TGIF. Because today we’re drinking mimosas and eating them too.
Bakers, let’s brunch.
Boozy cupcakes are recently new to me. I made margarita cupcakes for several of you at a cooking demo earlier this year and since then, I’ve been intrigued to turn all my favorite cocktails into cupcakes. Cocktails and cupcakes. Think about those two for a second. Does it get any better than that pairing? Throw weekend brunch in there and the answer is no, it does not get any better.
I made these earlier in the week– a few times actually to test them out– and dubbed this final version the best of the bunch. I mean, brunch. 😉 I’m really happy with how these mimosa cupcakes turned out and saved them for Friday to share with you.
Because weekends are made for champagne in your cupcakes. Ok?
Before we cheers, some nerdy things:
The base of this recipe comes from my very vanilla cupcakes, though with several noticeable changes. You’ll cream the butter and sugar this time, producing an all-around cakier cupcake. Cake flour instead of all-purpose helps to create the softest cupcakes you’ll ever taste, while egg whites give the cupcakes their structure. Sour cream, rather than Greek yogurt, lightens the cake crumb. Though plain Greek yogurt could be used in its place, I find the sour cream version to be much less dense. If you enjoy the texture of cake mix cupcakes, you’ll love these!
We’re going to use Sunkist Valencia oranges to help flavor the cupcakes. Valencia’s are the juiciest oranges around, whose peak season is in the summertime. They have thin skin, a few seeds, and a massively sweet interior. They’re perfect for making fresh squeezed orange juice or, in our case, fresh-squeezed mimosa cupcakes.
You’ll need both the zest and juice of a Valencia orange for the cupcake batter, as well as 1/2 cup of champagne. Any champagne or sparkling white wine will do the job– if you like it in a champagne glass, you’ll like it in the cupcakes. The combination of champagne and orange will transport you immediately to the weekend brunch table with a big group of great friends and even more pitchers of mimosas. All is well at that beloved brunch table, but it gets even better when you pack it all into a cupcake.
This week was actually my first experience baking with champagne. Do people bake with champagne on a regular basis? Is that a thing? I don’t even know. But what I do know is this: these are hands-down one of the fluffiest cupcakes I’ve ever made and we can owe a majority of that to the bubbly champagne. It lightened and lifted up the cupcake batter, so each bite was springy, light, and oh-so-soft.
While the champagne taste is faint, these mimosa cupcakes definitely taste “sparkly” if that makes any sense. You know something is there– definitely citrusy and bright, tart and sweet. The frosting, however, that’s most definitely spiked with bubbly flavor. And here’s how: you’ll reduce champagne on the stovetop. Reducing it down packs an intense amount of flavor into a smaller amount of champagne. We can’t overload our frosting with liquid. Rather, we will add a small amount of extreme flavor. I learned this trick from Wicked Good Kitchen. Who has the most incredible frosting recipes on her site!
Reduce the champagne down as the cupcakes cool, then you can place it in the refrigerator to fully cool. You want to make sure the reduced champs is cool or room temperature– NOT hot. It will melt the butter in your frosting! Creating… the worst frosting experience your bowl (and eyes) will ever see.
Decorate the cupcakes however you’d like. I simply swiped frosting on with an icing knife, then topped with the necessary Valencia orange slice and a shower of gold sprinkles. Because it’s a sparkling fresh-squeezed mimosa!
SHOP THE RECIPE
Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.
Fresh-Squeezed Mimosa Cupcakes
- 1 and 3/4 cups (200g) cake flour
- 1/2 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
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons orange zest
- 1/3 cup (80g) full-fat sour cream1
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) juice from a Sunkist Valencia orange2
- 1/2 cup (120ml) champagne (use your favorite)
- 3/4 cup (180ml) champagne (use your favorite)
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cups (480ml) confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- optional garnish: orange slices and gold sprinkles (I used these sprinkles!)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 3 liners - this recipe makes about 15 cupcakes. Set aside.
- Make the cupcakes: 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 the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the orange zest and 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 the the orange juice and champagne in 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 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- 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. Garnish with orange slices and gold sprinkles, if desired.
Make ahead tip: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Sour cream will make the fluffiest cupcakes! You can use plain Greek yogurt instead, but the cupcakes typically taste a little denser.
- Use fresh-squeezed juice for the best flavor and cupcake texture, trust me on that one! If you use bottled OJ, reduce to 1 Tablespoon.
Did you make a recipe?
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More orange recipes:
- Kale quinoa salad with blood orange
- Cranberry orange muffins
- Glazed orange poppy seed bars (yum!)
- Orange lemon poppy seed muffins
More cupcake recipes:
- Margarita cupcakes
- Lemon blueberry cupcakes
- Strawberry cupcakes with creamy strawberry buttercream
- White wedding cupcakes
Today I’m working with Sunkist.