Cheese and Chive Herb Bread

Each year as my garden matures, the herb garden expands as well. Slowly, the herb bed has inched deeper into the precious sunny real-estate and has started replacing my lawn. I add one or two more herb plants a year and build my dream herb garden. One herb plant that is thriving is my chive plant. Fortunately, it is not growing out of control, but remains nicely contained in a tall spiky mound.

Cheese and Chives Herb Bread

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

The plant grows without a lot of disturbance because I rarely use fresh chives in my cooking. However, it needed a thinning and removal of all the spent flowers before they spread their seeds. Afterwards, I was left with a large bundle of chives and a new challenge, how to use up all the chives before they go bad. This is the type of challenge I enjoy, and inspires me to look for new ideas.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

I wanted to make something different, yet easily prepared and quick to finish. What I dreamed of was a recipe from Season 3 of The Great British Baking Show, Ian’s quick bread with wild garlic. While watching the episode, the smell of the wild garlic and bread traveled across the ocean and through my television, and I have craved it ever since. Unfortunately, I could not find his recipe. Rather, I came upon a recipe, which although is not British in nature, has that oniony-bready fix I was looking for.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

This recipe is a savory bread with chives and cheddar cheese by Dorie Greenspan on the website, Serious Eats. It was exactly what I was craving, a savory quick bread to unload my bundle of chives, and give me some immediate satisfaction. I slightly adapted her recipe, and used Gruyère cheese, chives, garlic chives, lemon thyme and nixed the walnuts.

Dorie explains in her recipe; the French refer to just about everything made in a pan as a cake. A loaf such as this, is called, “cake salé” (meaning, salty or savory cake). This is a very light and cake-like bread that is perfect as a snack or appetizer paired with wine, beer or any cocktail. Like cake, it is light and airy in texture, but it is rich in flavor from the cheese and herbs. I also enjoyed this herb bread for lunch as avocado toast with lemon thyme and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

As Dorie recommends, this is a bread recipe to play around with. Use the dough as your foundation and switch up the cheese and herbs as you wish. A traditional cake salé recipe from France uses Emmentaller, Gruyère, or a mixture with Parmesan. She made her recipe with cheddar cheese and chives for a local US inspired loaf. She also recommends other add-in substitutes like nuts, diced ham, olives, pesto and cooked vegetables.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

More appetizer ideas:

Crispy Potato Skins- 2 ways

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon

Asparagus with Orange Mayo

Making this cheese and chive herb bread is an amazing sensory treat. Every time I snipped, spread and stirred the chives, their scent came forward like an herbal wave engulfing the dough. Once in the oven, the smell of the baking herb bread filled my house with comforting aromas of melting cheese, bright onions and baking bread.

I love it when I discover something new and it turns out to be a smash hit. This recipe is so easy, I am sure to make it several times and continue to personalize it. I know something is delicious when every 5 minutes my husband and son kept repeating, “Oh, this is soo good. This is really good”. This is no exaggeration. It was all I could do to keep them from eating the whole loaf.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

Cheesy Herb Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Category: Snack or appetizer

Cuisine: French - American

About 12-14 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice of bread

Cheesy Herb Bread

A savory quick bread filled with cheese and fresh herbs makes for a wonderful snack or appetizer. This pairs exceptionally well served with chilled wine or cold beer.

This recipe is adaptable to suit any mood or taste. Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan or other hard cheeses are great fillers with a variety of fresh herbs. I like chives with lemon thyme, but basil or any combination of herbs will taste great. Anything goes with this bread.

The recipe is slightly adapted form Savory Cheddar-Chive Bread by Dorie Greenspan on www.seriouseas.com

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup (268 g) All-purpose flour
  • 1 TB Baking powder
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Kosher salt (amount of salt depends on the cheese and other add ins)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground white pepper
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz (75 g) coarsely grated cheese like Gruyere or cheddar
  • 2 oz (50 g) diced cheese like Gruyere or cheddar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) minced chives or other herbs
  • 1 - 2 TB chopped lemon thyme

Instructions

  1. Set the oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 375˚F / 190˚C / Gas Mark 5, and generously butter a loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper until evenly combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl add the eggs, then whisk until well combined and somewhat frothy. Add the milk and olive oil and whisk together.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Mix until everything is just combined. You do not want to over work the dough and there is no need for the dough to be thoroughly mixed together. Stir until everything is just mixed, it won't be smooth.
  5. Stir in all the cheese, herbs and any other add ins you have, like chopped walnuts. The dough is thick, but carefully work in the cheese and herbs until evenly distributed. Don't overwork the dough.
  6. Scrape into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The bread is done when it has a golden brown crust, and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of your pan and remove the bread from the pan. Cool the loaf on the rack until it is at room temperature.
  8. Best eaten the day it is made, but it will keep for a day, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored on the counter.
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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette

