2010 is almost a memory, and what remains is mostly the bitter-sweet disassembling of Christmas. I’ve been finding pieces of packaging shrapnel from eager gift opening and the odd half-eaten piece of Christmas candy (a sure sign of overindulgence). For me, these days-after feel a little awkward, but reflecting on the year fills my glass half-full again. So many amazing things happened, and I am hopeful that 2011 will be even better!
I may even have a resolution or two. Do you?
Though I’ll miss the ornaments and lights, these cupcakes have plenty of sparkle to welcome in the new year. They are festive little parcels that carry bright, fruity notes of champagne.
The filling is my favorite element of this dessert. It holds the most champagne flavor and keeps the cupcakes incredibly moist. I tweaked a standard vanilla pastry cream recipe, and although the original recipe has been halved, you may still have a bit left over after filling the cakes.
I think I’ll thicken the unused portion (with mascarpone?) and use it as a macaron filling.
Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes
Yield: about 17 cupcakes [click to print]
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. in a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little). Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Batter will be thick.
Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter. Bake for 17-22 minutes. Set aside.
Champagne Pastry Creme Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup champagne or prosecco
2 tbsp cornstarch
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and 1/2 cup champagne in a saucepan; bring to a boil then remove from heat.
Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook. Return the remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.
Cut a divot into the top of each cupcake and fill with pastry cream. Trim the cut-out cake pieces flat to make a “lid” and place on top of the filled divot.
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne or prosecco
2 sticks of butter softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Transfer to a small bowl or condiment cup and allow to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together. Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tbsp. champagne plus 1 tbsp. champagne from the bottle and mix well.
Frost the cream-filled cupcakes and decorate with pastel dragees.