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
Pink Champagne Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream
Whatever you’re celebrating, these Pink Champagne Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream are just the treat to help set the festive mood.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes + cooling time
- Yield: 20 cupcakes 1x
- Category: Cupcakes
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
For the Cupcakes
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup champagne, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 drops no-taste red gel food coloring
- 2 ¼ cups (9 ounces) cake flour
- 1 ¾ cups (12 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cubed
For the White Chocolate Buttercream
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 12 ounces high quality white chocolate baking bars
For Topping (optional)
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into small pieces or slices
- 1 cup champagne
- Give Strawberries a Champagne Bath: If you plan on topping your cupcakes with champagne-soaked strawberries, prepare those first by placing chopped strawberries in a bowl and pouring champagne over top, ensuring all berries are submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight
- Prepare the Cupcake Batter: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard cupcake tins with cupcake liners and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, champagne, vanilla, and food until well combined. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or a hand mixer, mix on low speed the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add butter, 1 piece at a time, until incorporated and mixture resembles moist crumbs. Add all but ½ cup of the egg white mixture and beat until just combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add remaining ½ cup egg white mixture in a slow stream. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and beat batter on medium-high speed until well combined, about 15 seconds
- Bake Cupcakes: Fill each cupcake liner ⅔ of the way up. Bake until toothpick inserted in center cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cupcakes cool in tins on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins and let cool completely on wire rack, about 2 hours
- Melt the White Chocolate for the Frosting: In the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water and that you keep your burner set on low), melt the white chocolate, stirring every minute or so. Once fully melted, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool, about 5 minutes. Dip your finger in to test the temperature, once it’s cool enough to touch, you can use it in the next step. If it’s too hot, it will melt the butter in your buttercream which is not what you want
- Prepare the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Sift in the powdered sugar and salt and add the vanilla. Beat until well blended. Beat in slightly cooled white chocolate with the mixer speed on low, then beat at medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until smooth and fluffy
- Top your Cupcakes: Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes. With a slotted spoon, remove a few pieces of strawberries from champagne bath and place on top of each cupcake. Add sprinkles and serve
- Cupcakes can be made up to 3 days ahead. When completely cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature until ready to frost and serve
- Strawberries can be soaked in champagne up to 2 days in advance. Keep tightly covered in fridge until ready to serve
- Frosted cupcakes will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. Store wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature. Cupcakes topped with strawberries are best eaten right away
- You should have just enough frosting for all of your cupcakes. However, if you have leftover frosting, store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. I like to store mine in a mason jar with a tight fitting lid
- Cupcakes adapted from CooksIllustrated.com
- White Chocolate Buttercream adapted from Buttermilk By Sam
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