Something you should probably know about me, is that when I am already ridiculously busy I have an insane tendency to take on wild, creative projects that have little to no chance of succsessful completion - or if I do complete them, it will be with less than 3 hours of sleep. I have to get up at 6 and I've already stayed up writing a paper until 12? What an excellent time to make lemon curd! Or, I have three presentations due tomorrow? I should definitely scrub the shower and bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
I'm getting married in 48 hours and have a zillion things to do before then? Why not make a cake recipe I've never tried before that involves several components including pastry cream, bake it using a method that may or may not make my oven explode and then give it to all my friends as a gift? BRILLIANT.
One thing that made wedding planning a joy rather than something resembling a horror film was having awesome bridesmaids: my sister, my cousin, and three of my closest friends make the Dream Team Bridal Party. I know it's tradition to give gifts to all of your bridesmaids - but with Ben and I just getting out of two income-free years (aka grad school), we're feeling a bit of financial strain. I don't want to give my friends something totally lame, nor am I able to spend a lot of money, so I decided to do what any logical, time-constrained person would do: I decided to make things.
There are a number of homemade-gift pitfalls I was keen to avoid (see: dried-flower-wreaths, really-terrible-art etc.) so, I decided to focus on my strengths - what am I good at? Like, what can I actually make? I am terrible at drawing, even worse at sculpting, can't sew anything that isn't composed entirely of straight lines (i.e. curtains and pillowcases, and even these things are hit-and-miss) ... BUT - I am good at baking! And I love music! That should be enough to work with right?
And indeed it was. I am inordinately proud of these cupcakes - they are like a magical taste explosion of deliciousness. Trust me. And the cake-in-a-jar method worked brilliantly - portable cake, who could ask for anything more?
RECIPE: CHAMPAGNE CUPCAKES WITH CHAMPAGNE-VANILLA PASTRY CREAM AND ROSEWATER ICING
whoo...that is a mouthful (literally!)
For the Cupcakes:
- 1/2 c butter, softened
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 t vanilla
- 1-3/4 c flour
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/4 t baking powder
- 1/2 c sour cream
- 1/2 c champagne, prosecco or other sparking white wine (I recommend going with something on the sweeter side)
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In another separate bowl, mix sour cream and champagne together (1/2 cup each). Add the flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Batter will be thick.
Pour by 1/3 cups into small mason jars - bake for about 20 minutes at 350 but be careful not to overbake! As soon as the top springs back when you touch it - then you'll know they're done :)
For the Pastry Cream:
- 1/2 c heavy cream, divided
- 1/2 c champagne or prosecco
- 2 T cornstarch
- 5 T granulated sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 1 t vanilla (or slightly more, if you like vanilla as much as I do... :) )
In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstartch and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and 1/2 cup champagne in a saucepan and bring to a boil - then remove from heat.
Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture. Pour 1/3 of the boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook. Return the remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and beat in butter and vanilla.
Cut a well into the top of each cake (go about 2/3-3/4 of the way into the cake, and leave at least 1cm on each side on the top) and fill the well with pastry cream. Slice off the very top of the cut-out-piece and place it back over the top of the pastry cream.
For the Icing
- approx. 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 c unsalted butter
- pinch salt
- 1.5 - 2 tsp rose water
- 2-4 T milk or heavy cream
- very small ammt of red food coloring
cream butter, sugar, a tiny bit of milk and salt together using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Use just enough milk until it comes together. Add 1 t of rosewater and mix together. Taste it, and add more rosewater as desired to reach the flavor and consistency you're looking for. If it's still too think and you don't want any more rose flavor, add milk instead until it thins out a bit.
I got 8 cake-in-a-jars out of this recipe, and the frosting was the perfect amount...it frosted all of them and I barely had any left over.
The champagne cupcakes and pastry cream are from Sprinkle Bakes - the frosting is my own creation - enjoy!