There is nothing like eating a fresh ripe nectarine or any ripe fruit for that matter. Its sweet perfume and the soft give of its’ flesh, informs me that I am holding a delicious and ripe nectarine. I love the warm colors. Each nectarine has a unique and variegated mosaic of rich sunset colors. No two nectarines are the same. The bright perfume and one bite will tell you just how ripe the nectarine is. As the juice drips down my chin and elbow I forego all good manners just to get every drop of its sweet juice. To eat a fresh ripe nectarine, is tasting the fruit at its brightest and sweetest. I am in awe of Mother Earth and her many nourishing gifts.

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette reicpe

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette recipe

Fresh fruit is refreshing and delicious, but sometimes extra preparation and cooking will reward you with a sweeter and more concentrated fruit-filled flavor.  A simple baked fruit tart is an easy and delicious choice for a summer dessert.  One of my favorite baked fruit dessert is a galette. The free form structure of a fruit galette is just my style. I love pie, but I am never satisfied with how mine look. I feel a lot of pressure to present a pristine and detailed pie crust without any flaws. Whenever I try to make a pie, I feel like my fingers just get in the way and I lack the extra-fine motor skills to perform such neat and detailed work. I know practice makes perfect, but the simplicity and informality of a galette appeals to me.

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette reicpe

 

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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Taste of Mexico: Double Coconut Pie

Every celebration deserves a fun dessert, and for Cinco de Mayo I discovered Coconut Pie. This pie is from the Yucatecan region of Mexico with a nutty crust and a creamy fresh coconut filling. This is not a custard pie, more like a giant nutty coconut macaroon. Coconut pie has a nice balance of sweet, nutty and light caramel flavors with crumbly and chewy textures.

This recipe originated from Rick Bayless, Yucatecan-Style Fresh Coconut Pie, in Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen. My intention was to make his coconut pie recipe as directed with fresh coconut, then adapt it. Unfortunately, my first pie did not work out as I planned, and left me with more unanswered questions than not.

Double coconut pie recipe

 

The truth is, after cracking open my coconut, the shell had moldy looking spots on the inside. This unappetizing vision shattered my tropical dream and forced me to consider if the coconut was going bad. So, instead of reveling in fresh coconut perfume and fantasizing about sunny Mexican beaches, I scoured the world wide web. Google, “Do coconuts go bad?” The unanimous answer is, yes. Normally I am up for any culinary adventure, but this experience left me feeling there was too much work involved for something with a high chance of not working out.

Double coconut pie recipe

Double coconut pie recipe

Nowadays, coconut products are widely available in all stores. Purchased coconut water and dried shredded coconut may not be fresh, but they have their merits. The biggest merit being, I could confidently buy them seeing the expiration date in clear view. But more importantly, buying the coconut water, coconut flour, and shredded coconut made it easier to make this delicious pie.

About Double Coconut Pie

Traditionally, Pay de Coco, Estilo Yucateco has an almond and breadcrumb crust and filled with grated fresh coconut, slivered almonds and condensed milk. Rick Bayless altered the traditional coconut pie recipe by replacing the condensed milk with a reduction of fresh coconut water and heavy cream. He essentially made a condensed milk, but with extra coconut flavor.

I liked his idea of using coconut water, but because I planned to buy it, I needed to figure out how much to use. Based on the amount of coconut water that dribbled out of my expired coconut, I estimated a 1/2 cup of coconut water. You could add more, 3/4 cup, but keep in mind the time needed to reduce the cream will take longer.

Double coconut pie recipe

Gluten Free Double Coconut Pie

As much as I wanted to make a traditional Mexican dessert, the original crust seemed dry.  Additionally, I wanted to make a gluten-free pie. Alice Medrich has a delicious gluten-free pie crust recipe in Flavor Flours, using coconut flour and shredded coconut. I believed if I adapted her recipe and substituted it for the traditional one, the integrity of the Yucatecan pie would still be intact. Also, this gluten-free coconut pie crust adds extra cookie-like texture and doubles the coconut flavor. I included ground almonds in the crust with the shredded coconut to keep the warm nutty flavor of the traditional coconut pie recipe.

