My office recently decided to have a “Cupcake Throw Down”. Cupcakes were judged on four categories: taste, texture, creativity, and appearance. Inspired by Valentine’s Day, I decided to go with a romance theme: Strawberries and Champagne Cupcakes.
I’ve made strawberry cupcakes in the past using a box mix, but I wanted to step it up a bit and incorporate fresh strawberries. I pureed fresh strawberries with a Brut champagne and a bit of lemon juice. I cooked the puree on the stove to reduce it and really bring out the strawberry flavor. In the recipe I substituted the reduced strawberry puree for the water. I also added a few drops of food coloring to color the batter pink.
While the cupcakes were baking, I started on the champagne frosting. I used a buttercream frosting recipe but instead of using milk I used the Brut champagne and champagne extract as my liquid. I found the champagne extract on Amazon. It’s a great substitute if you want the flavor without using the alcohol. The combination worked out very well. The frosting had a nice sweetness followed by a subtle tartness.
Once the cupcakes cooled, I frosted them and garnished with gold dust to make the frosting shimmer for a champagne effect. A few of them I decided to garnish with dark chocolate curls because why not? I was going to use semi-sweet chocolate squares but they were too large.
Even though I didn’t win the competition (there were some really good entries), my co-workers did like the flavor combination and texture. So I will consider that a win in my book!