Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream

Happy New Year’s Eve to everyone! ?I hope everyone spends the evening celebrating the end of another year safely. ?I can feel it….2011 is going to be a big year!

The theme for my year, personally, has been that I have given life my best. ?I accomplished several things during 2010…both professionally and personally. ?In January 2010, I accepted a fellowship position in my dream specialty and will be moving in six months to the East Coast to begin the final phase in my (seemingly never-ending) training. ?I took on extra responsibilities at work, presented at a national conference (which I had always wanted to do), and have made some life-long friends and mentors along the way. ?Personally, in June of 2010, Annie persuaded me to attend the Food and Light Photography Workshop in Boulder-a trip which changed my life, in a way. ?I picked up a camera, figured out how to turn it on, sat among people who are way more talented and creative than I ever hope to be, and decided right then and there in Boulder that I would start a little food blog of my own in July. ?Balancing my professional and personal life (the blog, especially) has been a wonderful challenge and uplifting experience. ?Has anyone seen Eat, Pray, Love? ?Well, this is my “Eat” phase of the journey. ??? ?But, in all seriousness, I can take one retrospective look at the year 2010, and I can say that, “Yes, I have given my best.”

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive: co-workers, friends, family, “internet” friends, and mentors. ?It means the world to me.

To celebrate the end of a year and the beginning of a new one, I decided to make these cupcakes, which I had bookmarked last year…knowing that they would be fantastic for a New Year’s Eve celebration. ?The cake part is light and sweet with subtle hints of champagne (I went for a sweet rosé type), but the buttercream? ?This buttercream is close to the best frosting that I have ever had in my life. ?I’m not kidding. ?I’m picky when it comes to buttercream. ?This would make the most amazing frosting for a wedding cake or cupcakes. ?It’s thick and creamy, sweet with a little hint of champagne, but still light and airy. ?It dances on your tongue. ?(ok, that was cheesy, but you get my point.) ?It’s incredible. ?I followed Ali’s advice and actually doubled the frosting recipe, and I saved the extra for another fun treat that I served (post soon to follow) on Christmas Eve. ?This frosting is way too good to let go to waste. ?So it’s up to you if you want to double the recipe or not.

And, now, for the spun sugar embellishments. ?I have to apologize for my lack of assembly photos. ?I know that they would be extremely helpful, but you have to understand: ?I’m alone in the kitchen, with 250 degree hot caramel, swinging it around, a heavy DSLR camera, bad lighting, and really weak wrists. ?I couldn’t get a great shot of my technique. ?Plus, the thought of hot caramel landing on my camera or hands scared me quite a bit. Now, I have since scored myself a nice tripod (and a macro lens is on the way, thank you to my Amazon gift certificate giver….), so better step-by-step photos are on their way. ?Yes, the spun sugar took a little time to throw together, but it ended up being incredibly fun and got many “oohs” and “ahhs” when I recently served them up to some guests.

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream

Servings: About 20-22 cupcakes


For the cupcakes

2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 and 1/2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup champagne**I used a light pink rosé.

6 egg whites

For the buttercream frosting

3 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

For the spun sugar

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water


1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.

4. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.

5. In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

6. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites.

7. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

9. For the frosting: With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter.

10. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.

11. Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute.

12. ?Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. ?(Again, I used my favorite, 1M Wilton pastry tip.)

13. For the spun sugar: Secure a long-handled wooden spoon under a heavy cutting board on the edge of the counter, with the handle facing out and extending over the edge.

14. Place newspapers on the floor, directly under the cutting board. ?(Believe me, you will need them as this can get messy….)

15. Prepare an ice-water bath.

16. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and the water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

17. Stop stirring.

18. ?Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.

19. Cook until the mixture turns pale amber and registers 300 degrees (hard-crack stage) on the candy thermometer.

20. ?Plunge pan into ice bath to stop the cooking; let cool, stirring occasionally, until caramel registers 250 degrees. ?***Be careful. ?The pan is hot and will steam very strongly when you cool it so rapidly.

21. ?Dip the tines of a fork into the caramel.

22. ?Holding the fork about 2 feet above the spoon handle, swing caramel back and forth like a pendulum in long arcs, allowing strands to fall in threads over the handles. **You will most likely lose a lot to the floor below; hence, the newspapers.

23. ?Let stand until ready to use, then gently gather some of the strands and shaped as desired. ?**I wanted mine to look like fireworks, so I broke them into shorter fragments.

24. ?Garnish the cupcakes with the spun sugar.

Cupcakes and Buttercream Frosting from Gimmesomeoven (originally from and Spun Sugar from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.

