Friends, I come to you today with flour in my hair and joy in my heart. Guess which unemployed-yet-hopeful cupcake enthusiast just found out she passed the Iowa bar exam?
It was me! MEEEEEEEEEEE! (That is not my usual attire, FYI–I had some bizzzness to take care of this week.)
I got the joyous news this morning, and it was not long before I had a batch of celebratory cupcakes and a nearly depleted bottle of bargain “champagne”. (Don’t worry–some of it went into the cake batter, and I did not operate any heavy machinery, just the stand mixer.) I made up a new cocktail recipe: one part Andre Spumante, two parts Pom juice. I call it the “Paula Franzese”, after a particularly effervescent professor from the bar exam review course. Cheers, Paula. You will always have an easement in my heart.
For the cupcakes, I used a champagne layer cake recipe from a cookbook, piped on a bit of fluffy frosting, and decorated each one with a strawberry slice. Then I took them to my dad’s office, where I did most of my studying for the exam, because they were all such lovely and encouraging hosts during that time and never once commented on how I probably looked sort of like death warmed over.
As if this weren’t enough excitement for one day, you Des Moines residents can check out Juice magazine, available on metro-area newsstands tomorrow, for a page about me and the blog, and a picture of me looking very cheerful (with cupcakes, whaddya know). If you live elsewhere, you can check it out online. To all of you new visitors….thanks for stopping by! Are any of you hiring lawyers? (Never hurts to ask.)
The recipe for the champagne cake is below. It tastes very classy. This is not health food, clearly, but it is light and fluffy due to the egg whites, and I didn’t feel the need to switch to stretchy pants after I tried one. When buying the bubbly, feel free to go up a step from the Andre–I just happen to love the “sophisticated flavor profile” and the $4.79 price tag.
Champagne Cupcakes (adapted from the Champagne Layer Cake in “The Boozy Baker” by Lucy Baker <——–This book is so much fun, by the way. Nothing but dessert and cocktail recipes. Highly recommended.)
Makes about 18 cupcakes
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 c. sugar
- 2/3 c. champagne
- 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. cake flour (This is lighter than regular flour–good for recipes with beaten egg whites–and should be available at most grocery stores.)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 large egg whites
For the frosting:
- 6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 2 c. confectioners sugar
- 2 tbsp champagne
Preheat the oven to 350, and fill two cupcake pans with paper or foil liners. Mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl, until fluffy and well-combined. In a smaller bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and the champagne to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating between the two, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer in another large bowl, until they form stiff peaks. Stir a small portion of the beaten egg whites into the champagne batter to loosen it up a bit, and then fold the rest in carefully (you want to combine everything while deflating the egg whites as little as possible). Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them just slightly over half full. Then bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
While the cupcakes cool, combine the frosting ingredients with an electric mixer–slowly at first, to avoid being covered in confectioners sugar. Then raise the speed on the mixer to incorporate air into the frosting, so it becomes light and fluffy. Wait until the cupcakes are completely cooled. Frost them with a butter knife or small spatula, or, if you want to be fancy (and who doesn’t?), put the frosting into a zip-top plastic bag, snip off a corner of the bag with scissors, and pipe the frosting onto each cupcake. Garnish with something colorful–I used strawberries.