Baking with bubbly! What better way to ring in the new year? 

Champagne Cupcakes

For these mini treats, I reduced champagne to use as the flavoring. I used inexpensive André, a California sparkling, keeping the good stuff to drink! The actual bubbles can be problematic, and intensifying the flavor is no bad thing, so I recommend this rather than using champagne straight from the bottle. 

Champagne Cupcake Ingredients

This recipe makes for tasty cake and frosting. The champagne flavor is subtle, but there is a hint of that celebratory beverage.

Champagne Cupcakes Sprinkles

Champagne cupcakes are perfect for New Year’s Eve, engagement parties, birthdays, or any other bubbly-worthy occasion!

Champagne Cupcakes

Happy New Year!

Recipe: Champagne Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes (or 36 minis)

1 stick butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons reduced champagne
7 ounces plain yogurt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
FROSTING:
1 1/4 stick butter
1 pound powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons reduced champagne

First, reduce 1 cup of champagne to 1/2 cup by boiling in a small pan on stovetop. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.

Cream the butter and sugar at medium speed, then reduce to low to add the eggs one at a time.

Add the reduced champagne.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the yogurt, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, do not overmix.

Scoop into lined tins and bake for about 20 minutes (10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes), turning halfway through.

Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 5 minutes. Cool on racks until room temperature before frosting.

For frosting: Beat the butter until smooth. Slowly add half the powdered sugar, then 3 tablespoons reduced champagne. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix, adding more champagne if needed to reach desired consistency.

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This Time Last Year

Discussion

One way I love to get into the Christmas spirit is to do some holiday baking!

Santa Hat Cupcakes

My office requested cupcakes for its annual holiday party, so I decided to make peppermint cupcakes–both chocolate and plain peppermint.

I baked minis with my regular chocolate cupcake recipe, substituting Nielsen-Massey Peppermint Extract for half of the vanilla and using a teaspoon of Nielsen-Massey Chocolate Extract instead of the brewed coffee.

Nielsen-Massey Peppermint Extract Cupcakes
Pure Peppermint Extract pepped up my chocolate cupcakes and made for a delightfully pepperminty buttercream. The Chocolate Extract worked with the cocoa to make the cake extra flavorful.

Peppermint Cupcakes in progress

I also made plain peppermint cupcakes, see recipe below!

Piping Striped Pepperming Frosting

To make the red and white striped icing for the chocolate peppermint cupcakes, I painted two stripes of red icing down the piping bag (I used a chopstick). I then carefully filled with white icing. It had a nice striped effect when I piped.

Peppermint Cupcakes

For the plain peppermint cupcakes, I made “Santa Hats” by piping a smooth swirl of red icing, then filling the base with white and a little ball on top.

Santa Hat Cupcakes

They were festive additions to the party, where they were a sweet hit!

Peppermint Cupcakes

Peppermint Cupcakes at Party
I packed extras in plastic party cups for guests wanting to take a few to-go!

Thank you to Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors for the chocolate and peppermint extracts! Nielsen-Massey uses premium ingredients sourced from around the world to craft their all-natural pure flavors. Learn more at www.nielsenmassey.com.

Recipe: Mini Peppermint Cupcakes

Makes 36 mini cupcakes

1 stick butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Peppermint Extract
8 ounces sour cream
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line mini muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

Cream the butter and sugar at medium speed, then reduce to low.

Add the eggs one at a time, then the peppermint extract.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Mix in the dry ingredients gradually, alternating with the sour cream, until just combined (don't overmix).

Scoop batter into lined muffin tins and bake 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Baking time varies by oven, so check them often!

Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove to racks and cool completely before frosting (If I have time, I like to bake the cupcakes the night before, frost the next morning).

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This Time Last Year

Discussion

I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving, but I had to have something pumpkin, too.

These are great for fall and into winter holidays. The pumpkin makes the cake so moist. People have loved these every time I’ve baked them, from office parties to family gatherings.

