Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Visions of chocolate, champagne and roses come to mind when I think of this day. And, of course, love and romance. Two people walking arm in arm, two people sharing a laugh together that only makes sense to them, two people falling more in love with each other every time their eyes meet. With Cupid shooting arrows and St. Valentine secretly marrying young couples in love, it’s no wonder this day elicits such romantic feelings.
And I am a woman so hopelessly romantic. So when this day rolls around and I realize there may not be a special Valentine in my life to shower with love and sweets, what happens then? When everyone around me is paired up in romance and I am solo?
I have learned to live my life romantically. From the heart, in all I do, passionately and lovingly. Those special things I would do for a lover I do for myself. When women fall in love they take care of themselves differently, pampering their body, lighting candles in their bedroom, making decadent desserts to share. Living romantically I do these things regardless, enjoying the pleasures that make me feel so good while keeping my heart open to finding new love.
I hope my daughter understands this well. We may not always have a special Valentine in our life when this romantic day arrives, but we can still love ourselves and all those close to us that touch our heart.
Open up the bubbly and make these cupcakes!! Moist, tender and so full of champagne flavor! They tastes special, they are special, just like those occasions that call for a glass of champagne!
Cupcakes just naturally feel like your own little prize, an individual, pretty indulgence! Add champagne and they become an adult luxury, bubble bath pleasure!
In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the champagne and sour cream.
Add the flour and champagne mixture alternately into the butter and sugar. Batter will be thick. Fill cupcake papers with ¼ cup of batter. Bake for 17-22 minutes. Cool completely.
For the pastry crème filling:
½ cup heavy cream, divided
½ cup champagne or prosecco
2 tablespoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in ¼ cup of heavy cream. In a saucepan, combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and champagne, bring to boil then remove from heat.
Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture. Pour 1/3 of the boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook. Return the saucepan of remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil. Slowly pour in the hot egg/cornstarch mixture into the saucepan whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.
Cut a divot into the top of each cooled cupcake and fill with pastry cream. Return the “lid” on top of the cupcake.
For the champagne frosting:
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon champagne or prosecco
2 sticks of butter softened
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
Place 1 cup of the champagne in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Pour into a small cup and allow to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat with the whisk attachment, cream the butter and powdered sugar. Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tablespoons champagne plus 1 tablespoon champagne from the bottle and mix well. Frost the cream filled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.