Wedding Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting
Today is our 3rd anniversary ♥ September 20th 2014 seems like a lifetime ago as we get lost in the hustle bustle of everyday life.
I remember everyone telling us how quickly the wedding day flies by. Stop, take a moment for just the two of you, breathe it all in, and capture the feeling right there… right then. While the rest of the crowd enjoyed happy hour, we snuck away from the flurry of excitement and activity. We sat down, relaxed, sipped some wine, I fixed my hair, we took a selfie. And today, that silly picture is one of my favorites from our wedding day. We’re smiling, alone, treasuring that one private moment during the biggest day of our lives as we knew it. Just us 2.
And today, 3 years later, we’re ready to hit pause all over again as we await the arrival of our daughter. Smiling, alone, waiting to treasure that one private moment during the biggest day of our lives as we know it. Just us 3.
The Fall wedding season is upon us! And, with that, comes plenty of dessert.
I know many of you prefer to make your own treats for wedding celebrations and wedding showers. And I sincerely applaud you. This is no easy task as dozens (or, more likely, hundreds!) of people depend on you to satisfy their sweet tooth. This isn’t just any old party; it’s a wedding. The pressure is on. Taste must be paramount, texture must be impeccable, and presentation must be spot-on.
When it comes to DIY wedding desserts, perfection is key. And here’s where I can help. I took my most popular vanilla cupcake recipe and added champagne. Because… CHEERS! It’s a wedding!
If you were to define “fancy schmancy celebration” with a dessert, these homemade wedding cupcakes with champagne frosting would be it.
The vanilla cupcake batter comes together in minutes. You’ll need a box of cake flour and if you’re making a few batches, great– because then you can use up the whole box! Cake flour helps to produce the softest, lightest cakes and cupcakes you’ll ever eat. Don’t use all-purpose flour here. Another non-negotiable: the egg whites. They will also help achieve a light ‘n’ fluffy texture. Since we are losing a little fat from the missing egg yolks, we can add that back in with sour cream.
I mentioned this in the original vanilla cupcake recipe, but it’s worth repeating: sour cream is a power ingredient in this recipe. Like the egg whites and cake flour, it lightens up the crumb. Greek yogurt could be used in its place, but I find that cupcakes made with sour cream are less dense. Light and fluffy is the goal and sour cream is how we’ll reach it.
Instead of milk in the cupcake batter, we’re using champagne. The cupcakes don’t exactly taste like champagne, but they definitely have a “sparkly” texture if that makes any sense? Like my mimosa cupcakes! (← another option for DIY wedding cupcakes)
The cupcake batter isn’t the only place you’ll find a little bubbly. The cupcakes are topped with champagne frosting. Let’s toast to that!
Champagne Frosting? How Does This Work?
The frosting begins with a vanilla buttercream base. Super straightforward: butter + confectioners’ sugar. To that, we’ll add champagne and vanilla extract. But we need to reduce down the champagne on the stove before adding it. Why? Reducing the champagne packs an intense amount of flavor into a smaller amount of champagne. We can’t overload our frosting with liquid; that would ruin it. Rather, we will add a small amount of *extreme* champagne flavor. I learned this trick from Wicked Good Kitchen. 🙂
See that photo above? Left = champagne. Right = reduced and highly concentrated champagne. Look at the crazy color difference! So much flavor without ruining the texture of our creamy buttercream frosting.
What type of champagne to use? Your favorite.
After you reduce the champagne, make sure it cools to room temperature. Why? Because it will melt the butter in your frosting! Whenever I make champagne frosting, I reduce down the champagne once the cupcakes come out of the oven. That way the champagne can cool down as the cupcakes themselves cool down.
Pipe a rose on top and your wedding dessert is ready for a celebration. ♥ ♥
These cupcakes taste a lot like my white wedding cupcakes, but they’re much softer. Keep that in mind if you’re torn between which two to make. Also… today’s cupcakes include champagne. So there’s that.
Tips for baking multiple batches and making ahead of time in the recipe below!
Amazon cookbook update: Real quick! Thank you so much for pre-ordering Sally’s Cookie Addiction. Due to high demand, Amazon is a little delayed shipping them out. My publisher spoke with Amazon directly and regardless of what shipping estimate you received said, Amazon will be stocked this weekend and you will have your book next week!
Wedding Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting
- 1 and 3/4 cups (200g) cake flour*
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream at room temperature*
- 1/2 cup (120ml) your favorite champagne*
- 3/4 cup (180ml) your favorite champagne
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cups (480ml) confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- optional: gold glitter sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners - this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the champagne until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners - fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. (I start the next step as the cupcakes cool so the champagne can cool when the cupcakes do.)
- Make the frosting: In a small saucepan, bring the champagne to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to medium heat and allow to simmer until reduced down to 1/4 cup, about 7-10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. You want it room temperature or cold.
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time, beating on low at first then increasing to high speed. Once incorporated, add the next cup. Once creamy and combined, beat in 3 Tablespoons of the reduced champagne and the vanilla extract. Taste. Add the remaining reduced champagne if needed-- and a pinch of salt if you'd like.
- Frost cooled cupcakes. I used a Wilton 1M piping tip and piped a rose on these pictured cupcakes. Top with sprinkles. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Make ahead tip/multiple batches: Cupcakes can be made ahead 2 days in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 2 days in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. The easiest way to make these cupcakes ahead of time is to prepare and freeze. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. Instead of doubling or tripling, I recommend making a few separate batches as working with too much batter risks over or under-mixing.
*Why is everything at room temperature? That's so important!
*If you cannot get your hands on cake flour, you can make a DIY version from all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 Tablespoons. Mix in 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. This equals 1 cup of cake flour. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
*Full fat sour cream is strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead, though the cupcakes may not be as light.
*1/2 cup whole milk may be used in the cupcake batter instead of champagne.
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And PS: Our sprinkle (!!!) wedding cake was from Bredenbeck’s bakery.
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