Double the recipe below for a “normal” batch, I wanted the just nine that this made.

pumpkin cupcake wrappers
I was given these cute pumpkin wrappers a few years ago. I was happy to finally use them!

I’ve done these before with cinnamon icing, but I decided to double down on pumpkin. I was worried that the frosting wouldn’t work out, the butter and pumpkin did not cream together as one recipe I saw describe them as doing. It worked out once I started adding the vanilla and powdered sugar, though!

Pumpkin Frosting

Recipe: Pumpkin Cupcakes and Frosting

Makes 9 cupcakes

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
5 oz. pumpkin purée (use canned or fresh, but make sure it is pure pumpkin - this is 1/3 of a 15 oz. can or a bit more than 1/2 cup)
FROSTING:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 oz. (a bit less than 1/2 cup) pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pound powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F, and line your tins with 9 liners.

Beat the butter and two sugars on medium until creamed. Add the egg.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

Add the vanilla extract to the buttermilk.

Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients until just combined, then mix in the pumpkin purée.

Scoop into tins with a ice cream scoop or your preferred method, filling about 3/4. Bake for about 22 minutes, turning halfway through. Cool for 5 minutes in pans, then cool completely on a rack before icing.

For frosting: Beat together the room temperature butter and pumpkin purée until as smooth as possible. Add the vanilla and spices. Slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing well.

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This Time Last Year

Discussion

Merry Christmas!

Ginger Couple

I baked gingerbread cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting for my office holiday party. I couldn’t resist making some ginger people to top them!

Ginger People

The frosting was, I must say, amazing. I’d made cinnamon before, and cream cheese, but never the two together. Definitely recommended! I basically just added a teaspoon of cinnamon to my regular cream cheese frosting.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

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This Time Last Year

Discussion

Thanksgiving is coming! Traveling? Baking an apple pie?

Slice of Apple Pie

Last year, I spent Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, and my mother-in-law asked me to bring a pie. I was happy to provide the pie, but I wasn’t sure how to get it to upstate NY in primo condition. I’ve been foiled before by train heaters and bumpy car travel. After much consultation with friends (and my bestie, the internet), I decided to make the dough and filling separately to transport, then assemble and bake upon arrival.

Ingredients

I made the French Apple Pie from The Cotton Country Collection, a cookbook almost everyone in my north Louisiana family owns. This recipe incorporates a custard and apricot preserves into the pie filling.

I baked with Golden Russets from Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, New York.

This heirloom apple has a firm flesh with an intense sweet-dry flavor. It is a great keeper and very versatile for eating, cooking and juicing.

I also added one Granny Smith to make up the required amount and add some variety, always nice in apple pie.

Prep

I made the dough ahead of time, divided it into 2 and froze each piece in plastic wrap. I cooked and spiced my apples and froze them in a gallon freezer bag.

Frozen Apple Pie FIlling

The night before traveling, I made the custard, which I refrigerated.

On travel day, the frozen items went in a tote to cool during the train ride, and the custard traveled with an ice pack in a cooler bag. (Note that you likely could not do this for plane travel due to liquid constraints. In that case, I would probably freeze a prepared but unbaked pie to carry with me.)

Assembly

I was more grateful than stressed by my mother-in-law’s help with the pie construction. She definitely has more experience with pie-baking than I do. She started hands-off but couldn’t help but get involved! It was fun to do together.

Cut Out Pie Crust
I used a small heart cookie cutter to cut holes in the top crust.

Have a tasty Thanksgiving!

Baked Apple Pie

See also my blog post at Farm2Me about freezing pie filling (for a more basic apple pie recipe) prepared with all your extra autumn apples!

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  • Red Velvet Cupcake #redvelvetcupcake #creamcheesefrosting 🧁 One of many batches to blog soon! Fun (?) fact, I’ve yet to actually eat a red velvet I’ve baked myself.
  • Sunny day, frozen rosé

This Time Last Year

Discussion