2016 is in two days… is that actually right?
Yep, that’s right. Holy cow. That means it’s a fresh new year of me signing checks with the wrong date for about six months. That also means we’ll be on the other side of the halfway hump for the decade, which means we’re that much closer to 2020 which feels way too futuristic for me to process right now. It probably doesn’t help that I’m watching Back to the Future as I write this, so I’m sort of in a time traveling mindset. But still! 2016. Crazytown.
In that case, I guess I should start making my New Year’s Eve plans… which I already know will consist of sitting on my couch in my pajamas, because going out to a lively, crowded bar that’s brimming with excitement for a fresh start just isn’t in the cards this year. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t still indulge a little – and this year, it’s going to be with these beautiful, delicious, fluffy, festive, celebratory Champagne Cupcakes.
Champagne in the batter. Champagne in the creamy chocolate ganache. Champagne in the mascarpone buttercream frosting. Champagne, champagne, champagne.
They’re fluffy, and that’s exactly what I wanted. Super fluffy, light cupcakes. I didn’t want them to be dense, because champagne isn’t dense. It’s bubbly and bright! I topped half of them with a simple chocolate ganache with an added zing of champagne, and then piled a tower of mascarpone buttercream frosting that also includes – surprise, surprise – champagne! I went with mascarpone cheese for the frosting instead of cream cheese because, again, I wanted these to be light and fluffy. The frosting is fluffy, the ganache is fluffy, the cupcakes are fluffy – it’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!
Why did I add chocolate to only half, you ask? Purely for investigative purposes. I wanted to check out the balance of chocolate with white cake and buttercream versus no chocolate, and I determined they’re delicious either way. After you take a bite, you’ll get a subtle zing of champagne – and that’s pretty much the best aftertaste I can ask for in a cupcake.
Since they’re so light in texture, these cupcakes won’t weigh you down during your New Year’s Eve festivities, so you’ll be free to sample all the other tasty treats at the party without needing to loosen your (undoubtedly stylish) belt.
What are you doing to ring in the new year? Pop the champagne and then tag #stressbaking on Instagram and follow me so I can live vicariously through your festivities! ???? ????
- 1½ cups white cake mix (store-bought or homemade)
- 2 egg whites
- ⅓ cup coconut milk
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons champagne
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- ¼ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon champagne
- ⅓ cup butter, softened
- ⅓ cup mascarpone cheese
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons champagne
- Gold sprinkles, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with 12 liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, egg whites, coconut milk, melted butter and champagne. Mix on medium speed until well combined. At this point, taste the batter - if you don't feel like the coconut flavor is too strong for you, you're done! If it's too much for you, add vanilla extract.
- Fill each cupcake liner ⅔-3/4 full and bake for 13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool in pan for a minute. Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool completely.
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat heavy cream for 30 seconds - you want it to be hot, but not boiling.
- Add chopped chocolate and let sit for a few minutes to soften the chocolate.
- Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
- Add champagne and stir to combine completely. Place in fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove from fridge and whip on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Once cupcakes are completely cooled, spread or pipe ganache on top of each cupcake.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and mascarpone cheese until combined and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and whip on medium-high speed, tasting as you go until it's as sweet as you'd like. Add champagne and whip again to combine.
- Pipe on top of the ganache on each cupcake and top with gold sprinkles. Enjoy!