Champagne Cupcakes, Cheers!

Sisters at GraduationI am very proud big sis – my sister Wendy graduated in May from Colorado State University. To celebrate, we had a backyard graduation party with great friends, good food and beer! I couldn’t think of a better occasion to make mini champagne cupcakes, a recipe I pinned on Pinterest a while back and have wanted to bake ever since. (Find the original recipe from Some Kitchen Stories here). The cupcakes are white cake with a decadent, buttercream frosting with a hint of sweet champagne.

Ask anyone at the party, it was hard to eat just one!

Champagne Cupcakes
(makes approx. 36 mini cupcakes)

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
⅔ cup butter
1 ½ cups white sugar
¾ cup champagne (I used Korbel Extra Dry)
6 egg whites
Baker’s note: This was my first time baking with strictly egg whites. I gently cracked each egg, and over a bowl, slowly poured the yolk back and forth between the two halves of the eggshell, until most of the egg white separated into the bowl. It works, but you have to be patient! 

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Prepare a mini cupcake pan with liners.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.

3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.

4. In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Baker’s note: At high altitude, I thought beating egg whites would be near impossible, but I was successful! Beat the eggs using a electric mixer on medium-high speed for 5-8 minutes, until they are full (almost frothy looking) and form peaks. 

5. Fold ⅓ of the whites into batter, then fold in remaining egg whites.

6. Fill the cupcake liners about ⅔ full.

7. Bake at 350° F  for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

Champagne Buttercream Frosting 

3 ¼ cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

1. With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended, and then on medium speed for another two minutes.

2. Add vanilla extract and champagne, beating on medium speed for another minute.

Now, I have to say that I think these cupcakes are the most beautiful baked good I’ve ever made. Normally, I am horrible at frosting cupcakes and cakes, and can’t use a pastry bag to save my life. So I did a little searching and found an amazing cupcake decorating tool. It’s a hard plastic tube with eight pastry tips and an easy-to-use syringe that makes decorating cupcakes quick and easy and they look professional! Buy it at Cost Plus, World Market for only $5.99!
Cupcake Decorator
And for a finishing touch, sprinkle frosted cupcakes with Wilton’s white sugar pearls and serve on a cake plate with a doily. Cheers!
Champagne Cupcakes
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