It’s celebration time! I mentioned earlier this year that Pass the Cookies has been up and running for one year now, and what a better way to celebrate than with a naked champagne cake with rose buttercream and some beautiful flowers? If dreams were photos, these would be them.
Sometimes I look back and realize how quickly time passes. I don’t always recognize it until time has flown past and I’m left wondering where the days, weeks and months have gone. Last year I struggled to get to bed by midnight, still holding onto college hours even though I am past my college years and fully in the working world with a non-negotiable early wake-up time. I always try to squeeze more and more into my days and cross every single thing off my to-do list. I can function on little sleep better than some, but I know I shouldn’t. When Will is up late studying, I rationalize postponing my bedtime because he is awake too. It doesn’t make sense and it isn’t a good solution. He truly has a reason to stay awake – to do well in school. My reason is to keep working on things that can usually wait until the next day. I fall into a habit of going to bed late, just to feel exhausted the next day. I tell myself that I should go to bed earlier, but then the clock ticks later and later and I feel like I need to get one more thing done, just one more item crossed off the list. And so the routine continues.
Because of this chronic lack of sleep, one of my new year’s resolutions was to be in bed by midnight almost every night. I cut myself a little slack on the weekends and on vacations, but otherwise I really try to set everything aside earlier and let my body rest. Life goes by quickly and I don’t need to spend it in a state of exhaustion. I realize that I need to take care of myself. Sometimes I need to let myself relax, to stop and smell the roses every now and then.
So, this champagne cake with rose buttercream is a celebration of the first year that has elapsed on Pass the Cookies, but also a celebration of the years to come in life. The fruity dessert is a token of jubilee and repose, at the same time. The champagne layers truly taste like the bubbly, celebratory drink, and the rose buttercream reminds me of walking through a beautiful arboretum on a warm spring day. It is the perfect cake for any celebration; wonderful for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and blogiversaries. Add a bit of pink to the frosting and it becomes a beautiful layer cake for the upcoming Valentine’s holiday.
Make this cake for yourself, share it with friends, and remind yourself to soak in the year. Lighten up on your long list of to-dos and take time to immerse yourself in life as it is today. Buy yourself some beautiful flowers, just because they make you happy. Indulge in a slice of champagne cake to celebrate your accomplishments, even if they weren’t on your list, and stop to smell the rose buttercream while you’re at it. We all need a little celebration and a little relaxation. Thank you, champagne cake with rose buttercream, for giving us both.
Note: I picked up rosewater from a local Mediterranean grocery store, but you may also be able to find it on the international aisle of a regular grocery store, or at a specialty grocery store.
Champagne Cake with Rose Buttercream
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
2 cups sweet champagne or prosecco/sparkling white wine*
1 teaspoon vanilla
*This cake has a distinct champagne flavor, so use a champagne that you like. Make sure you get a sweet champagne, as dry (brut) champagne will make the cake tangy. If you don’t want to use alcohol, try ginger ale or sparkling white grape juice. For a pink twist, try pink champagne or rosé.
3 sticks butter, softened
1 pound powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon rosewater
1-4 tablespoons milk
pink food coloring (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans (or three 6-inch pans) with nonstick cooking spray and coat with flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar. Add egg whites one at a time and beat well after each addition.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
Alternately add the flour mixture and champagne into the butter and sugar bowl in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again until the batter is uniform. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cakes. Let the cakes cool in their pans for a few minutes before turning over onto a wire rack. Let them cool completely before assembling or icing the cake.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, until combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and food coloring, if using. If the frosting is too stiff or too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. I like to add one tablespoon to have thicker frosting to use between the layers and to pipe frosting. If I am spreading frosting all over the outside of the cake I add more milk to make the frosting easier to spread.
Use the frosting right after you make it, or store it in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you store it in the fridge, bring to room temperature before using, and beat on low speed until smooth.
I chose to make this a naked cake, with only a sheen of frosting in some spots on the outside of the cake. If you decorate it this way you will have leftover frosting (but I’ve never heard complaints about that ;) ) The frosting recipe should make enough for you to frost the outside of the cake with a full layer of icing if you don’t want a naked cake.
Champagne cake slightly adapted from here.
Isn’t she a beaut?