I remember the first cake I baked for someone else. My brother’s wife asked if I would make a dessert for their commitment ceremony’s reception. I took it upon myself to make them a wedding cake. The way I saw it, a dessert simply wasn’t good enough. So, I made a small 2 tiered fall-themed wedding cake, and the cake was a pumpkin poundcake. From there, my next cake was a request for not one, but two identical cakes for a young lady’s 21st birthday. She sent me a picture of a zebra striped cake and I recreated…twice.
Since then, my skills have improved, my standards have risen, and my desire to create rather than reproduce is innate. In fact, I rarely agree to make a cake from a Pinterest picture. Instead, I love it when people trust me enough to give me free reign and to simply “come up with something.”
My friends are usually the best at letting me do my thing. They tell me what they kind of want, but after that, it’s up to me. This weekend’s request was no different. My friend, Shari, asked if I had time to make champagne cupcakes, and then, asked if I thought strawberry champagne cupcakes would be good. Well…of course, champagne and strawberry cupcakes will be good. When is champagne NOT good!?!?!?! If pharmaceutical companies would make medicine and vitamins taste like champagne and strawberries, we would all take our medicine and the world would be healthier! Anyway, I tackled it the way I always do…experimenting. When you only need about a cup of champagne from a whole bottle, there’s either a lot to be personally consumed or a lot to experiment with! Considering that I was using Spumante and I’m more of a Brut fan, I experimented with the remaining bottle.
2 stick butter-softened
2 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ c. champagne
½ c. milk
1 c. roughly chopped strawberries—fresh, not in juice
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients alternately with champagne and milk. When all have been incorporated, add strawberries and mix on high for 2 minutes.
Scoop into cupcake liners and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool and frost with champagne buttercream.
2 sticks butter-softened
2 c. shortening
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
½ tsp salt
1 TBSP meringue powder
2 lbs. powdered sugar
4-6 TBSP champagne
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, shortening, salt, and extracts. Add meringue powder and half of powdered sugar. Mix on low until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar in ½ c. increments, mixing well after each addition. Add champagne as needed to reach desired consistency. Mix on high for 5-10 minutes or until fluffy.
Top each cupcake with a strawberry fan & strawberry champagne drizzle
1 ½ c. champagne
1 ½ c. sugar
2 strawberries—finely chopped
Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool before drizzling over cupcakes.