Thank you to the wonderful authors of Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen for the guest post opportunity. It’s great to be here!
When I started the first book of my new series, there were a couple recipes I just knew I had to include. The title of the book is If Fried Chicken Could Fly, so, of course, I included a fried chicken recipe. But there was another recipe, one that I’d been trying to duplicate for years that I really, really wanted to add.
A couple blocks from my high-school-and-college years’ home in Des Moines, Iowa, was a place called Barbara’s Bakery. It was only a short time after we moved to Des Moines that I found Barbara’s and their amazing “Champagne Cake.” I fell in cake-love at first bite. I left Des Moines after college, and I have craved that cake ever since. As I finished If Fried Chicken Could Fly I put some extra effort into trying to duplicate Barbara’s recipe, but it was to no avail. I did come up with a yummy champagne cookie that I included in the book, but, sadly, the cake just didn’t come together.
However, even after the book was turned in, I wasn’t able to give up the quest.
And surprising even myself, I think I finally got it! Okay, well, not “it” exactly. Once I quit trying to duplicate Barbara’s amazing recipe and just focused on creating something that tasted so delicious that it stood on its own, a recipe came together. And the craziest part of it all was that it turned out to be incredibly simple. I mean, really simple. Box cake mix simple, in fact. I’m thrilled to share it today on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen.
Here’s Paige’s (Not-Barbara’s)
Shockingly Simple Champagne Cake recipe:
1 package white cake mix
(You need a “three egg” mix. I just use Betty’s, and it has pudding in the mix.)
1 (3 1/2 oz.) package white chocolate pudding mix (Adding this ingredient is what I think magnifies all the delicious flavors. It’s subtle, but I can tell it’s there.)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup chilled champagne
(I don’t even like the taste of champagne, but I LOVE what it does to a cake. And, I like my champagne-cake champagne like I like my bubblegum: cheap, pink and sweet.)
Red food coloring
1 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons champagne
Silver dragees (edible/decorative balls – some people like silver edible glitter, but I’m team-dragee all the way.)
Red food coloring
That’s it! Those are the only ingredients you need.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of two 9 inch pans.
Except for the food coloring, put all the cake ingredients into a bowl. Stir to combine, beat until blended, and then beat for 4 minutes at low speed. While you’re beating at low speed, add some drops of red food coloring until you achieve a nice pink. I use gel food coloring and it takes me a good four drops to get to pink.
Bake in the two greased and floured pans at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes and then turn out to cool on rack.
After cake is completely cooled, place all frosting ingredients except for the food coloring into a bowl. Beat to combine and then start adding drops of food coloring until you again have a nice pink – for me this is also about 4 good-sized drops. Beat until stiff peaks form.
Spread the frosting in between the layers:
Then frost the entire cake, and sprinkle the dragees on top:
So simple! And pretty!
The recipe also makes about 30 cupcakes. I cut the frosting in half for cupcakes which leaves me scraping the bowl for the last few, but I find it’s wise not to have extra frosting hanging around. I can’t resist the stuff.
If you don’t want to include champagne in the frosting, you can substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla per every three tablespoons of champagne.
Since the frosting is of the whipped cream variety, I keep the final cakes or cupcakes chilled.
This is a great cake for pretty much any occasion. In fact, I’ll probably make one in a heart shape for Valentine’s Day. I might even try a green shamrock in March.
Thanks, everyone, for letting me stop by today. I’m sending you all happy cooking, baking, eating and reading wishes!
And, of course - Cheers!