Three years ago today Jay and I got hitched at Cloghan Castle in Kilcreest, County Galway, Republic of Ireland! Happiest day of my life thus far.
Apparently the traditional anniversary gift for three years of marriage is leather. Really….leather? I’m not sure what an appropriate leather gift would be. The first things that come to mind when I think of love and leather are somewhat naughty and definitely not items to be discussed here, much less presents we would be happy to receive from our parents. Oh my! Moving right along…So what are we doing to mark our three-year anniversary? Well, I’d love to say I’m writing this post from a luxury spa in Ireland.
Or perhaps from a gorgeous balcony overlooking the beaches of the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
But nope, I’m writing from good ole Virginia. We’ve had a lot of stuff going on just recently and as a consequence, were not able to schedule a fabulous vacation to coincide with our anniversary date. But I’m happy to say my wonderful husband has promised to whisk me off on several romantic getaways later this year, a couple of visits to a cozy mountain cabin in West Virginia, a jaunt in Nashville and back to Ireland and possibly even Wales. Yippee! I am so ready! But besides daydreaming about all of our future travel today, I decided to make us some Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Swiss Buttercream Frosting.
As those of you who know us are aware, Jay and I love Champagne, especially Veuve Clicquot. I’m telling you, that widow knows what she is doing on the champagne making front! I can assure you that we certainly will be drinking a bottle (or two….who knows once you get going…) to celebrate today.
And cupcakes go along brilliantly with champagne. I think so anyway. But then again, I LOVE cupcakes, so I think they go along brilliantly with everything. Or devoured all on their lonesome. We actually had a tower of cupcakes as our wedding cake.
They were adorable. Sunflowers, ladybugs and bees. And they not only looked cute, were really yummy.So with that fond memory firmly in place, I got to baking!
I had to cobble this recipe together somewhat. I took the cake part of these cupcakes from one source and the frosting part from another. Recently Jay and I discovered that we really like the Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting, much more than the regular simple buttercream.
The results? I must say, these Champagne Frosted Champagne Cupcakes rock! So festive, they are just perfect for our celebration today. The cake was very moist and the frosting sweet, but not tooth-achingly sweet. I did sprinkle a bit of vanilla sugar ever so lightly over the tops of these little gems. They were completely scrumptious!
And on that note, I’ve gotta get going. The Veuve is a calling! Cheers!
Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Swiss Buttercream Frosting
yield: 17 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup champagne
For the Frosting:
- 5 oz. egg whites
- 5 oz. sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- the scrapings from 1 vanilla bean
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 2″ chunks, room temperature
- Champagne to taste- I used 3 Tablespoons
For the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble). Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Batter will be thick.
Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter.
Bake for 17-22 minutes.
For the Frosting:
Combine the egg whites, sugar salt and vanilla bean together in a clean bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of water and turn the heat on medium-low.
Whisk frequently to prevent an egg white omelet forming on the sides, but continual mixing isn’t necessary. Aim to get the mixture to at least 145°F for food safety reasons, but reaching 150°F would make for a nice margin of error. If your egg whites are at room temperature, this won’t take very long, maybe just a few minutes.
When the mixture is sufficiently hot, remove from the heat and whip on medium-high speed until the mixture has doubled in volume and turned snowy white. Continue whipping until the meringue is cool. Use your hands to feel the bowl itself, rather than simply testing the temperature of the meringue. You want it to feel perfectly cool to the touch with no trace of warmth.
Change to the paddle attachment and turn the mixer down to medium-low and begin adding the butter, one chunk at a time. If you didn’t let your meringue cool enough, this is when you’ll really regret it. By the time you’ve added all the butter, you may need to scrape down the bowl to fully incorporate any butter or meringue that’s stuck to the sides.
Finally add your champagne. Just keep adding 1/4 teaspoon at a time until it suits your tastes.
The buttercream freezes beautifully. I had about 1 cup’s worth left over.