Strawberries & Champagne Cupcakes (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
Happy New Year!
Are we celebrating the start of the new year or the end of this year!?! I’d have to say we are celebrating this year being OVER. However I also have to say, for me personally this year was not awful. No, I did not get to see my friends or coworkers, I couldn’t go to my barre classes or my favorite coffee shops and farmer’s markets. But I spent the year with my family in quarantine, I spent quality time with my pup, I had time to find new hobbies and passions, I took Foodtography school to learn and develop my photography skills, and I started this blog! I am grateful for my health. Although it’s not optimum I am happy I can get up and enjoy my days given the circumstances. But overall this year was completely awful with everything that happened to our nation and world. So let’s cheers to 2020 being over!
So to celebrate, I decided to make some champagne cupcakes from a bottle of champagne I had received as a gift on my 30th birthday, years ago. Do I drink? Unfortunately no. Is this part of my paleo diet? Unfortunately no but hey it's New Years so I'm baking with champagne! It’s been sitting here aging away and it was time to be used. I actually have not been able to drink in years, since my Lyme diagnosis and my gut health issues. The histamines alone would kill me! But I wanted to try baking with it. So I popped it open!
These strawberries and champagne cupcakes were actually made with a champagne reduction. Not only does reducing champagne on the stove prior give it a nice strong flavor, but it also burns off a lot of the alcohol. For some that’s a party foul, for some with chronic illness it’s way to celebrate with champagne without drinking it! And you can also brush your cupcakes with un-reduced champagne before frosting them if you want something stronger in there! It will also help with moisture. Or… just drink the rest of the bottle.
These strawberries and champagne cupcakes are gluten and dairy free!
I made these champagne cupcakes with gluten free flour and dairy free butter so they are…. Gluten and dairy free! And dang delicious. They’re moist, fluffy and light and have a hint of champagne in the batter. The buttercream frosting is where the champagne really packs a punch. I added strawberry puree and champagne reduction to the frosting for a little kick. It compliments the cupcake perfectly! If you're looking for the perfect New Years gluten free dessert, you will not regret making these cupcakes.
What are in these strawberries and champagne cupcakes?
Champagne! The hero of the cupcakes. I used blush but any champagne will work. I think you could substitute this with sparking cider for an alcohol free option. You will reduce the champagne on the stove so it becomes a reduction.
All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend: I used King Arthur here but any AP GF flour blend should work.
Baking Powder and Soda: This helps to give your cupcakes a night rise and fluff
Dairy Free Butter: I used both Earth Balance and Miyoko's and both worked. Real butter works too Vanilla Extract: This gives your cupcakes a nice vanilla flavor
Non-Dairy Milk: As always I used Oatly, but any milk of choice works
Eggs: These bind and fluff your cupcakes. You can try a replacement with aquafaba for a vegan sub
Coconut Sugar: I love coconut sugar as you know. This keeps the muffins lower in sugar (which you make up for in the frosting!), but any granulated sweetener should work. Coconut sugar does not taste like coconut Coconut Oil: I prefer unrefined so there is no coconut taste
Powdered Sugar: For the buttercream frosting. You can make your own unrefined powdered sugar for a paleo-style frosting. See below.
Strawberry Puree: This is for your frosting. You can make your own or just use any spread or jam.
Are these cupcakes alcoholic?
Technically yes. I do not drink and haven’t drank in 6 years and these gave me a little buzz to be honest! You do burn most of the alcohol off when reducing and baking but there’s still a little in there. For a non-alcoholic alternative you can try using sparking cider.
How to store the gluten free champagne cupcakes:
You can store these on the countertop for 1-2 days and then transfer to fridge in an airtight container. Gluten free flour gets stale fast so they don’t last too long at room temp. Store in freezer for up to 6 months in an airtight container and let defrost at room temperature when ready to enjoy.
What special equipment will I need?
A hand mixer to cream to make your frosting
A muffin tin
A mesh strainer to strain your strawberry puree
How do I make my own unrefined powdered sugar?
