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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wine and Cheese Cupcakes

Happy 2013! I rang in the New Year with some dear friends and these cupcakes:

Wine and Cheese Cupcakes
I kept things pretty simple this year, but I simply can't arrive at a party empty-handed. I wanted to bring something festive and a little different, but with a nod to tradition. Wine and cheese is a classic, so I thought, why not make a cupcake out of that combination? I'm very pleased with the results of my experiment, and they were a hit with friends, neighbors, and co-workers as well!

I've been experimenting with the crisp and delicate flavors of California Viognier wines, after finding inspiration at some wonderful local events in Placer County (my home turf) this past year. I attended the "Grape Days of Summer" and the "Auburn Wine and Food Festival", both annual events (among others) which bring out the unique, talented vintners, restauranteurs, and other local artisans of our community. If you happen to find yourself in the Placer County foothills, I definitely encourage you to check out some of the wineries. Having also lived in Sonoma County, I can say they are well worth your time.

Anyway, back to the cupcakes.

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These are pretty easy, and can be made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. I tend to shy away from "fussy" food that calls for 40 different ingredients, many of which are exotic things I've never heard of that must be obtained from eight different specialty stores. Nope, not for me. If you've ready many of my posts, you'll know that baking is truly a hobby for me. It's something I enjoy doing in my free time, and if there's excessive planning involved, I tend to scrap the idea and make something up instead. I get more than my fill of planning at my day job.  :-)

Note: I used Viognier because of its sharp, crisp sweetness-that-isn't-too-sweet, but you can use whatever kind you like. I'm a fan of Lone Buffalo Vineyards' Viognier, but I happened to have Trader Joe's rendition on hand, and I think it's pretty good, too. As a general rule, I don't bake with anything I wouldn't enjoy drinking. My recipes get much of their flavor from the booze, after all!

RECIPE: Wine and Cheese Cupcakes
***This will make about 24 full size cupcakes, or 62 mini cupcakes. 

Ingredients for the cupcakes:
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup white wine 

Ingredients for the frosting:
1 eight-oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white wine
3 cups confectioner's sugar (add more if frosting is too soft, until desired piping consistency is achieved)

62 cupcakes is a lot of cupcakes!
Make the cupcakes:
(1) Preheat the oven to 350º F (or 335 for mini cupcakes), line cupcake pans.
(2) Combine salt, baking powder, and 1 3/4 cups of the flour.
(3) Beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy.
(4) Gradually mix in the flour mixture.
(5) Add the milk and wine to the batter, mix, then mix in the rest of the flour (1 cup).
(6) Mix until the batter just comes together. Do not over mix.
(7) Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups. (I like to use a scoop for this step)
(8) Bake for 25-30 minutes, if making full sized cupcakes. Bake for 14-16 minutes, if making mini cupcakes. You'll know they're done when the edges begin to turn light golden brown and they spring back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
(9) Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.

Make the frosting: 
(1) Whip the butter and cream cheese together until completely combined.
(2) Add the vanilla bean paste, salt, and white wine; mix thoroughly.
(3) Starting on slow speed, mix in the confectioner's sugar, 1 cup at a time. Increase to medium-high speed until smooth. Add more confectioner's sugar if needed, until desired piping consistency is achieved. You can also return the mixture to the refrigerator for a bit to firm it up if needed. The cream cheese and butter can sometimes get too soft and melty as you mix them.
(4) Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.

Did I mention that 62 cupcakes is a lot??

Happy New Year! --Jacqueline

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  1. These are so pretty! Anything with wine is good with me, ha!

  2. Thanks, Dorothy! :)

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  4. Looks great! I'm always looking for fun cupcake inspirations :)

  5. Me too, Victoria! I had fun making these.

  6. I love your grown-up cupcakes and these are so pretty. I had thoughts of doing pink champagne ones for New Years, but with my oven being wonky (until the part gets here), I didn't dare. I do wish I lived closer to take a bite of this amazing treat...I could really use it now, XOXO

  7. Ugh, it must be so hard not having your oven, Susan! I hope it gets fixed very soon!

  8. These look delicious! I don't like white wine but I'll definitely buy some if it means I can make these.

  9. Thanks! I had fun with these. They weren't hard to make, and I enjoyed sharing them with my friends.

  10. When do you add in the cream of tartar?

  11. Answering for Jacqueline this morning...The cream of tartar goes into the flour mixture. We'll make that fix to the instructions. Thank you for letting us know! Please let us know how these turn out for you. Cheers!!


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