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1. Separate eggs. Discard four yolks. Allow remaining yolks and whites and butter to stand a room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, generously grease eighteen to twenty 2-1/2-inch muffin cups and eighteen to twenty 1-3/4-inch muffin cups. If using vanilla bean, use a sharp knife to scrape seeds from vanilla bean halves; set seeds aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in the reserved egg yolks and the vanilla seeds or vanilla extract. Alternately add flour mixture and champagne to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Fold half of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten; fold in remaining egg whites.
4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full.
5. Bake about 15 minutes for 2-1/2-inch cupcakes (10 to 12 minutes for 1-3/4-inch cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.
6. Place jam in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Insert the tip into the top of each cooled cupcake. Squeeze about 1 teaspoon of the jam into the center of each 2-1/2-inch cupcake and about 1/2 teaspoon into the center of each 1-3/4-inch cupcake. Stack small cupcakes on top of large cupcakes, frosting between layers with Wedding Cake Frosting.
7. Insert a long wooden skewer through centers of cupcakes to hold in place. Using a flat spatula and/or a pastry bag fitted with a star or round tip, frost and decorate cupcake stacks. Remove skewers from cupcakes; cover holes with frosting. Sprinkle with glitter, luster dust, and/or candy pearls as desired. Makes 18 to 20 mini wedding cakes.
1. In a very large bowl (6- to 7-quart or make in two batches) beat shortening, vanilla, and almond extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 10 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in the 1/2 cup champagne. Gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar. Beat in additional champagne until frosting reaches spreading or piping consistency.