To make your own unrefined powdered sugar, place any granulated sweetener in a high speed blender for 30-60 seconds. I use my Vitamix and place the sugar in my dry container. I prefer to use coconut sugar because it is my go to low glycemic sweetener but you can use any granulated sugar, even monkfruit.
1 1/4 cups of Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of baking soda
6 tbsp of unsalted dairy-free butter, room temperature or softened
1/4 tsp of salt (reduce to 1/8 if your butter is salted)
1/2 cup of coconut sugar
1 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature***
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of champagne reduction (below)
2 tbsp of non-dairy milk
Strawberry Champagne Buttercream:
1 cup of unsalted dairy-free butter
4 cups of unrefined powdered sugar**
2 tbsp of champagne reduction (below)
2 tbsp of strawberry puree or jam (homemade: 1/3 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries)
1/8 tsp salt (omit if your butter is salted)
For both Cupcakes and Buttercream:
1 1/2 cups of champagne*
First you want to reduce your champagne so it gets a richer flavor and keeps that flavor in your cupcakes and buttercream. In a medium pan, heat the 1 1/2 cups of champagne over medium heat and bring to a slow boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until your champagne reduces to 3/4 cup. I removed mine off the stove and measured at about 10 minutes and it was just at 3/4. Once it has been reduced to 3/4 cup, remove from stove and let cool to room temperature. If you reduce too much that would be fine, you will just need 10 tablespoons.
Line a muffin tin with wrappers and set your oven to 350F. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.
In another medium bowl, add the coconut sugar, softened butter stick and coconut oil and beat on high with a hand or stand mixer until this becomes nice and creamy and light. It’ll take 3-4 minutes. This gives your cupcakes the fluff so the longer you mix the better.
Now add in both eggs and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Add in half the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix well. Make sure you scrape the sides so it’s all mixed.
Add in the champagne and milk now and mix until a batter forms. Now add in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until a nice smooth batter forms. I used my hand mixer for this but you can mix by hand as well.
Fill your muffin tins 3/4 the way full, evenly across all 12. Tap and shake the pan so makes sure air bubbles are out. Bake for 16-18 minutes until tops are brown and toothpick comes out clean.
Transfer to a cool rack and let cool to room temperature.
Prepare your strawberry champagne buttercream:
You can make your own strawberry puree here or use any strawberry jelly or jam. To make your own, boil down 1/3 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries with a touch of water on the stove top in a small sauce pan. Boil until strawberries are mushy and can be mashed easily.
Remove from heat and mash your strawberries with a fork or masher. Now strain this through a mesh strainer and collect the puree in a cup. You should have just about 2 tbsp for the frosting. Place in fridge until cooled.
In a large mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar and cut in the dairy free butter. With a hand mixer, mix this until you have pea sized crumbles. Now add in the 2 tbsp of champagne reduction and mix again. Your mixture should still be fairly dry. Once your strawberry puree is cooled, mix that in and mix well until a thick frosting forms. If it’s too wet, add more powdered sugar until a nice consistency. If it’s too dry, add in 1 tsp of champagne reduction OR strawberry puree until a nice consistency. (You should have 2 tbsp of champagne reduction left over to play with)
Finish the cupcakes:
Once the cupcakes are cooled, you can either pipe the frosting on with a piping bag or just out of the corner of a ziploc bag. If you want more champagne flavor (you can taste the frosting first), you can brush the tops of the cupcakes with the rest of the champagne reduction before you frost them. You can even poke little holes with toothpicks so the reduction gets into the cake. (Trick I learned on the 100 baking shows I watch!)
*You can use any champagne in this recipe. It will all reduce to have a stronger richer flavor. You will need 10 tbsp total of reduction and will be leftover with 2 tbsp extra to add to cupcakes before you frost them as an option. For a stronger champagne flavor.
**I have not tried to replace the eggs but I think the best replacement would be an aquafaba egg (brine from a can of chickpeas)
*** You can make your own powdered sugar by adding any granulated sweetener to a blender for 30 seconds until it becomes a fine powder
Celebrate and enjoy! Happy New Year!
If you make these beautiful gluten free champagne cupcakes, leave me ratings or comments below! I love the feedback and it really helps others! And take photos of your crtag me on Instagram @gutsy_baker.