CHEW THIS! Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

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Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, October 1st 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Glamorous Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes
Blaise Doubman

A couple of months back my family and I went to Alexandria, Indiana and had a nice meal at the Gather’s Family Resource Center Café. I had their root beer based bbq chicken, small red potatoes, salad and of course dessert. They are famous for their “Red Raspberry Cake”. I tried a piece and immediately set out to make my own version. Gloria Gather, the matriarch and one of the founding Gather family members, said that her secret was in using a white cake mix mixed with the raspberry Jello. I set out, found her recipe in a cookbook and made one myself. It was delicious! I posted the recipe on my blog and people went crazy! Since then I have adapted the recipe in many ways, such as cupcakes and even a Bundt cake using assorted flavors of Jello and different corresponding types of fruit.

The recipe I am sharing here today is my favorite adaption of the original recipe I posted on blog. By turning the cake into a strawberry based cake, transforming them into cupcakes and adding a small splash of champagne, it elevates the dessert into something glamourous and fun. I just love the looks of these – and the taste! The alcohol in the champagne is baked out of the cupcakes when baked so have no fear when serving these to the underage crowd. I have made these several times and people go crazy! It is best to use frozen strawberries in the cake and the frosting but best to use fresh strawberries for the garnish. Sometimes I will dip the strawberries in melted chocolate before garnishing the top of each cupcake or simply roll them in a little edible glitter or a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. Serve these and enjoy!

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

These are perfect for movie parties, graduation celebrations, showers and birthday parties. You can substitute the champagne for white grape fruit juice, sparkling cider or diluted strawberry syrup. You can find the glamourous gold liners I have used here in specialty shops and online.

For the cake…
1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix
1 small box strawberry Jello
3 heaping tablespoons white all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup water
2 tablespoons champagne
1 package (10 oz) frozen strawberries

For the frosting…
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
Remaining frozen strawberries
5 cups confectioner’s sugar

Fresh strawberries for garnish

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake liners. I used the glamorous gold foil liners but feel free to use any liner you would like. Spray pans evenly and lightly with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the white cake mix, strawberry Jello and white all-purpose flour.

In a glass measuring cup whisk together the vegetable oil, large eggs, water and champagne.

In small increments add the wet mixture to the dry. After all of the wet ingredients have been added, gently fold in half of the bag of frozen strawberries.

Divide the batter evenly between the 24 cupcake liners. Bake in preheated oven for 24 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, combine the melted unsalted butter with the remaining half bag of frozen strawberries. Add in the confectioner’s sugar, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition, until the desired consistency is reached. What you are looking for here is a consistency much like that of a thick, but spreadable, ice cream.

Remove the cupcakes from their pans, frost generously and top with a whole fresh strawberry.

These may be chilled for up to six hours before removing and serving.

Ask and Answer: Several people have written to me wondering where I bought the “sweet and sassy lemon sugar” that I use on or in most of my lemon baked goods. The answer? It can be bought online through “King Arthur Flour”. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you have probably seen me using it on and in lemon bread, lemon cookies and lemon frostings. It is a fine powder and lives up to the name! It is very much sweet and sassy – a little goes a long way!

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