For the cupcakes
2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup champagne**I used a light pink rosé.
6 egg whites
For the buttercream frosting
3 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature
For the spun sugar
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.
4. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.
5. In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
6. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites.
7. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
9. For the frosting: With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter.
10. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.
11. Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute.
12. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. (Again, I used my favorite, 1M Wilton pastry tip.)
13. For the spun sugar: Secure a long-handled wooden spoon under a heavy cutting board on the edge of the counter, with the handle facing out and extending over the edge.
14. Place newspapers on the floor, directly under the cutting board. (Believe me, you will need them as this can get messy….)
15. Prepare an ice-water bath.
16. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and the water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
17. Stop stirring.
18. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
19. Cook until the mixture turns pale amber and registers 300 degrees (hard-crack stage) on the candy thermometer.
20. Plunge pan into ice bath to stop the cooking; let cool, stirring occasionally, until caramel registers 250 degrees. ***Be careful. The pan is hot and will steam very strongly when you cool it so rapidly.
21. Dip the tines of a fork into the caramel.
22. Holding the fork about 2 feet above the spoon handle, swing caramel back and forth like a pendulum in long arcs, allowing strands to fall in threads over the handles. **You will most likely lose a lot to the floor below; hence, the newspapers.
23. Let stand until ready to use, then gently gather some of the strands and shaped as desired. **I wanted mine to look like fireworks, so I broke them into shorter fragments.
24. Garnish the cupcakes with the spun sugar.