Pink Champagne Cupcakes for the Red Carpet!

So this was a contest entry that unfortunately didn’t pan out quite how we wanted it to (unlike our gorgeous Raspberry Berets!). But I think I can improve upon the recipe, and they *did* taste awesome even if they didn’t look as pretty as we would have liked.

The contest was from Duncan Hines and it was for a cupcake that would be served at the Emmy Awards. Of course we immediately thought red carpet, and what might the stars at the Emmys be drinking…its a special occasion so, champagne right? So we decided to go with red velvet cupcakes with a strawberries and champagne frosting. The contest required contestants to use Duncan Hines products, so we used their red velvet cake mix.

I have to say, even though lots of folks are hating on the boxed cake mix, this was wonderfully spongy, moist and very tasty cake. Better than almost all of the red velvets I’ve tried from the many cupcakeries we’ve visited – it was the only one that didn’t taste like straight up food coloring. I’m just sayin….

Anyway, we had some extra batter so we also baked up a batch of minis.

And then we moved on to frosting. Again, we were required to use Duncan Hines frosting, so we did, and I believe this was the ultimate downfall of my red velvet beauties. While the tasty vanilla frosting pipes lovely on its own, we added some ingredients to it to make our recipe come together – some strawberry coulis and of course some champagne. This didn’t seem to alter the frosting much at first, we whipped it in and popped it in the fridge to set up; and when we took it out to pipe it seemed like it would hold up just fine.

Alas after we piped, our tasty frosting creation wilted. We soldiered on, feeling like we needed to finish them anyway and get a taste of our creation after it all came together. We garnished our cupcakes with strawberry pop rocks to give them a pop of color *and* to recreate the bubbly champagne sensation. The pop rock addition was fabulous, though if we were to serve these we’d have to garnish them at the very last second as the pop rocks start to, well pop, as soon as they touch anything moist – in this case, the frosting.

Despite our wilted piping and our constantly popping garnish, I must say that these tasted divine. The strawberry and champagne combination was lovely, the pop rocks did their job, and the red velvet cake was just cocoa-infused enough to make the cupcake lean toward rich versus sweet.

If I were to make these again (which I very well may), I would obviously make my own frosting, probably a stiff cream cheese base that would take the moisture of the added strawberry coulis and champagne and still stand up to piping. We didn’t have the option of adding powdered sugar to the contest frosting because it would have been waaaay too sweet, however, with our own recipe we could tweak as needed.

Because I ran out of contest frosting, I used a regular cream cheese on the minis and they were outstanding! And they’ve been featured on a few other blogs too, so I really can’t complain about our red velvet – red carpet adventure.

Red Velvet Mini Cupcakes

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