Double coconut pie recipe

Double coconut pie recipe

Double coconut pie recipe

Poblano Chili Cream Sauce with Grilled Chicken recipe

Hungry for more Mexican Food? Try Poblano Chili Cream Sauce with Grilled Chicken

With my recipe adjustments, I made coconut pie easier to make, yet maintain the appeal of the original recipe. By using store-bought products I cut down on the time commitment, and the risk of buying a bad coconut. If I ever live in a tropical environment, I will certainly make it with fresh coconut. Until then, my tropical daydreams will continue while enjoying coconut pie. Not only is this a great dessert to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, it will be well received any time of the year.

Double coconut pie recipe

 

Taste of Mexico: Double Coconut Pie

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Category: Dessert

Cuisine: Mexican American

8 servings

Taste of Mexico: Double Coconut Pie

This is a luscious pie and a great combination of a coconut and almond crust with a creamy coconut filling. A double coconut treat. It is not too sweet and had wonderful coconut flavor. The original recipe is made with fresh coconut, but I adapted it to be easier to make. Feel free to make this with fresh coconut if you wish.

Best served warm and with a dollop of creme fraiche or ever so slightly sweetened whipped cream. Also, delicious drizzled with melted dark chocolate.

You will need a 9 inch / 23 cm tart pan with a removable bottom.

The pie recipe is adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen by Rick Bayless. The pie crust recipe is adapted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich.

Ingredients

  • Pie Crust:
  • 1 cup / 122 g almond slivers
  • 1/2 cup / 112 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 40 g coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tb/ 50 g unsweetened dried shredded coconut
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 Tbs / 85 g unsalted butter - very soft
  • 1 large egg white
    Coconut Filling
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml coconut water
  • 1 cup / 250 ml heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup / 147 g granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cup grated dried coconut - flaky coconut 1 1/4 cup / 94 g, and shredded coconut 1 1/4 cup / 105 g - plus more flaky coconut for garnish
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

    Pie Crust
  1. Preheat the oven for 325F / 160C / Gas Mark 3. Place the almonds on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until lightly golden, about 7-10 minutes. Halfway through the toasting, stir the almonds and turn the sheet pan from front to back.
  2. Once toasted, measure 1/2 cup / 61 grams of the almonds and set aside for the pie filling.
  3. Put the remaining almonds and the sugar in a food processor and pulse until the almonds have a fine texture.
  4. In a medium size bowl, mix the almond-sugar, coconut flour, shredded coconut, baking powder, salt, softened butter and egg white until well combined. Your clean hands will do the best job of getting everything all mixed through.
  5. Press the coconut / almond mixture evenly across the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan. The sides should be thicker than the bottom of the pan.
  6. Place the pan on a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or just starting to turn golden at the edge. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside.
    Pie Filling
  1. Raise the oven temperature to 350F / 175 C/ Gas Mark 4
  2. While the crust is baking, simmer the coconut water, heavy cream and granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the liquid to 1 cup / 250 ml. It could take from 15-20 minutes from the time the cream reaches a good simmer. The cream will become thicker and lightly golden. And bubbles will be larger and less foamy. I measure it in a heat proof liquid measure just to make sure.
  3. Add the reduced cream to a mixing bowl, then add the reserved slivered almonds, shredded and flaky coconut, egg yolks, and vanilla. Stir until well combined and spoon into the pie crust. Make sure the filling is up against the sides. Place the pie on a sheet pan then bake in the middle rack in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes until lightly golden. Check the pie half way through and make sure the crust is not browning too much. Cover the edge with foil if needed
  4. While the pie is baking, scatter a couple of handfuls of flaky coconut on a sheet pan and toast in the oven with the pie, until it is just beginning to brown in the oven. Watch the coconut carefully so it does not get too dark and burn. About 4-5 minutes. Slide the toasted coconut on a plate to cool. Set aside.
  5. Once finished, cool the pie on a wire rack for 10 minutes then slip off the rim of the tart pan by placing the tart on top of a secure glass, and easily slide the side rim down. This will help prevent the crust from sticking.
  6. The pie slices easier when it is cool or cold, but tastes best warm. If you wish, completely cool the pie or chill it, then slice the pie into serving pieces and warm in the oven.
  7. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes and creme fraiche.
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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread

In many cultures, bread is symbolic for life and sustenance. If there is bread in the house, no one will go hungry. Bread has symbolic meanings in different religions as well. Throughout Europe, Easter bread symbolizes new life and served at breakfast on Easter morning. The history of Easter bread goes back hundreds of years and is enjoyed during a meal at the end of Lent.

