Sunday, July 31, 2011

Strawberry + Champange = Happy Birthday Cynthia

Cupcakes seem to be all the rage this year, don't they? I mean, who wouldn't love them - they come in any and all flavors and they are just so dang cute. And you can have two and not feel like you ate a big 'ol piece of cake - at least that's what I tell myself. Needless to say, I love making cupcakes. They always seem to make people smile and they are just as fun to eat as they are to make. I'm trying to remember when I first started making them, but I honestly can't remember. I think it must have been this year, or at least this year is really when I broke out of my cupcake shell and started producing them in the masses. I made them for mother's day, wedding showers, BBQ's, Ryan's graduation party, father's day, and the list goes on and on. So, when Cynthia's birthday came around I thought what better to make then cupcakes! Strawberry cupcakes to be exact. I've never made a strawberry cupcake and searching for the right one definitely took some time. Some of them had fresh strawberries (which I know if you don't coat them right, will sink to the bottom and no one likes soggy cupcakes), some of them had strawberry jello (seriously ew), and some even used strawberry boxed cake mix (oh no no no!). After an hour or so of searching endless blogs and cooking websites, I found the perfect one - strawberries & champagne! What could be better? And the cupcake itself is actually vegan, score! I've been wanting to try out a vegan cupcake for awhile and this was the perfect opportunity (although, the frosting is not vegan. I'll have to attempt a vegan frosting another day). The recipe looked slightly labor intensive, but not overly difficult.  After making the strawberry puree and reducing the champagne, I knew this one would be a winner.  Even my #1 taste tester approved of them, and so did the birthday girl! If you're looking for a summery cupcake that has a unique and fresh frosting, you've got to try this one. I've even had a special request to make these again in a couple of weeks. They must be good then, right?

The lineup - can you guess the ingredient that makes this cupcake vegan? Coconut milk instead of eggs!     

First Step - Strawberry Puree

2 1/2 cups strawberries + 1/4 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and blend until smooth

Straining the puree to remove all those pesky strawberry seeds

Step Two - Cupcakes (the best part!)

Champagne reducing for the frosting!

The essential tools for this recipe - if you don't have a large ice cream scoop, get one. You'll have perfectly even cupcakes every time! Note - these liners are awesome. I ordered them from a cupcake shop online and they are perfect for baking. They do not absorb oil or soak through like most other liners would. That and the price wasn't bad either - 350 of them for $15.

Cupcakes pre-bake! Nice and rosy pink.

Strawberry cupcakes post-bake. Not sure what happened to the color, but don't let that scare you.

Frosting Ingredients!

Reduced champagne butter cream frosting. Are you drooling yet? I could seriously eat this by the spoonful. And no, I'm not ashamed to admit that.

Get ready for my top secret icing technique.....

Ziploc bag! You can fill it up, cut off the tip and pipe away. The best part, you don't have to clean a pastry bag and you can just throw it away. LOVE easy clean up.

Cupcakes frosted and topped with clear sprinkles. Be careful to not spill them on the floor - major slipping hazard!

Boxed up and ready for delivery to the birthday girl. Ps. I found these boxes at target for $1! If you see them at your local target, swoop them up while you can. You can use them for just about anything.

A bow makes everything better.

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes (adapted from

Makes 12 cupcakes


1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup champagne/sparkling white wine
1/2 cup strawberry puree
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For Frosting:
2 cups champagne (reduced until about 4 tablespoons)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

5 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream, as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, champagne, strawberry puree, sugar, vanilla, and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 18-22 minutes or until set, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Bring champagne to a simmer in a small saucepan. Continue to boil gently until only 4 tablespoons of liquid remain. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

For frosting, cream butter in electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons reduced champagne and mix. Continue to add confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until light and fluffy. Add cream or more sugar as necessary to achieve proper consistency. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Don't those sound scrumptious? If they all don't get eaten right away, make sure to keep the extras in the fridge. When you are ready to have another, just take it out for 30 minutes or so to get the chill off of them. Or you can eat it cold. Shoot, I licked the frosting bowl, so who am I to judge.


  1. does the frosting actually taste like champagne?

  2. yes it does! it's a super intense concentrated flavor since you reduce it down so much. I used a rose champagne so I could get that sweetness and rosy color!