We’re celebrating this week. And making some big announcements. And we’re also thanking so many people this week. Because usually these things all go hand in hand.
A year and a half ago, I would not have believed you if you told me that this was the direction my life would take me in. I had a BA in International Affairs and a job in a related field. I thought I was on my way to being the next big thing in foreign policy, something I thought I had wanted since middle school. But, for a number of reasons, I was unhappy. So I made a major change, quit my job, and have spent the last year taking post baccalaureate classes to qualify for a graduate program in dietetics. And I found out over this past weekend that my hard work has paid off.
So I’m leaving DC and moving back to my hometown of Philadelphia for grad school. I’m incredibly sad to be leaving DC after living here for 5 years. I’ll miss the community I’ve developed and the friends that I’ve made. But I'm also excited for a new adventure (not to mention being in a town that roots for the same sports teams as I do).
I just want to take a moment to thank all the people who have helped and supported me. Not once, during this whole process, has any one of my friends, coworkers, teachers, or family members told me that this was a bad idea. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the support and encouragement of so many people in my life. So thank you, thank you, thank you to the professors who inspired, encouraged, and even accommodated me (I'd like to see you try doing an orgo lab one-handed) over the past year, and an even bigger thank you to all my friends and family who have been nothing but positive support since I decided to change everything.
To celebrate, I would like to offer a toast to all these people. We’re toasting with cupcakes – champagne cupcakes to be exact (because can you really toast with anything else?). I also recently discovered Trader Joe’s freeze-dried fruits, and I instantly knew that I wanted to pulverize them and use the powder as a pop of flavor. I always associate champagne with strawberries, so I figured this would be the perfect recipe to experiment with.
The cupcakes are light and airy, and the frosting packs a wallop of strawberry flavor. It has just a hint of tartness, but not enough to overpower the light taste of the champagne. These cupcakes are definitely worthy of any celebration.
(And yes, I do see the irony that I'm about to start a program in nutrition and I'm celebrating with desserts)
Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Champagne Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Dash of salt
3 tablespoons non-hydrogenated butter substitute (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup blended silken tofu
1 cup Champagne, Prosecco, or other dry, sparkling wine
1 cup and 1 tablespoon champagne, divided
5 tablespoons non-hydrogenated butter substitute, softened
1.5 - 2 cups confectioner's sugar (enough to get the right texture)
1/3 cup freeze dried strawberries, pulverized into a powder (contents of one bag from Trader Joe's)
*This is enough frosting to smooth on top of the cupcakes with a knife. If you want to pipe it on, as pictured here, you should double the recipe.
|Pulverized, freeze dried strawberries|
Preheat the oven to 350F
Preheat the oven to 350F
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together to create a light, fluffy mixture. Add in the blended tofu and the vanilla and mix until well combined.
2. Stir in the salt, the baking powder, and baking soda.
3. Alternating between the two, add in about a third of the champagne, then a third of the flour. Mix well between each addition, and repeat until all the ingredients have been mixed.
4. Pour the batter into lined cupcake tins, filling each up about 3/4 of the way, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the middle of a cupcake and pull it out clean.
5. Set cupcakes aside to cool before decorating.
1. Bring 1 cup of champagne to a simmer in a small saucepan. Allow it to reduce over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until it has reduced to 2-3 tablespoons. Set aside to cool.
2. Cream the butter until smooth. Mix in the reduced champagne and the strawberry powder. Once incorporated, pour a tablespoon of regular champagne, then add in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time (I added mine 1/3 cup at a time), mixing well between each addition until the mixture is creamy, but a bit fluffy, and can hold its shape.
3. Frost the cupcakes and serve.