During its life cycle the grain of wheat dies and is reborn months later in the form of a spike capable of providing sustenance to human beings. Wheat is the quintessential nutritional plant. It was believed to contain the mystery of life and death and thus it became a sacred plant. One of the essential features of the Neolithic era was plant cultivation. This led to a way of life that had previously been unimaginable and gave birth to new beliefs that completely altered the spiritual universe of humankind.

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread recipe

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread recipe

There are many recipes for Easter bread with a variety of ingredients and shapes. Traditionally, Italians and other Europeans develop their family recipe with the usual ingredients of flour, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, and yeast. Additional ingredients, like oranges and anise are added to the dough. These special ingredients personalize the bread and show what Easter means to the family or town. Every loaf of Easter bread tells a story. The bread means life. The three braids symbolize the elements of the Holy Trinity, and the eggs mean new birth. (Jovina Cooks). The baker becomes the storyteller of their family history and Easter significance.

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread recipe

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread recipe

This Easter bread recipe is slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2012. It is less involved than other traditional recipes because a “starter” is not required. Yet, I kept the shape simple as one long braided loaf decorated with eggs and poppy seeds. Another benefit I learned, is there’s no need to hard boil the eggs before you color them. They cook in the oven with the bread. It is always great to have one less thing to do around any holiday.

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread recipe

Before I researched the history of Easter bread, I believed challah and Easter bread are the same, with the exception of the decorated eggs.  There are similarities, but ultimately they are different breads. Easter bread is made from a sticky dough, has fewer eggs, and is sweeter than challah. Additional ingredients in Easter bread are oranges, anise, and dried fruits or nuts. I also learned Easter bread is similar to Panettone, but has a different shape.

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread recipe

Without question, Easter bread is delicious and fun to make. It is an airy, pleasantly sweet, and fresh tasting bread. I made the bread once with orange zest and fennel pollen, and once without. Both versions produced bread with delicate subtle butter flavor perfect for a delicious breakfast treat. Also, don’t be afraid to eat the eggs as long as the Easter bread has not been sitting unrefrigerated for over 12 hours. As always concerning any egg product, use your common sense.

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread recipe

You should make this bread just to fill your home with its seductive scent. For 24 hours, my house filled with a warm buttery scent causing everyone to perk up and take a break from their work. Joy was in the air. Don’t we all need a break from work, and have a chance to look around? This time of year, there are so many wonderful surprises to discover. New plants and flowers are popping up every day and the sun feels warmer and warmer. I love Spring and the activity of life that comes with it.

Make creamy ricotta to spread on your sweet Easter Bread. A heavenly breakfast of homemade ricotta smeared on homemade bread.  

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread reicpe

I don’t know about you, but whenever I make bread I am happy. Baking bread brings me joy and a great sense of accomplishment. Maybe it is because the touch of dough is so smooth and soft. I love feeling my hands wrap around the supple dough. I tell myself to stop and resist temptation to play with my food. If you find yourself succumbing to this seduction, please stop yourself or you will have tough overworked bread.

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread recipe

At last, Spring is here along with every reason to celebrate new life after a dormant winter. At any time, a loaf of homemade bread brings the promise of life and sustenance for all to enjoy. Without hesitation, the promise of your specially prepared loaf is revealed in the joyful expressions of friends and family. Join the fun and start your Easter celebration at breakfast with sweet Easter bread.

Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread Recipe

 Celebrate with Sweet Easter Bread reicpe

Sweet Easter Bread

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes

Category: Breakfast

Cuisine: Italian

1, 12- 16 inch loaf

Sweet Easter Bread

This is a delicious bread perfect for any breakfast. It is lightly sweet with hints of orange zest and fennel pollen. The eggs will cook perfectly in the oven with the bread for an extra bonus.

