Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cake Required

A 21st birthday is a good example. A friend asked me to bake a cake for her daughter’s milestone birthday. She likes Goldschlager (cinnamon schnapps), but I could only come up with carrot cake as a way to incorporate it into a baking assignment. For some reason that just didn’t seem appropriate for a 21st birthday celebration, so I went with Pink Champagne Cake with pastry cream filling and champagne-buttercream frosting, and decided to gift her a bottle of Goldschlager to enjoy as she pleased.

I had time before Bake Day, so I dug out one of my saved oatmeal canisters and dressed it up a little.

I was playing with beads and leather cord this week, so I made her a funky necklace as well.

As usual with a cake I have weeks to think about, I gathered up all my ingredients and decorating options -- sprinkles, ribbon, tissue, decorative paper. I never know how I’m going to use it until it comes time to assemble it, but looking at it for a while sometimes helps stir my creativity.

Bake Day was a workday, so the night before I did some prep. I’ve been reading food memoirs lately, so the term "mise en place" comes to mind. Dry ingredients were sifted and measured, pans were greased, floured, and parchment papered, butter was brought to room temperature.

The recipe called for liquid food coloring. I use gel coloring, but I’m always unsure how much to use when recipes call for liquid. I found a Red Velvet Cake recipe that called for 2 T of gel coloring. I wanted a delicate pink cake, so I used just 1 tsp. It was really pink!

Adding the champagne, hoping to lighten it up a bit.

Not much.

Still hot pink!

I found the three layers in combination with the silky pastry cream made for an unstable cake, and I needed some wooden skewers. I was out, so I stole a couple from an unused sushi mat.

Gerbera Daisies to class it up a bit…

…and some candles, because 21 is still young enough to be okay with The Birthday Song.

I received a text from the Birthday Girl after she and her friends had cut into it..."Pink-o-licious, tangy champagney goodness, delectable, creamy, decadent -- my friends loved it!"

Happy Birthday, Rachel!


  1. Juline the cake is Beautiful! And so are the decorations. We are doing a v-day party and this would be perfect for it, except that I don't have champagne. Would you post the recipe for the pastry cream please? I'm always looking for something to fill cakes with other than buttercream. Thanks!

  2. Gerbera Daisies make everything better! Even though it looked awesome already.....

  3. Its my cake!
    Juline, everything you touch turns out so beautiful!
    This is the prettiest, fanciest cake I have ever had. All my friends loved it; I loved it. Champagne is my favorite and perfect for my 21st birthday! It is nicer than anything I could have imagined!

    Thank you so much!

    ps These are way nicer pictures then I the ones I took.

    Rachel Harvey