It seems crazy to think that 2011 is practically over, and will become nothing but a mere memory in just a couple of hours. But it'll definitely be a lovely collection of memories that will be worth looking back on! I took a great day trip to Philadelphia, had an awesome internship with the NYC Department of Buildings during the summer, got in shape (well...that needs to be worked on again in 2012, more to come on that soon!), had one crazy and really hectic semester at Columbia (but then again, I wouldn't have had it any other way), and got to eat at several really fantastic locations in New York City (Levain Bakery being my favorite for sweets, and Acqua at Peck Slip, a really amazing Italian restaurant, being my favorite spot for dinner, both of which you guys should check out if you have a chance!). Oh, and one more thing. I started this little blog called Ambrosia. You know of it, right?
Starting this blog has been such a great outlet for me, insofar as giving me a place to write and a place to work on my hobbies, both new and old! Cooking and baking have always been some of my greatest sources of entertainment, and for a long time, I've looked at photography as something that I knew I always wanted to learn, but was never really sure how to get started in it. Learning the nuances that come with food photography has been such a fun way of challenging myself, and I really love it. Looking back on my first post, Shortbread Hearts with Raspberry Jam, and my latest, I definitely think I learned a thing or two! I obviously still have a ways to go to really capture that perfect shot that I see in my head, but it's a challenge that I'm looking forward to!
I'm getting sidetracked. Now that I've mentioned it, let's focus on this post itself: Champagne Cupcakes, aka, the perfect dessert to create for New Year's! I've always loved champagne cupcakes, because they have such a light and airy texture with a champagne flavor that is never overwhelming, but definitely makes its presence known. Not to mention that a cupcake baked with champagne immediately becomes perfect for any festive occasion, with New Year's being at the top of the list. And the fact that they're really easy to prepare only makes them even better. The original recipe uses sour cream instead of Greek yogurt, but I just used what I had on hand, and the cupcakes still came out delicious. The fact that they're not too sweet is obviously my favorite part! Feel free to use any champagne or sparkling wine that you like; if you don't drink alcohol, I would think that a sparkling apple cider would also work well in this recipe!
Happy New Year everyone! Thanks to everyone for reading, following, and for just stopping by to look. I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and look forward to the surprises and new memories that will come with 2012. It'll be an exciting new journey!
adapted slightly from Sprinkle Bakes
For the Cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup champagne/sparkling wine
For the Frosting
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon champagne/sparkling wine
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
To make the cupcakes, begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F, and line 16 cupcake wells with paper liners. Cream together the unsalted butter and granulated sugar together in the bowl of a standard electric mixer, beating together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition, and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the vanilla extract and beat in well.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine together the Greek yogurt and champagne, and whisk well (the mixture may fizz initially). Alternately add the flour mixture and champagne mixture to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (I did 3 and 2 additions). Mix only until just incorporated, taking care not to overmix.
Divide the cupcake batter evenly among the prepared cupcake tins (the batter will be thick!) using a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Tap the cupcake tins against your counter or other hard surface to get rid of air bubbles. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly in the tins, and then remove to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
While the cupcakes are baking, begin to prepare the frosting. In a small saucepan, bring to a simmer 1 cup of champagne over medium-high heat. Simmer the champagne until it has reduced to 2 tablespoons (this took me between 20-25 minutes). Allow this to cool completely. In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, combine the butter and powdered sugar, and beat together until completely light and fluffy. Add in the cooled 2 tablespoons of the reduced champagne, and the remaining 1 tablespoon champagne (straight from the bottle), and mix in completely.