Recipe is slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2012. Recipe by Melissa Roberts

Ingredients

    For the Dough
  • 2/3 cup / 150ml whole milk
  • 5 Tbs / 70g granulated sugar- divided
  • 1 3/4 tsp / 1/8oz / 6g active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups / 405 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp / 3 g Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (10 stick) / 113g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tb / 23 g melted butter
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of ground anise or fennel pollen (optional)
  • Poppy Seeds for decorating (optional)
  • 1 egg plus 2 teaspoons of water, mixed (for egg wash)
    For the decorative eggs
  • 5-6 large eggs
  • Food coloring of your choosing

Instructions

    Make the Dough
  1. Heat the milk in a 2-cup microwave safe glass measure in the microwave until the milk reaches 110-115F (43-46C). (Can also heat the milk on the stove in a small sauce pan). Start at 30 seconds and check the temperature of the milk and add 10 seconds until you reach the desired temperature. You do not want it hotter than 115C because the higher temperature will kill the yeast.
  2. Gently stir in 1 tablespoon (13g) of the sugar, and the yeast into the milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes. The milk should get foamy from the yeast. (If the milk does not get foamy your yeast is not active).
  3. Melt the butter and let cool.
  4. Whisk the eggs into the milk and add the cooled melted butter.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the remaining 4 Tb (58g) sugar, all-purpose flour, and Kosher salt, orange zest (optional), and ground anise or fennel pollen (optional). Mix together with a whisk or fork to get the ingredients evenly combined. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  6. On low speed, add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix to get the ingredients combined. Stop and scrape the bowl when necessary. About one minute. Turn the speed up to medium high and mix for 5 minutes until the dough gets soft and silky.
  7. Brush the insides of a medium mixing bowl with the remaining half tablespoon of melted butter. Add the bread dough into the bowl and butter the tops and sides of the dough with the remaining butter. Turn the dough around in the bowl to get a good coating of butter all over it. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter in a warm spot until it doubles in size, for 1 1/2 hours up to 2 hours.
  8. The dough can be made ahead up to the point of the first rising. Refrigerate the dough, then when ready, rest the dough at a warm spot on the counter and let it rise for 2 1/2 hours.
    Color Eggs
  1. Color your eggs according to the directions of your food coloring. You do not need to hard boil the eggs first, just be careful not to crack any eggs while you are coloring them. The eggs will cook in the oven while the bread is baking. Refrigerate your decorated eggs until you are ready to use them.
    Assemble the bread
  1. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide the dough into three equal pieces.
  3. Lightly sprinkle flour over your work surface and dust your hands with flour.
  4. Roll each piece of dough into long tapered ropes about 16 inches (41cm) long. If your dough is springing back and not lengthening, cover the strands with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Arrange the strands lengthwise across the sheet pan and pinch the top of the strands together. Loosely braid the dough. Drape the outer left strand over the middle strand, then drape the outer right strand over the (new) middle strand. Repeat alternating the left and right outer strands until you are at the bottom. Pinch the bottom strands together and secure. Tuck the eggs between the braided strands down the middle of the bread. The eggs will slide out if they are too close to the sides of the bread. Loosely cover the bread with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towel and let the bread rise for 45 min - 1 hr. The bread will puff up but not double in size.
  6. Meanwhile, arrange the oven rack to the middle position, and if you have a baking stone place it on the middle rack. Pre-heat the oven to 350F/ 175C/ Gas Mark 4. When baking bread, I like to preheat my oven for an hour. I believe the temperature is more even and accurate.
  7. After the final rise, whisk together one egg with 2 tsp water and brush the bread with the egg wash. Avoid getting the egg wash on the eggs. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, if using, and place the sheet pan with the bread on the middle rack in your oven. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 190F (88C).
  8. Take the bread out of the oven and slide it with the parchment paper onto a cooling rack. After 5 minutes remove the parchment paper. Can be served warm or room temperature.
  9. The bread can be made the night before serving for breakfast, 8 hours in advance. After 8 hours, the eggs might start to turn bad. The bread will be fine for a couple of days, but not the eggs.
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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake

It turns out for the past half century I missed out on a special dessert. I recently learned this dessert originated in Oregon in the 60’s, then variations developed all over California. I was there. How did I, or anyone in my family or friends, not know about this? If it was hot in Eureka, it was hot in San Francisco. Despite the gravitational pull of anything pink had on me then, this popular and pink dessert slipped by unnoticed. Pink Champagne Cake was a popular dessert in the 60’s but I believe a resurgence is in order. It is a beautiful tower of pale pink cake and buttercream, flavored with pink champagne.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake reicpe

I first discovered it in a cookbook, American Cake by Anne Byrn. My thoughtful sister gave me this book because she knows how much I like to research the history and story behind the food I make. It is a great cookbook about the history of cakes in America with recipes from the 17th century to present time. Pictured right on the cover is a beautiful pink cake garnished with white chocolate and bright pink rose petals. It is a true sight of beauty and elegance. Apparently, as Anne Byrn explained, pink champagne was a popular drink in the 60’s among hip California women. It also became a popular color from jewelry to shag carpets. This cake was created to ride the Pink Champagne trend. I love seeing how food culture and popular culture connect and influence each other.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake
Cake batter
Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake recipe
Cakes measured for slicing in half to make a 6 layer cake
Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake reicpe
Cake with crumb layer of frosting

