My circle of friends is lucky enough to have a cake girl. She’s down to bake like a madwoman for any occasion, and if it’s your birthday and you want cake, Rachel is ON IT. She recently bought a house AND had a birthday, so I took it upon myself to bring a birthday cake to her housewarming party. Making cake for the cake girl is the opposite of “not intimidating,” but I think my boozy cake turned out okay. I’m pretty sure she hasn’t disowned me yet.
I’m sure this is probably tacky, but I used a recipe out of her birthday present. I prefer to think of it as quality control and not tacky pre-using of a gift. Right?
Anyhow, I made a test layer a few days beforehand. I had never baked with champagne, and I was also nervous about whether such a cake–by gosh, without egg yolks!–would be moist. And it was–it made a delicious, light white cake with a hint of unique champagne flavor. I decided I wanted even more such flavor, so I sought out these TEENY TINY little bottles of LorAnn flavoring extracts/oils at my local cake-making supply store. It was worthwhile–I definitely think substituting vanilla extract with this turned up the flavor I was looking for. It’s extremely potent (I don’t recommend tasting it “just to see”), so 1/4 of the amount called for for vanilla extract does the job.
But of course, there’s lots of the real thing in the recipe too. You don’t use the whole bottle, which means–wooo!–getting your DRANK on while baking. I like how it says “twist to reseal,” like I would ever reseal. Andre, you are a crazy mofo.
Fluffy, delicious white batter and a bottle of $4.94 champagne.
This is how it should look when done–golden brown and pulling away from the pan sides a bit.
Cakey and perfect.
The frosting… The frosting is a different story. I do not recommend using the recipe in Booze Cakes, unfortunately. It ended up so thin–thinner than cake batter. Almost like yogurt. I ended up making plain buttercream and adding tons and tons of powdered sugar to stiffen things up. Then, lemon juice to cut the cloying sweetness of the whole thing.
By the time the saga was over, I ended up with something entirely different from the original intention. Frankenfrosting! All this just a couple hours before the party. Does reading this make you want to cry a little? Maybe it’s just me.
Along with racism, sexism and homophobia, frosting cake is the 4th thing that makes me straight-up crazy. Goodness. I can’t even. But I think I’ve learned a few things about making it a little less frustrating:
-Don’t strive for baby-butt smooth perfection. Just don’t.
-Cover the cake with a very thin layer first; don’t worry at all about crumbs. Put this pre-frosted cake in the freezer for a bit to firm up. It makes the second coating a lot easier and crumb-free.
-Frost all in one direction. Going back and forth picks up crumbs.
You probably knew all this already… I did not.
There. It looks perfectly fine… Just tell yourself that. Positive self-talk.
I know, I know. But it’s a miracle I even got to this point. And then I sighed a big sigh of relief.
(adapted from Booze Cakes)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. LorAnn champagne flavoring oil (or 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract)
6 egg whites
2 cups champagne