I made these cupcakes for my visit to the VegNews headquarters, and wanted to bring them something that I knew would work – that meant that I wanted it to be something I had made before, and something that was exciting and fun. I had a couple bars of vegan white chocolate that I brought back from my recent trip to Holland, and thought that I could introduce that into this recipe that I made before to make it a little more unusual. The white chocolate and champagne flavors worked very well together and this was definitely a winning combination that I’m going to have to replicate in the future.
This is a very celebratory cupcake flavor, and is delightfully light and fluffy, as well as being rich and intoxicating at the same time! The champagne gives the frosting a nice airy texture, which plays well with the idea of “bubbles” in the drink. I do believe that if you ate enough of the frosting, you could get a nice buzz going, but with the amount that you consume in a cupcake or two, I think it’s a non-issue. It would be easy to play around with this recipe and make a pink champagne cupcake (add some strawberries to the ganache filling? Use pink champagne in the frosting and get a nice pink tint?) and I made them once before with a dark chocolate ganache in the center of the cakes, which made them very elegant looking. I recommend this recipe for any type of celebratory event, or even if you just want to play around with new flavors. It’s very yummy, and I believe you’ll make lots of new friends if you give them these sweet cakes!
1 Tblsp. almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tblsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil (or any lightly flavored vegetable oil)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 Tblps. champagne (you can use any type of champagne, even pink champagne! I find that a heavier, drier champagne like Brute will convey it’s flavor better through baking, so that is what I used)
White Chocolate Ganache:
3 oz. bar of vegan white chocolate, chopped finely
1/4 cup almond milk
Champagne Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
6 Tblsp. champagne, any type
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tblsp. cornstarch
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside a few minutes to get good and curdled.
Beat together the almond milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Add the champagne and lightly to try to retain some of the fizzy bubbles. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix only until no large lumps remain.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full, and bake for 20-24 minutes till done (you can stick a toothpick in the center and it should come out clean). Leave in muffin tins for 3-5 minutes after taking out of the oven, so the cakes can set, and then take out of the tins and place on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. While you are waiting for them to cool, you can prepare your Ganache and Frosting (recipes below). When cupcakes are completely cool, cut a cone out of the center of each cake, and remove tops. This is where you will spoon in your White Chocolate Ganache, or if you choose not to make the ganache then you can also use this method and pipe extra Champagne Frosting into the center of the cupcake, replace the cake top, and pipe more frosting on top. Both methods are beautiful and extremely tasty.
To make the White Chocolate Ganache, simply put your chopped white chocolate and almond milk into the top section of a double boiler and heat over the stove. When the water in the bottom is boiling, turn the temperature down and stir chocolate rapidly until it is completely melted and the ganache has a smooth consistency. Remove from heat and let cool (but not harden) before spooning into cupcakes. Put about 1 tsp. of ganache into each cupcake, and replace cupcake tops – some ganache may squeeze out, and this adds a pretty effect (if too much comes out, you can wipe it off with a clean finger or paper towel; it’s white so any smudges won’t show up!).
For the Champagne Frosting, cream together the shortening and margarine until well combined and fluffy. Add in the sugar, alternating with champagne, and beat for about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cornstarch, and beat for another 30 seconds, or until fluffy. Pipe onto the tops of your already-filled cupcakes.