Pink champagne cake is the first recipe I have made from this book and it is an unexpected winner. I was not sure how it would taste, but the subtle flavors balance with the light texture. The cake is moist and made with egg whites, like a chiffon cake, but is slightly denser because of the butter. The frosting is very sweet, and even though it is a buttercream Confectioners sugar is the dominant ingredient. There are several types of buttercreams and this recipe I consider is an American buttercream. They usually are not as smooth as European buttercreams and have a lot more sugar.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake reicpe

I made pink champagne cake twice, first as written,  and the second time with a different buttercream. American buttercream is not my favorite frosting. They tend to be too sweet and slightly gritty from all the powdered sugar.  Instead, I used a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum cookbook, The Cake Bible. Her buttercream recipe is light, silky smooth, not as sweet, and very buttery. I thought the texture of this mousseline buttercream matched the light texture of the cake. I also added some strawberry purée because strawberry adds a little more depth to the pink champagne buttercream. This is an American cake, but the European buttercream is a lot nicer and more elegant than the American one. Anne Byrn shared her recipe on Food 52 if you want to see her original.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake reicpe

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake

One downside, the mousseline buttercream is not an easy frosting for a beginner to make. It helps to have a confident eye and hand that experience develops. There is always a first time. Be patient and give yourself plenty of time to make this. You will also need a candy thermometer, or a good instant read thermometer that goes up to 255˚F (124˚C).  My version is somewhat of a production between the strawberry purée, buttercream, the cake, and all the layers. The original frosting is a lot easier to make.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake reicpe

If you want to bake this cake, but are unsure about making a European buttercream,  make the original frosting from the recipe provided in the Food 52 link. However, taste as you add the sugar. The frosting is very sweet. When I made it, I cut back on the amount of sugar by two cups and I still thought it was too sweet. I added lemon juice and lemon zest to cut the sweetness.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake recipe

The original recipe is a three layer cake. It is a beauty to look at, but I thought making six layers with strawberry mousseline buttercream would be a nice way to add more strawberry flavor throughout the cake. I am a little embarrassed by how uneven my layers came out. I have not had this issue before. In the past my measure and marking technique has been successful in creating even layers. I believe the cakes were more domed shaped than I realized. I do work hard to be consistent. However, wouldn’t you know the one time I am documenting my work for reference and prosperity, it does not turn out the way I want it to. As I always say, “This is how you know it is homemade. It is perfect in its’ imperfections.”

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake recipe

Springtime is the beginning of a lot of special occasions, and Spring is one of them. After a long winter who doesn’t want to come out and celebrate the new season’s emerging life. No more dormancy and short days. Life is blooming all around and that alone is worth celebrating. It is also the beginning of Easter, Passover, more birthdays, graduations, bridal showers, baby showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, and anniversaries. Pink Champagne Cake is the perfect cake to make for these momentous occasions.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake

Pink Champagne Cake

Category: Dessert

Cuisine: American

8 - 10 servings

Pink Champagne Cake

A special cake for any celebration. Pink champagne adds a light flavor to the cake and the buttercream for a very delicate party cake. Strawberries and white chocolate complement the delicate champagne flavor to make the cake shine. Pink champagne cake was popular in California during the 1960’s. Best eaten the day the day it is made and assembled, but will last for a couple of days unrefrigerated.

This cake recipe is from American Cake by Anne Byrn. The buttercream and strawberry puree recipes are slightly adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. The amount of buttercream in my recipe will cover an 8 inch 6-layer cake, which is one and a half of the original recipe. Listed in the notes section, are the ingredient amounts if you want to make a 3-layer cake.

Three recipes make up this cake and the prep and cook times are listed in the instructions for each recipe. Give yourself plenty of time. All three recipes can be made in advance.