December 31, 2010 - 7:25 am

Annie - I am so proud of you, your blog, and all you have accomplished this year. I am also SO glad we went on that trip together. It was transforming for me too and I had a wonderful time.

And don’t worry about being cheesy. At least you didn’t say they were “overflowing with New Year’s cheer” ??

December 31, 2010 - 7:53 am

Tiffany @ Conor & Bella - Champagne cupcakes are for sure on my list to try next year! Yours look great. Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010 - 8:53 am

Lauren at KeepItSweet - You are right, these are fantastic NYE cupcakes! Sounds like 2010 was a really great year for you:-) Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010 - 10:26 am

Eat Good 4 Life - I love these, but then again I love everything you make, I need a taste ??
Well I guess I will have to make these wouldn’t I?
Happy new year from NYC and can’t wait for your next posts

December 31, 2010 - 10:28 am

Stephanie - Oh darn! I wish I had seen this recipe before I made all the treats for this evening as it would be perfect! But I can always make them for something else!! Its a yummy sounding cupcake and your sugarwork is just lovely. p.s. sounds like you’ve had a busy and rewarding year!!

December 31, 2010 - 12:26 pm

Claire - Wow, these look great! I’ve been eyeing the spun sugar in Martha’s cookbook for a while. Congratulations on all of your 2010 accomplishments, and best wishes for the new year!! I find myself very much relating to the “Eat, Pray, Love” metaphor you mentioned. This past year has been “Eat,” and I’ve been moving into the “Pray” part with yoga. Do you have info on the Food and Light Workshop in Boulder? Sounds really neat. I live in Denver, so Boulder is not too far away. A friend of mine is big into food photography, and I do the cooking! ?? Cheers!

December 31, 2010 - 3:57 pm

Patty - Congrats on everything Shanon – you’re so very talented! Thank you for sharing your wonderful creations with us all. Happy New Year!

January 1, 2011 - 10:28 am

Joanne - These look fantastic! Did the champagne flavor come through much in the batter?

January 1, 2011 - 11:00 am

Aku - Hey Shanon, happy new year to you and congrats on 2010 being such a fabulous year of achievement and progress for you–I hope 2011 continues in the same vein! Looking forward to more beautiful posts and wonderful recipes

January 1, 2011 - 11:38 am

srlacy - Hi Joanne-

There was definitely a subtle hint of champagne in the batter. If I didn’t already know that there was champagne in it, I may not have tasted it. I bet you could make it stronger by picking a different type of champagne.

January 1, 2011 - 2:55 pm

Kate @ - First time reader and, Oh my my, you know your food. ?? These champagne cupcakes – yum! And that spun sugar looks fantastic.

January 2, 2011 - 6:37 pm

Myri - Thanks for the recipe! Just made them and they turned out beautiful!! And most important super tasty!!!


January 3, 2011 - 1:37 pm

Emily - I can’t wait to try the spun sugar technique! These look simply stunning!

January 10, 2011 - 11:18 pm

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February 11, 2011 - 3:44 pm

Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking - Hi Shanon, I just wanted to let you know that I featured these stunning little cupcakes of yours in my Valentine’s Day Favorites post today… Here’s the link: Thanks for sharing them. Have a great weekend!

February 14, 2011 - 1:44 pm

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Pudding Pie Lane - What a lovely recipe – perfect way to start the new year! ??

March 15, 2011 - 3:07 pm

Elle - I was married on New Year’s Eve and this would be perfect for my next anniversary! Thanks!

April 1, 2011 - 9:33 am

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Nicole - These cupcakes look delicious! I found them through Pinterest. I will be making these for tonight! ??

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April 9, 2012 - 3:36 pm

Julie - Thanks for the recipe! I adapted it to my liking (almost the same as yours), and I too blogged about it ( Thanks for the inspiration!

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Aurelia - Extremely beautiful cupcakes!

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September 24, 2012 - 7:23 pm

Lu - Hey Shanon,
i was looking or a great recipe with a beautiful presentastion for my grand girl’s Sweet Sixteen Dinner. There are going to be beautiful in miniature on a beautiful tiered dessert stand. It will take their breaths away. Thank you for sharing your talents. BTW- got anything that is equal to a French Maccaroon? I was looking for something I could make and tint in pastel colors. Got any ideas? I will share my pictures of the dessert table with you. Blessings.

September 24, 2012 - 7:33 pm
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febina - love the sugarspun

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geraldine miles - could you please tell me the name of the champagne that you used? just in case I cant find the one that you used in cooking could you name a couple more good cooking champagnes