Today, I am bringing you guys a celebration! Well, I’m bringing you celebration cupcakes anyway. Plus they can easily be made gluten free (which is how I made them) so what’s not to celebrate about that?
I made these cupcakes to celebrate Guy Fawke’s Day, which is a holiday in New Zealand that comes from Great Britain where we celebrate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot and apprehending the lead criminal (Guy Fawkes) behind it with fireworks! I know it’s kind of a weird celebration, but New Zealand is pretty weird and we follow Britain for most of our holidays and celebrations, so we get to have fireworks on November 5th every year! My family doesn’t really buy fireworks anymore, we tend to just go and watch the big display on the waterfront but I still really love sparklers. I don’t know what it is, but they’re just so much fun! I think it’s partly because anyone can use them and also because you can make cool shapes and you can photograph them too. I’ve never taken photos of sparklers before though but I had some great fun with friends this year making lots of shapes and taking pictures!
Like this heart, cool huh? Did you know that if you want to take pictures of people writing words though, they have to write them back to front? Because otherwise it will be backwards on the camera? I guess it’s pretty commonsense really but I totally didn’t think of it until we were taking pictures and they were all coming out backwards!
So anyway, back to the cupcakes… I forgot until just before I was going to start baking that I was making these for a friend who has recently found out that she has Coeliac disease so they had to be gluten free or she couldn’t eat them. Which would be pretty mean considering we were going to her house… Luckily I could still go with the recipe that I was originally planning on, because in New Zealand Edmonds have released a gluten-free flour which is supposed to work just like a regular flour. Every time I’ve tried it, it totally does, so even though it’s more expensive than regular flour it’s totally worth it if you’re making something for someone who is gluten-free because it’s so easy to use. You can make these either with a regular flour or with a all-purpose gluten-free flour, I’ve heard this Bob’s Red Mill brand is good in the USA, so that’s another option.
So why should you make these cupcakes? Just because they can be made gluten-free? Well that is definitely appealing for some people, but gluten or not these cupcakes are just to-die-for amazing. Like totally. They pack a good punch of chocolate flavour, but are still amazingly light and fluffy and they don’t dry out, you can even make them a few days in advance. Cool right? They are the perfect vessel for any sort of frosting, but in particular…
Champagne frosting. Need I say more? In this case it’s faux-champagne frosting made with Lindauer Summer, which is my friend Becca’s (you know, the one who just got back from the UK) favourite wine so she was pretty damn stoked to try these! She said she could even taste the Summer flavour through the frosting which made her very happy indeed. You can use whatever sparkling wine you want in these, as long as it does have a relatively strong flavour like Lindauer. If you use something too light, then the flavour won’t come through enough, so make sure it’s something quite full-bodied (not that I know what I’m talking about with wine, I just know which ones I do and don’t like! ;)) to give the frosting that sublime champagne flavour. What’s your favourite wine? Let me know in the comments below, I’m definitely always up for some sparkling wine myself, yum! Happy baking!
- 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup [i]either[/i] plain flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1/2 tspn baking soda
- 3/4 tspn baking powder
- 1/4 tspn salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or canola)
- 2 tspn vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup buttermilk[br]
- [b]Champagne Frosting:[/b]
- 1 cup + 1 Tbspn champagne (or sparkling wine)
- 230g (2 sticks) butter
- 3 1/2 cups icing (powdered) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined, then set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla together until completely smooth.
- Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently whisk until just combined.
- Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and stir until only just combined, do not overmix.
- Pour or spoon the cupcake batter into the liners, I used a regular cookie scoop and filled each liner with one heaping scoop of batter. Fill to 3/4 full.
- Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then turn out the cupcakes to cool completely.
- Once cool, frost each cupcake with the champagne frosting however you like. I use a large star tip, and a swirling motion to get my little clouds of frosting on top.[br]
- Whilst the cupcakes are cooking, place the cup of champagne in a small saucepan.
- Simmer this over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s reduced to the amount of around 3 Tbspn. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
- Once cooled, in the bowl of a stand mixer (or an electric hand beater with a large bowl), beat the butter until light and fluffy, around 3-4 minutes.
- Then add 3 cups of the icing sugar and beat until thick and fluffy, around 5 minutes.
- Add the cooled champagne syrup, plus the extra Tbspn of champagne and extra half cup of icing sugar and beat all of this until well combined. The frosting should be thick and spreadable but not runny.