Ingredients

    Cake
  • Butter and flour for preparing three 8-inch cake pans
  • 3 cups / 348g cake flour*
  • 1 Tbs / 16g baking powder
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup / 250ml pink champagne, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 cups / 447g granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) / 226g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pink food coloring*
    Strawberry Purée
  • 20 oz / 567g frozen strawberries with no added sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 tsp granulated sugar (optional)
    Pink Champagne Mousseline Buttercream
  • 3 cups (6 sticks) 1 ½ lb / 680g unsalted butter, soften but still cool
  • 1 ½ cups / 332g granulated sugar, divided
  • ⅓ cup / 75 ml water
  • 7 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¾ tsp + ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 fl oz / 90 ml / 5-7 Tbs pink champagne, room temperature
  • Finely grated zest from one lemon
  • Pink food coloring*
  • ½ cup / 125 ml strawberry purée
  • Decorate with shaved white chocolate, or sliced strawberries, or grated coconut, or edible rose petals, or other candy garnishes

Instructions

    Strawberry Purée -Takes about 20 - 30 minutes to make, not including the defrosting time.
  1. Start defrosting the strawberries the day before or first thing in the morning. They will take several hours for the strawberries to defrost and release their juice. Suspend a colander over a large mixing bowl. Add the frozen strawberries to the colander and let the strawberries thaw out and release their own juices. Occasionally press down on the strawberries to encourage the juices to release. You should get close to 1 1/4 cup juice.
  2. In a small saucepan, pour in the strawberry juice and turn the heat to medium high. Reduce the juice to about 1/4 cup.
  3. Purée the strawberry pulp in a food processor until smooth. There will be some texture because of the seeds, but you want it as smooth as you can.
  4. When the strawberry juice is reduced add the strawberry puree and stir. Add the lemon juice and taste the strawberries. Depending on how tart or sweet the strawberries taste, add about 2 -3 teaspoons of granulated sugar. You will not want it very sweet because the buttercream will be sweet. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the strawberry purée into a heat proof glass measuring cup. You should have about 1 ¼ cup. The purée can be stored in an airtight container for 10 days in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to one year.
    Cake - Takes about 20 minutes to mix, about 25 minutes to bake, 40 minutes - 1 hour to cool
  1. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350˚F/ 175˚C / Gas Mark 4
  2. Prepare 3, 8-inch cake pans. Cut a circle of parchment paper for each pan, large enough to fit inside your cake tins. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of each pan, then coat with a light dusting of cake flour around the sides and bottom. Tap the pan against the counter to release any excess flour. Discard the excess flour. Place the parchment paper circles inside each cake tin. Set aside.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder, and Kosher salt inside a medium size bowl. Mix the flour mixture with a wire whisk to get all the ingredients thoroughly mixed together. Set aside.
  4. Place the egg whites, champagne, vanilla and oil in a medium mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly mixed through. Set aside.
  5. Put granulated sugar and butter in a bowl of a stand mixer, or large bowl if using a handheld mixer. Mix on medium speed until lighter and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula.
  7. Turn the speed on low and add a portion of the flour to the butter, and mix. Then add a portion of the egg whites to the bowl and mix. With the beater on, alternate adding the flour and the egg whites to the butter, ending with the flour.
  8. Turn off the mixer and stir in one tiny drop of pink food coloring. Stir by hand until all mixed through.
  9. Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans.
  10. Place all three pans in the oven on the center rack and bake until the cake is lightly golden brown, the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pans, and a cake tester comes out clean when poked in the center of each cake. About 23-27 minutes. Be careful not to overbake the cakes. The cakes will taste dry if they are overbaked.
  11. Place the cakes in the pan on cooling racks and cool for 10 minutes. After the cakes have cooled for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of each cake pan to loosen the cakes. Turn the cake upside down resting the top of the cake in one hand, and pull the pan away. Carefully peel off the parchment paper and place the cake right side up on the cooling rack. Repeat for the remaining cakes. Cool completely before frosting. Can be made in advance. Wrap each cake tightly with plastic wrap and store on the counter for 1 day.
    Pink Champagne Buttercream- Takes about 20 to 30 minutes to make.
  1. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Set aside away from any heat source.
  2. Place a heatproof glass measuring cup to the side next to the stove where you will be working. In a small heavy saucepan heat 1 cup plus 3 Tbs sugar and 3/8 of a cup (90 ml) of water over medium high heat. Stir the sugar in the water until it is completely dissolved and the liquid is bubbly. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. (If using an electric range turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside).
