Thursday, January 5, 2012

Best. Cupcakes. Ever. (That I've made)

Sooo, I'm sitting in front of the computer one afternoon, thinking about all the work I should be doing (and I did a little) when I decided what I really wanted to do was bake some cupcakes. I looked in the fridge and we had some champagne leftover from my awesome going away/engagement party and some strawberries. I was off and running. I knew what I wanted to make- Champagne Strawberry cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream. I  found a couple of recipes from two of my favorite and, made some alterations and VOILA- the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. 

Note- The frosting recipe makes  a lot. A LOT. For those of you that view a cupcake as merely a frosting delivery device, it may be fine. For me, however, I could have easily cut the recipe in half and still had some left over. The recipe below is the full amount. You’ve been warned.
Enjoy! Let me know what you think!

Champagne Strawberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup champagne/sparkling white wine
1/3 cup +2T strawberry puree (1 cup of whole strawberries and whiz them in a food processor or immersion blender)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
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 milk, champagne, strawberry puree, sugar, vanilla, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Mix until fairly smooth. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

1 bag (12 oz) White Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 sticks (1 and 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softenend
1 block (8oz) cream cheese
5 cups confectioners sugar, more as needed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, microwave the whipping cream for 1 minute until steaming but not boiling.  Pour chocolate chips into hot cream and stir until smooth.  Set aside to cool completely.  In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese and mix until smooth.  Add cooled white chocolate and beat until just combined.  Add confectioners sugar, salt and vanilla extract.  Beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  If frosting is not "stiff" enough to pipe or frost with, add more confectioners sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency is met.  However, the same result can be met by refrigerating frosting for a short time.  Scoop into a piping bag and frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Garnish.  Store in the refrigerator until 30 minutes prior to serving. 

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