Today is the last day in our 10-part series of recognising and sharing some of the recipes that have inspired, intrigued and challenged me from blogs I love. I thought it would be good to finish the series with a bit of a celebration and there’s no better way than with a sparkle.
I promised that at some stage during our 10-day around the world tour that we would make it to New York and that is where we find ourselves on the last day of the series.
We are with Joanne from Eats Well With Others. Joanne is a 20-something about-to-be-married vegetarian super-achiever. She has a science degree, is studying medicine, works in a lab playing with petrie dishes and test tubes, runs marathons, and blogs a self-developed recipe almost every day.
I’ve been following her blog for a couple of years and have made quite a few vegetarian meals for my family from her bank of recipes. When I shared on my blog that Arabella was heading to New York all by herself, Joanne sent me an email offering my daughter her contact details in case she needed them. I thought that was so kind. Then, when I at short notice, had to pack my bags and race to Arabella’s rescue, I asked Joanne if we could meet for lunch.
We met for lunch at a pizzeria very close to where Joanne works and this was where I had my first ever authentic New York pizza – they’re so good! We chatted for about an hour and it was quite surreal that we knew so much about each other but had never met. Clearly we both share a lot of ourselves on our blogs!
After lunch Joanne had to go back to work and I was on my way to meet Arabella at Tom’s Restaurant, the diner made famous for being featured on Seinfeld. I thought I’d have to catch a cab but Joanne showed me how to get to Central Park where I could walk through the park and then it would be a short taxi ride to the restaurant. This turned out to be one of my best days in New York as it was a beautiful day and an absolute treat to walk through and experience the park.
About a year ago Joanne posted a cake that when I saw it, I had to stop scrolling and just pause on the image. The cake was in the palest shade of pink, covered in piped roses and just so pretty. A main ingredient in the cake is champagne and so immediately I thought this would be perfect for any sort of celebration.
This cake might look difficult but it really isn’t. It also doesn’t demand a lot of your time; I took my little guy to school then shopped for the ingredients, came home and made the cakes. When they were cooling I made the frosting. Frosting the cake doesn’t take long at all and I had the cake well finished long before school pick-up time. It’s actually very satisfying to put something like this together so quickly.
While a lot of people think I have a lot of experience with a piping bag, I’m actually don’t. I tend to work more with fondant than I do with frosting. On Joanne’s blog post there’s a link to a tutorial you can do to help with making these roses. It says to use a 1M Wilton nozzle. I went to four shops looking for a 1M and it was a fruitless exercise. I used my star nozzle and while I think the roses look okay, I don’t think they’re quite right. Before I make this again I’ll buy a 1M on-line.
This cake requires a lot of frosting. You need a little to stick the base of the cake to the board. Then you need a good pile of frosting between the two layers of cake. Then the cake needs to be completely covered, not too thickly but so you can’t tell what colour the cake is. Then you need to have enough leftover to make the roses. I made one and a half times the quantity listed on Joanne’s blog because there’s nothing worse than running out halfway through a job, particularly when you need to match colours.
Don’t stress about the roses. Unlike working with fondant, piping is very forgiving. I piped the bottom row of roses, stood back and didn’t admire my work. I removed them with my metal spatula and started again. It took me a while to work out how big to make each rose and what the distance should be between each rose. The same thing happened with the roses on top of the cake. I didn’t like how they looked so removed them and started again.
Your cake will be left with a lot of ‘dead space’. This can be filled in with a swirl of piping. Try to swirl it in the direction of the same direction as the roses.
I hope you will try this. It’s a cake that’s super-light and moist, the frosting isn’t too sweet, it’s very pretty and from start to finish it can be made in less than a day.
- For the cakes:
- ¾ cup (175g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups plain flour
- 1½ tspns baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 cups champagne, room temperature
- For the frosting:
- 600gms unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 3 cups icing sugar
- ¼ cup champagne
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- dash of pink food colouring
- For the cakes:
- Preheat oven to 175C (350F).
- Grease and line 2 8" (20cm) round cake tins.
- Cream butter and sugar in a large mixer until light and fluffly.
- Gradually add egg whites.
- Add vanilla extract.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add alternately to butter mixture with champagne, starting and ending with the dry mix.
- Mix only until just combined.
- Pour into prepared cake tins. Place in the oven for 35 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Rest for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
- For the frosting:
- Beat butter in a large mixer until as white as possible.
- Gradually add icing sugar, beating well between additions.
- Add champagne, vanilla and salt.
- Carefully add tint remembering it's easy to add more so exercise restraint - you don't want this to be a bilious cake.
- Continue to beat for about five minutes until frosting is all the same colour and light and fluffy.
- To Assemble:
- Smear centre of cake platter/cake board with a little frosting. Place one of the cakes upside down on the board. Gently press down. The smear of frosting will help the cake stick to the board and not slide off during transportation!
- Cover top of cake in a ½cm of frosting.
- Place remaining cake on top and lightly press down (fairy fingers).
- Cover entire cake in a coating of frosting. This doesn't have to be perfect as the roses will cover cake entirely.
- Attach 1M Wilton nozzle to piping bag and fill bag with remaining frosting.
- Pipe a row of roses around the bottom of the cake. Stand back and admire your work. If you're not happy, remove roses with a metal spatula and start again.
- Place a second layer of roses on top of the first row.
- Pipe roses around the edge of the top of the cake. There should be room for three roses to share the centre of the cake.
- Fill any gaps with a swirl of piped frosting.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
If you would like to follow Joanne, you can find her at Eats Well With Others or follow her on Instagram.
And that completes the series. I’ve had a great time and will now start preparing for Series 2. If you’d like to see more of the series, here are the links to the posts involved…
The Orgasmic Chef’s Asparagus and Potato Tart
The Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard Melting Moments
The Intolerant Chef’s Bundy and Coke Braised Beef Ribs
Kitchen Riffs Pickled Watermelon Rind
That Skinny Chick Can Bake’s Flourless Double Chocolate Cake
Just One Cookbook’s Crispy Baked Chicken with Tonkatsu Sauce
Fig Jam and Lime Cordial’s Cracker Mania
My Kitchen Stories’ Parmesan Crusted Lamb Cutlets
Not Quite Nigella’s How to Make Bacon