bit richer. If you prefer a lighter cupcake, skip the pastry cream and just enjoy the cake and frosting.
The frosting recipe calls for two tablespoons of reduced Champagne plus one tablespoon right out of the bottle, but I found that this made the frosting runnier than I would have liked, so I would suggest only using one tablespoon of reduced Champagne.
Though you can spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a knife, using a piping bag with a simple tip makes this an elegant dessert fit for any party. A tip for reducing the mess when using piping bags is to insert the tip into the bag, sit it upright in a tall drinking glass, and fold the top of the bag over the edges of the glass, as pictured above. Spoon in frosting and fold up the sides of the bag and start piping!
The end result is luscious and decadent. There is a slight Champagne flavor incorporated into every element of the cupcake and even though most of the booze is cooked off, you still may feel warm and tingly after enjoying one of these, just because they're so wonderful.