The decorations for these festive cupcakes are meant to be mix-and-match and as you like, and not all of them have to (or should be!) decorated in the same way. I like to put gold dragees on the majority of cupcakes and then add a gold leaf sheet, strawberry fan and/or edible red rose on only some of them, for a varied presentation. I also like to fill plastic pipettes (make sure to buy the food-grade quality) with Champagne and tuck one of these into a few cupcakes—or the whole batch, whichever you prefer!
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes (includes cooling time)
Ease of Preparation: Easy


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup strawberry preserves or jam

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Fine salt
  • One 8-ounce bar cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Champagne

  • Champagne, for the pipettes
  • Edible gold dragees
  • Edible gold leaf
  • Whole strawberries, cut into fans (see Cook's Note)
  • Edible red roses

Special equipment: food-grade plastic pipettes, optional


For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

With a stand or hand mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time to the creamed butter mixture, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low speed, and half of the dry mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Add in half of the milk and beat until just incorporated. Repeat to add the remaining dry mixture and milk

Using an ice-cream scoop, divide the batter evenly among the lined muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in the tin on a wire rack.

With an apple corer, remove some of the cake from the center of each cupcake, reserving these pieces. Put the strawberry jam into a piping bag and cut the tip with kitchen shears. Pipe the jam into the hollowed-out center of each cupcake and top with the reserved piece of cake.

For the frosting: With a stand or hand mixer, cream the butter, vanilla and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl over medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes more. With the mixer on low speed, add the confectioner's sugar in 3 additions, beating to combine after each.

Add 1 tablespoon of Champagne and beat on low speed to loosen up the frosting to a smooth consistency. If the frosting is still too tight, add 1 more tablespoon Champagne as needed. Put the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large closed-star tip.

For the decorations: Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, making different-size flowers. Fill food-grade plastic pipettes, if using, with Champagne. Garnish the cupcakes with gold dragees along with gold leaf, strawberry fans and/or rose petals, adding a filled pipette as desired.

Cook's Note: For the strawberry "fan," thinly slice a whole strawberry lengthwise, leaving the stem end intact, and then fan out the slices.

Watch Lovely Bites Saturdays at 12 p.m. ET/PT, or stream full episodes on the Watch OWN app.