Week 5 – Bye (Celebrating with Pink Champagne Cake!)

Image-1 (1).pngWhat a game this past Sunday at Soldier Field…and what a win!  This week is the Bear’s bye week, so no game = no Thursday treats.  However, I’m celebrating in style and making Pink Champagne cupcakes with Pink Champagne Buttercream frosting!

This recipe was inspired by one of my best friends, Tom Hackett.  Last year, Hackett turned 50 and for his birthday dinner party he asked me to make a champagne cake.  I thought it was an interesting request , as I had never heard of this kind of cake before.  He said he googled what kind of cake was popular in 1967 (the year he was born) and then sent me a recipe that he had found which called for all sorts of layers  (champagne, strawberries, chocolate, Bavarian cream…).  I took one look at it and said “there’s too much going on in this cake for me”.  So, I started doing research of my own, and came across the one that I am sharing today.  I was so attracted to the picture of it, and then saw that the cake itself was made with egg whites, and a full cup of pink champagne in the batter, as well as another 1/4 cup in the frosting.  It looked and sounded dreamy! I got Hackett’s approval to make this more basic and boozy one… and the results and reviews were astounding!  Everyone at the dinner party went nuts over it, and from that night alone, I got requests to make it for 3 other guests that were either having parties or birthdays that summer.  My girlfriend from work even requested that I make mini cakes for her wedding. 2017 definitely brought back the Pink Champagne Cake from 1967…at least in my kitchen. Hackett and I started a mini trend here on the north side of Chicago! So, I am making it again today for one of my dearest girlfriend’s 50th birthdays, except I am making it into cupcakes… she has 4 kids and I don’t think it’s too boozy for kids to enjoy, but you can taste the champagne ever so subtly.  And there is a lot of sugar in the buttercream!  I think you guys are gonna love this cake too. It just screams “CELEBRATE!”.

Here are my few tips when making this cake:

  1. If you convert this to standard size cupcakes, bake at 350 for about 15 minutes – test with a toothpick – it should come out clean, if not done, go another 2-3 minutes
  2. I use salted butter in both the cake batter and the buttercream frosting – again, just my preference – and I still add the salt that is listed on the ingredients
  3. This batter will be light and fluffy, so I like to use a larger sized cookie scoop to fill the cupcake liners (shown in picture) – this helps speed things up with no mess
  4. I use just a very small drop of pink coloring for the batter and the frosting – and I use AmeriColor gel – just put a dab  on a toothpick and then into your batter.  I have used  way too much coloring in the past and then they look weird and bright…still taste just as good, but you know – we eat with our eyes first, so I  like a really light and pretty shade of pink for both the batter, and especially the frosting
  5. The recipe calls for Vegetable oil, but I find that Canola oil works just as well – so whatever you have on hand is just fine
  6. I use a little more vanilla than the recipe calls for – I’d say about 3 teaspoons vs. 2
  7. The brand of Pink Champagne that you use is really up to you. I used to use Andre but then for some reason switched to Barefoot Bubbly Moscato – as I think the Moscato is sweeter than regular dry pink bubbly, and feel it goes well in a sweet dessert recipe.   I’ve also made this cake for a wedding and used white champagne…but my favorite is still the pink!

    Ok, here is the recipe for this cake and buttercream frosting, which comes from “Melissa” and her cake site is called “My Cake School”.  I liked it so much that I joined the sight for an annual fee so that I could have access to all recipes and video tutorials.  I’ve made a few other cakes and frostings from her… they are all very, very good! Plus her video tutorials are great and informative.  I need practice on my decorating skills but since I’m not in the cake business, I’ve got plenty of time to improve.  I hope you enjoy this cake for your next celebration!Delicious Pink Champagne Cake  And here is the buttercream frosting recipe: Pink Champagne Buttercream Frosting

Thank you for reading my blog and please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.

And as always…GO BEARS!!!

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2018 will mark my 7th Season making treats and baking for the Chicago Bears. You might be thinking, how does one land that gig? Well, let me tell you. It’s riveting… My younger brother, Danny, works full-time for the Bears. Our entire family have been life-long Bears fans, btw. Back in the summer of 2012, he came to me and said, “Hey, we need someone to make treats for the team. Do you think you can do it? Because my boss said, Dan, you’ve got all those sisters, can’t one of them bake? So, I volunteered you.” My first response was, “YES, but I don’t know how to bake”. I mean, up until that point, the only things I remember ever baking were 1) S’mores Bars back in the 80’s off a recipe on the back of the Golden Grahams cereal box. Come to think of it now, I don’t even think those things went into the oven – so technically that wasn’t baking. And 2) Good old Nestle Toll House cookies – which NEVER turned out the same each time I baked them and it drove me nuts and got me to HATE baking for that very reason. I was always in love with cooking, though. I was the gal who threw dinner parties often and provided an obnoxious array of hors d’oeuvres and wine – that’s more my thing. Side note: I learned the hard way that baking and wine don’t mix. Ha! However, I was honored and excited to have been asked to step up to the plate for this little baking / treat-making gig, for THE CHICAGO BEARS, no less. So my answer was an enthusiastic, YES! I figured I still had a month before the first regular season game, which is when the “treat days” begin – every Thursday during the regular season (not preseason). So, I hit the streets in search of good recipes and then got to work test-baking in the kitchen for the rest of that summer. As I became more internet savvy, I started following lots of baking bloggers and watching video tutorials. I would go to parties and if I tasted something that I thought was exceptional, I would never hesitate to ask for the recipe. Baking for the Bears is always in the back of my mind when eating desserts. I now have an arsenal of treat recipes worthy of offering at a bake shop, if I do say so myself;) . I started getting requests for my pound cake, outside of Baking for the Bears, and my Double Chocolate Chip Sea Salt cookies have been quoted as “The best cookies in the world” by a well-known player, as well as friends, family and neighbors. One of the first things I did was perfect a cookie of my own that comes out pretty consistently crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I no longer rely on the old Toll-House recipe. It’s the one thing I never get tired of baking. The guys get them every week. With that said, this season, I plan to blog my recipes each week, and share with you whatever it is I am making for the Bears. I’ll also give you tried & true feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and any fun comments that the players, staff, friends & co-workers might have regarding the treat of the week. My office colleagues love it when football season rolls around, because I typically find new recipes and test-bake on Sundays to bring in on Mondays for critical reviews. From there, I decide if they are Bear-worthy for Thursday Treat Days at Halas Hall. I hope you will check in periodically and enjoy my blog. I’m super excited for the 2018 Bears football season both on the field and in the kitchen! GO BEARS! This is gonna be a good season… I can feel it!

2 thoughts on “Week 5 – Bye (Celebrating with Pink Champagne Cake!)

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