Gluten Free Champagne Vanilla Cupcakes
Champagne + Cupcakes. What could ever be better? Champagne works well in recipes; adding a few ounces to these cupcakes created a wonderfully moist crumb and delicious consistency. When people hear that I add champagne to these cupcakes, they tend to get a little confused about how it all works, adding the alcohol to these delicious baked goods. I’m going to break down these Gluten-Free Champagne Vanilla Cupcakes for you today.
I typically lean more towards chocolate flavored anything but I chose to make these champagne cupcakes with vanilla because those two flavors pair so well together. Champagne and vanilla complement each other very well and provide a nice, light baked treat that cannot be missed.
Baking with Champagne
While Champagne may be advertised as being a super fancy delicacy, it really is only sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of France. Champagne has a very delicate fermentation process, where it actually undergoes two different fermentations. One fermentation in the barrel and one fermentation in the bottle; it’s actually this second fermentation where the bubbles form over a minimum of two weeks. Champagne can be made from chardonnay, pinot noir, or pinot meunier grapes and can range from a dry, Brut Nature to a sweet Doux flavor.
When baking or cooking with champagne, it’s important to take into account what type of champagne you are using, especially when it comes to the sweetness of the champagne. When baking, like for these Gluten-Free Champagne Vanilla Cupcakes, you can go for either a sweet or dry wine but I recommend avoiding one that is too sweet because that could result in overly sugary-tasting cupcakes. However, if you are cooking with champagne, making a more crisp dish, I recommend choosing a drier champagne over a sweet one. Cooking with dry champagne allows for the nice flavor of the champagne to cook into the dish without causing too much change to the overall flavor like a sweeter champagne might.
Another tricky thing about baking with champagne is that since it is a fermented, sparkling beverage, it has bubbles. Bubbles are great when just drinking champagne but can be a little tricky when it comes to incorporating champagne into baked goods. When I bake with champagne or other sparkling beverages, I like to whip up the champagne so that the bubbles dissipate. This way, the bubbles won’t interfere with the baking process. However, if you are just cooking with champagne, it’s not as important to try to dissipate the bubbles. Baking is a more precise process and it’s important to incorporate the ingredients exactly how they are intended. Cooking, however, provides for a little more freedom in the actual process.
Making the Gluten Free Champagne Vanilla Cupcakes
The first thing to gather before making these Gluten-Free Champagne Vanilla Cupcakes is the champagne of course! I lean more towards a sweeter champagne when baking these cupcakes but the choice is really up to you. You can choose a sweet champagne, dry champagne, or even replace it with another variety of sparkling wine. As I mentioned previously, the first step with the champagne is to whisk it in a bowl to dissipate the bubbles. Once the bubbles have been dissipated, add in the vanilla to the champagne and set aside for later. Also, some champagne will be used in the frosting as well so remember to set some aside for that as well.
The Dry Ingredients
As the recipe states, these cupcakes are gluten free so I like to use all-purpose gluten-free flour when making these. However, these cupcakes don’t need to be gluten-free so feel free to substitute the gluten-free flour with any flour you prefer, whether that’s regular all-purpose flour, almond flour, or any other you enjoy. I whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and then set that aside.
Putting them together
In my mixer on medium speed, I beat together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Once they are beaten together, add the egg and continue beating until the texture is smooth. Then, alternate adding the flour mixture with the champagne and vanilla mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Once all has been incorporated and the batter is smooth, scoop the batter into cupcake liners and pop the cupcake pan into the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes or until golden-brown. I always like to test my cupcakes with a toothpick to ensure they are fully baked.
For these Gluten Free Champagne Vanilla Cupcakes, I wanted to top them with a glaze rather than a rich, butter-style frosting. Using a glaze provides a light topping compared to a heavy butter-style frosting and this reflects the traditional lightness and airiness that champagne typically provides. To make this frosting, I beat together the remaining butter and some confectioner’s sugar in the mixer until smooth. Then I added the remaining champagne and beat the mixture for an additional minute to ensure everything was combined. Feel free to personalize the frosting for these cupcakes however you feel. During the summer months, I like to add some pureed fruit and make a fruit glaze or top the traditional glaze with fresh fruit.
Looking for more unique ways to enjoy champagne in your cooking?
For the Cupcakes
- 6 ounces champagne or sparkling wine
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
For the Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 ounces champagne or sparkling wine
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12-cup cupcake pan with liners. Pour the champagne into a bowl and whisk until the bubbles dissipate. Combine 1/2 cup of the champagne and the vanilla extract in a small bowl. Set aside the remaining champagne for the frosting.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the egg and beat until smooth. Beat in the flour mixture alternating with the champagne-vanilla mixture until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly into 12 muffins tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until they're lightly brown on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- To make the frosting whip together remaining butter, and confectioner's sugar. Add champagne beating for another minute. If you need it to thicken, put it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes so it's easier to work with.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll ﬁnd cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.