Alcohol can lend great flavor to sweet and savory recipes, so the Spiked! Recipe Challenge encourages bloggers to create or adapt a recipe to include alcohol. The January challenge was to include champagne (or other sparkling wine).
This was perfect for me, because I had half a bottle of leftover champagne from New Years. (I know, I know — leftover wine?!? What's that?!?) I even had a general idea in mind. I wanted to play on the traditional pairing of strawberries and champagne.
I considered trying my strawberry macarons again, with champagne buttercream filling. But with limited time to get the perfect results, I decided to make strawberry cupcakes with champagne buttercream frosting.
The fresh strawberries make these cupcakes so moist with a bright flavor. I used frozen strawberries to make my puree, but during peak strawberry season, fresh strawberries will work just as well. The puree turns these cupcakes a beautiful shade of pink. It's your choice whether to strain the strawberry seeds out of the puree or not. I chose not to, and didn't find the seeds bothersome.
Reducing the champagne concentrates the flavor of the wine, so you can add more flavor without affecting the consistency of the icing. Boiling also burns off some of the alcohol content, but not all of it. It's a small amount of alcohol in the big picture, so I promise not to judge if you let your kids have a taste.