Archive | December, 2012

2012 – The Year of the Cupcake

30 Dec

In the future, when I look back at 2012, I’ll remember it as my personal year of the cupcake. Because Milette and I dominated Cupcake Wars, Cupcake Wars in turn dominated several months of my life, and many of the conversations I had after our win. It was truly an awesome experience and I am unbelievably grateful to all of the people who cheered us on. You make a girl feel really loved!

Tomorrow night I’m ringing in the new year with some great friends. Really great friends. The kind of friends who come to your Cupcake Wars viewing party in a bar on a stormy night, and when the satellite television at the bar craps out, don’t hesitate to invite the whole lot of the party (half of whom they’ve never met) over to their place to catch the second half of the show. Great friends, indeed!

Since we’re busting into 2013 in the same place where we watched Cupcake Wars thanks to their generosity, what could be more appropriate than the champagne cupcakes from the competition?  Mexicans and Spaniards eat grapes for good luck in the new year, so the cupcakes are filled with a homemade grape and champagne compote. To gussy them to New Year’s Eve standards, I topped each one with a rosette of the winning champagne frosting, added a few sugar-crusted grapes and hit them with just a bit of gold pearl dust. If there is such a thing as a shabby-chic cupcake, this is it!

These are perfect celebration cupcakes. Make them for New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day, or bookmark this and come back to it for all of your 2013 celebrations – let’s hope that there are many!

Champagne Cupcakes

3 cups sifted cake flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup champagne or sparkling wine
1/4 cup whole milk
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with baking cups.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder; stir in salt and set aside. In another bowl, combine wine and milk. Mixture may curdle, but that that is okay.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl after each. Alternately add the flour mixture and the wine mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Fill baking cups 2/3 full. Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan; remove to a cooling rack to cool completely before filling.

Champagne Buttercream

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 – 2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
Pinch kosher salt
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup champagne or sparkling wine
3-4 drops champagne flavoring (optional)

In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of kosher salt, and beat on low speed until nearly incorporated. With the mixer still running, slowly stream in half of the evaporated milk. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Repeat, alternating confectioners’ sugar with sparkling wine and remaining evaporated milk. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. Add champagne flavoring and beat until well combined.

Yield: 24 cupcakes

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Easy Holiday Cupcake Ideas

19 Dec

Last Saturday was National Cupcake Day, and I spent a few minutes at NBC showing some fun and easy cupcake decorating tricks. There are a few holiday ideas, including a two-tiered Christmas tree cupcake topped with a sparkling star cookie and some gorgeous poinsettia cupcakes that you’ll never believe were made with store-bought red gumdrops. Happy baking and happy holidays!

National Cupcake Day on NBC

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