  3. In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until the egg whites form soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar, one tablespoon at a time to the egg whites, and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Turn off the mixer and return your attention back to the sugar syrup.
  4. Turn the heat up to high and boil the sugar syrup until it reaches the temperature of 248˚F - 250˚F (120˚C) using a candy thermometer or an instant read thermometer. Pour the syrup into the heatproof glass measuring cup to stop the cooking.
  5. Return to the egg whites and turn the speed up to high speed. If using a handheld mixer, slowly drizzle the syrup into the egg whites without the syrup touching the beaters. If you are using a stand mixer, turn the speed off, add a little of the syrup, then turn the speed up to high and beat for 5 seconds and stop. Repeat the process until the syrup is added into the egg whites, scraping the clinging syrup with a rubber spatula to get every drop. If you get the syrup on the whisk or beaters, the syrup will just spray over the sides of the bowl and not mix into the egg whites. Once all the syrup is added, turn the speed down to medium and beat for a couple of minutes to cool the whipped egg whites.
  6. On low speed, beat in the whipped butter into the cool egg whites, one tablespoon at a time. The buttercream will look thin at first, but it will eventually thicken up. If at any time the buttercream starts to look curdled, stop adding butter and turn the speed up a little. Beat until smooth. Once smooth, continue to add the butter one tablespoon at a time until done.
  7. Lower the speed and add in the pink champagne and lemon zest, and beat in. Add one tiny drop of pink food coloring and mix until thoroughly mixed through. (Can be made in advance up to this point, keep in the refrigerator for 2 days or freeze).
  8. Measure in a dry measuring cup, 2 ¾ cup (685 ml) buttercream and place in a medium mixing bowl. Set the remaining buttercream aside. Add ½ cup (125ml) cooled strawberry purée to the buttercream and beat by hand until mixed together. Cover both bowls of buttercream and keep on the counter away from any heat until you are ready to assemble the cake.
    Putting it all together- About 30 minutes to assemble.
  1. For a 6-layer cake, measure with a ruler the height of each cake and mark the center with a toothpick. Measure and mark the center point around the circumference of each cake. The toothpicks are your guide to cut each cake in half through the middle. With a long serrated knife, rest the serrated edge up against the side of a cake and on top of the toothpicks. With a gently sawing motion cut through the cake, paying attention to your markers and turning the cake as you work your way around the circumference, and then through the middle of the cake. Repeat for each cake. Keep the pairs together. Select which cake layer is going to be your top layer and set aside.
  2. Take apart one divided cake and place the bottom portion of the cake on your cake plate.
  3. Spread ½ cup (125ml) of the strawberry buttercream over the top of the cake. Make a smooth and level layer of buttercream. Place the top portion of the cake on top of your frosted layer and spread ½ cup (125 ml) of strawberry buttercream evenly and smoothly across the top.
  4. Continue to stack and frost the tops of each layer with ½ cup (125ml) strawberry buttercream until you get to the top layer. The strawberry buttercream is to be used only for the middle layers of frosting. While you are stacking your cake layers, try to get them as level as possible. Trim off the top of each layer if they are uneven, before you frost the layers.
  5. For a three layer cake frost each layer with 3/4 cup pink champagne buttercream or strawberry pink champagne buttercream.
  6. Once the layers are assembled, spread a thin "crumb" layer of pink champagne buttercream around the top and sides of the cake. This is to get the cake frosted with a thin protective layer so the crumbs won't show through the frosting. Once done, spread more buttercream all over the top and working down the sides of the cake for a nice finishing layer of buttercream. Frost as much as wanted or needed.
  7. Decorate the cake with shaved white chocolate over the top of the cake and extra strawberries for decoration.
  8. Keep the cake in a cool spot loosely covered with aluminum foil up to 2 days unrefrigerated. Best if eaten the day it is assembled.

Notes

Cake flour has less gluten and produces a more delicate cake than with all-purpose flour. If you like to bake cakes, cake flour is nice to have around. Swans Down and Softasilk are two brands that sell cake flour. Do not buy self-rising cake flour. If you do not want to buy cake flour, or cannot get some, substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbs cornstarch for every cup of cake flour. Recipe from The Kitchn

Ingredient amounts for buttercream if you want to make a 3-layer cake: Unsalted butter - 1 lb / 454g (4 sticks), Sugar - 1 cup / 200 g, Water - ¼ cup / 2oz 60 ml, 5 large egg whites, Cream of tartar - ½ + ⅛ teaspoon, Pink Champagne - up to 3 fl oz or 90 ml, Tiny drop of pink food coloring.

Use 3/4 cup of buttercream between the three layers, instead of 1/2 cup.

I used Wilton Liquid food coloring - Base Pink. Wilton also makes a gel food coloring in pink.

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