June 14, 2018

bubbly birthday cupcakes

In my office, it's a tradition to bring treats to work on your birthday. (Actually, sometimes it feels like more of a mandate. I'd say I was kidding, but people are pretty serious about their treats here!) I've picked up donuts or bagels some years, but the past couple of years I have attempted to make new-to-me recipes. It's a good excuse for me to bake. I love baking, and I don't do it as often as I would like. (It's an attempt at self control considering that I live alone and have a hard time stopping at just one piece.) So the birthday treat mandate . . . err, tradition is the perfect excuse.

With a summer birthday, I've often favored lighter flavors cakes, such as angel food or lemon. I was researching potential lemon creations when I stumbled upon one for a champagne cupcake. As a super classy lady with a fridge still overflowing with champagne weeks after the Royal Wedding, you'd better believe I had a new game plan. And with the Royal Wedding in mind, I wondered if there might be a way to work some of my leftover elderflower cordial into it as well.

The Internet saves the day, again. I found a recipe on Wood and Spoon and with some modifications, I had my birthday treats ready to go.

Oh. My. Goodness these were delicious. With a light texture and subtle floral flavor, these were everything I dreamed. Well, almost everything. The frosting didn't turn out the way I imagined from a decorating standpoint. I may have to accept that while I'm getting the hang at baking yummy-tasting treats, I'm never going to score high marks for showmanship.

Here's my modified recipe in case you find yourself equally swimming in champagne and elderflower--or if you're just in the mood to feel a little fancy this summer. Enjoy!

Champagne Elderflower Cupcakes

Servings: 24

Cupcake Ingredients

  2 1/3 self-rising cake flour*
  6 tablespoons corn starch*
  1 teaspoon salt
  4 eggs (room temperature)
  1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  2 teaspoons vanilla
  1 cup unsalted butter (melted)
  1 cup champagne
  2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
  1 teaspoon lemon zest

(* This was a substitute for 3 cups of cake flour, which I can't ever find in the stores. Basically, place two tablespoons of corn starch into a 1-cup measuring cup and fill the rest of the way with your self-rising flour and repeat twice. To get the right texture, sift the mixture three or four times. If you don't have self-rising flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder plus 1/2 teaspoon salter for each cup of all-purpose flour.)

Frosting Ingredients

  1 pint heavy whipping cream
  1/4 cup powdered sugar
  2 tablespoons corn starch
  2 teaspoons lemon zest
  3 teaspoons elderflower cordial
  Sprinkles to top (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin tins. In a medium-sized bowl, sift flour, corn starch and salt together. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, butter, champagne and cordial. Once well combined, but not over-mixed, slowly stir in the dry ingredients until you have a light, fluffy batter. Add the lemon zest and evenly distribute your batter into the tins. Placed in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. (Tip from Wood and Spoon and now me: Consider rotating your pans halfway through the process to ensure even baking.)

Meanwhile, pour heavy whipping cream into a medium-sized bowl. Mix on high until the cream begins to form peaks. Stir in the remaining ingredients minus the sprinkles. Mix on high until you reach the desired consistency. Place the frosting in the fridge until you are ready.

Once the cupcakes are baked golden and so a toothpick comes out clean, remove from the oven. Allow to cool outside of the muffin tins before frosting. Decorate with spatula or piping bag and decorate with sprinkles if desired.

After that . . . Enjoy!

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