Recipe: French 75 Cupcakes

Recipe: French 75 Cupcakes

Meghan Splawn
Dec 29, 2017
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Nothing says celebration like cocktails and cupcakes, except when you combine the two. These French 75 cupcakes, based on the classic Champagne cocktail, are light and sweet with a distinctly boozy punch. Frosted with a Champagne buttercream and soaked in a lemon, gin, and sparkling wine syrup, these cupcakes are sweeter than a typical cocktail, but boast more booze than a typical boozy cupcake.

Sensationally celebratory, these cupcakes are perfect for all your party needs, but simple enough for a night in with friends. Learn the basics of turning almost any cocktail into a cupcake with these French 75 cocktail cupcakes.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Simple Syrup Is the Secret to Cocktail Cupcakes

You could take nearly any cupcake and turn it into a cocktail cupcake by making a flavored simple syrup to soak the cake. In this recipe, the cocktail's base — Champagne — is cooked with sugar to make a Champagne syrup. Fresh lemon and a floral gin are added after the syrup has cooled so that their flavors, and the gin's alcohol, aren't cooked out.

French 75 Cupcakes

Makes 12

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the French 75 syrup:
1 cup dry sparkling wine, Brut Champagne, or prosecco
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup floral gin, such as Hendricks
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Champagne buttercream:
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup dry sparkling wine, Brut Champagne, or prosecco
12 lemon twists, for garnish (optional)

Make the cupcakes: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325°F. Line a standard (12-well) cupcake pan with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until lightened in color. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until combined. Add the lemon juice and beat again, followed by another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Add the milk and vanilla and beat again. Finish by beating in the last 1/3 of dry mixture. Fold in the lemon zest. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, about 1/3 cup per well.

Bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched, 18 to 20 minutes. While the cupcakes bake, make and cool the French 75 syrup.

Make the syrup: Combine the sparkling wine and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the gin and lemon juice. Set aside to cool.

Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan to the wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Add the Champagne at the very end and whip until smooth.

Brush each cupcake with about 1 tablespoon of the syrup. Frost with the Champagne buttercream and garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Leftover cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.
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