Celebrating something special deserves a festive and champagne-filled dessert, don’t ya agree? These cupcakes were created for just that purpose. Whether it’s New Year’s Eve, an engagement, Valentine’s Day, a wedding, anniversary or just because, these Pink Champagne Cupcakes are just the treat to help set the festive mood. They are topped with a smooth and silky white chocolate buttercream frosting that is sure to become your new go-to frosting!
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When I was thinking about the perfect dessert for celebrating, champagne came to mind, of course! Like I usually do when I don’t already have a recipe of my own, I search my reliable baking recipe sources for ideas. Cook’s Illustrated came through in a big way, as always, serving up the perfect recipe for cake made with sparkling wine. I adapted this into cupcakes, made them pink because pink champagne just screams celebration now doesn’t it, and topped them with a not-too-sweet white chocolate frosting.
Adding champagne to cupcakes adds a slightly yeasty flavor reminiscent of bread and gives the cake an unmistakable festive flavor. There’s a full cup in the cupcake batter. I used more for soaking strawberries and topping these festive treats. Cuz you know, strawberries and champagne were made to go together in every way.
Decorating cupcakes for non-cupcake decorators
I am a self-proclaimed non-cupcake/cake decorator. I have tried many times to create carefully decorated cakes for my daughters’ birthdays. And while they came out decent, I swear each and every time that I will never decorate another cake again. I just don’t have the patience for it. Or the knack.
I have figured out, though, how to quickly and decently decorate cupcakes in a way that suits me much better. The first step is creating frosting that pipes well. This white chocolate buttercream fits the bill! It’s smooth and fluffy and has good structure to remain standing up after being piped. I use a gallon ziplock bag with the end sniped off. For these cupcakes I did use a piping tip. That’s not necessary, however. You can simply snip off a corner of the ziplock bag and squeeze out a dollop of frosting onto the cupcakes. Or, use an offset spatula or butter knife instead to apply a nice little mound of frosting.
I then topped these cupcakes with a couple of slices of strawberries soaked in champagne and some festive sprinkles. Bam! Now that’s my kind of decorating. Nothing crazy or super fancy here. But, they came out looking great and tasting even better.
Tips for Making This Recipe
- I suggest topping these cupcakes with strawberries soaked in champagne. If you plan to top the cupcakes with champagne-soaked strawberries, complete that step first to allow sufficient time for the strawberries to absorb all that delicious flavor from the champagne. I suggest the strawberries soak for at least 2 hours or overnight. This step can even be completed up to 2 days in advance. And don’t throw away the champagne that remains after you’ve topped your cupcakes! Drink up or use it in another recipe
- Be sure the red gel food coloring you use in this recipe states on the label that it is no-taste red. I have found that regular red food coloring has a very bitter taste, even in small amounts. Craft stores, such as AC Moore and Michaels, Wilton, and Amazon all sell no-taste red food coloring. Also, keep in mind that food coloring is not necessary and it can easily be omitted if you prefer your cupcakes without dye
- There is a full cup of champagne in the cupcake batter as well as more used for soaking the strawberries. For this ingredient, you can use any type you have on hand. This includes sparkling wine and Prosecco, too. Cook’s Illustrated recommends using a sparkling wine that is on the drier side but not too expensive such as Prosecco
- For the white chocolate buttercream frosting, I recommend melting the white chocolate as the first step. Allow it to cool for about 5 minutes, though, before adding it to your buttercream. This will prevent the butter in the buttercream from melting and enable structure in your frosting (a little tip I picked up from my friend, Sam at ButtermilkBySam.com). I like to whip the frosting for a couple of minutes once all ingredients are combined to create a smooth, fluffy and airy frosting that is easy to pipe
Useful Kitchen Tools for Making This Recipe
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For more cupcake recipes, give these a try:
- Caramel-filled Churro Cupcakes
- Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Oreo Buttercream Frosting
- Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
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