I do not profess to be a baker. Baking is science and while I dig science, I'm more of a mad scientist. This year I decided to make Champagne Cupcakes for the Oscars which was risky for sure. The recipes I found online were all 100% from scratch so I started to think how I could reconceptualize this idea. What is light like champagne? Angel Food! Do they make it in mix form? Yes! What else do you mix in? Water. Perfect! Champagne is my usual substitution for water anyway!
Instead of full sized cupcakes, I decided to make minis which had I used the entire box would have made about 70 - too many for the Oscars. Instead I made half the box and therefore used 1/2 the water/champagne. For the frosting, I found a great recipe for a Champagne Buttercream on The Curvy Carrot however I tried to make from memory (and with butter that wasn't quite room temperature) so my frosting didn't look quite right but it tasted GREAT. This is my common problem in baking - taste 10, looks 5. Plus I threw in some additional champagne so that might have also been part of the problem. Enough of the prologue, let's get to the recipe!
Champagne Cupcakes (Makes approximately 70 mini cupcakes if you use the entire box)
1 box Angel Food cake mix
1 1/4 cup champagne (or other sparkling wine)
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line your muffin pan with liners. Angel food cake is a little sticky so I would not recommend using silicone baking cups without liners.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture for 30 seconds at a low speed to moisten and then 1 minute at medium. DO NOT OVERBEAT. This will make it too airy.
3. Add batter to liners, filling about 3/4 full. DO NOT OVERFILL. They will be misshapen and stick to the pan. Bang the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles. Very important or you will have giant holes in your cupcakes.
4. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes. Each oven is different so I suggest checking them at 10 minutes and determining how much longer by the look. When done, they will be golden brown and the cracks will be dry.
5. Cool on a wire rack.
3 & 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature (I used a bit more for flavor)
1. With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.
2. Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute.
3. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes using your favorite pastry tip or just by filling a plastic bag and cutting of the corner to create your own pastry bag.
Before you look at the final product, remember that I did NOT follow these directions as I should have. Learn from my mistakes and have prettier cupcakes!
Angel Food Cupcakes with Blueberries
For the second Angel Food cupcake preparation, it is more in the presentation than changing the recipe. Angel Food and berries are a natural and classic combo however I wanted to serve them together without a frosting. Transporting frosted cupcakes is always a challenge so I came up with this simple yet attractive way as an alternative.
Angel Food mini cupcakes
Blueberries (or any other fruit you prefer)
1. Using a sifter or mesh strainer, dust the cupcakes with powdered sugar.
2. Thread three blueberries on to each toothpick and then place the free end of the toothpick into the cupcake.
I love this idea for summer as you can use whatever fruit is in season. For 4th of July you can alternate blueberries and strawberries or raspberries. It is perfect for picnics as you can assemble on site and they are temperature stable. Plus they are actually a pretty healthy dessert - Angel Food cake is fat free!