Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Cheers to 30 years

Strawberries and Cream Champagne Vanilla Cake. Photos by Aimee Broussard.

Celebrations are rarely complete without cake and cocktails, and these recipes will have you celebrating in style with your hostess hat firmly attached.

My Strawberries and Cream Champagne Vanilla Cake is the one to bake when you want to both celebrate and impress your guests while keeping things approachable. Whether for a wedding shower, a birthday or simply a celebration with your favorite friends, it’s a cake that sure knows how to party.

And since you’ll have leftover Champagne from making the cake, whip together some Pink Champagne Margarita Punch in less than five minutes flat. If tequila isn’t your jam, the Strawberry Peach Rosé Sangria is light and refreshing and not overly sweet. I like it for daytime events. 

And finally, if you’re trying to keep things very berry and colorful with zero hints of alcohol, then say hello to my Swiss Buttercream Very Berry Cake. The abundance of fresh fruit topping make this cake one that will bring the oohs and aahs. It’s also perfect for bidding summer fruit adieu as we head into fall flavors. 


Strawberries and Cream Champagne Cake

Cake:
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ cups sugar 
4 large egg whites 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt 
1 cup Champagne
1 (16-oz.) container fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced 
Pink Champagne Buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3½ cups powdered sugar 
½  tsp. vanilla extract 
4 Tbsp. pink Champagne, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8-in. round cake pans with parchment circles; spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
For Cake, combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg whites, a little at a time, until well combined. Add vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add a third of dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat on low until incorporated. Add half of Champagne. Alternate between flour and Champagne, scraping down bowl as you go. Divide batter between pans, and bake for 23 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. 
For Pink Champagne Buttercream, with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, cream together butter and powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla extract. Add Champagne 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired consistency is reached. 
To assemble cake, place bottom layer on a cake board, top with buttercream and use an offset spatula to smooth. Add sliced strawberries. Place second layer on top of strawberries and repeat. Top final layer with remaining buttercream, and smooth top and sides of cake. Garnish with flowers, pearl sprinkles, etc.  
Makes 8-10 servings.

Strawberry Peach Rosé Sangria

2 (750-ml) bottles rosé
1 batch Strawberry Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
1⁄3cup peach schnapps
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 
2 to 3 white peaches, sliced 
3 to 4 cups lemon lime soda
(Sprite, 7Up, etc)  
Strawberry Simple Syrup:
1 cup strawberries, diced small 
1 cup sugar
1 cup water 
For Strawberry Simple Syrup, in a medium saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain strawberries and let syrup cool. 
For sangria, combine rosé, Strawberry Simple Syrup, peach schnapps, lemon juice and strawberries in a pitcher, and stir until well combined. Fill wine glasses or cocktail glasses with ice, and fill halfway with sangria. Top with lemon lime soda. 
Makes 10-12 servings.

Very Berry Vanilla Swiss Buttercream Cake 

Cake:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup canola oil
3 cups sugar, divided
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk 
Vanilla Swiss Buttercream:
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Assorted berries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8-in. round cake pans with parchment circles; spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
For Cake, combine butter, oil and 2 cups sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down bowl between each addition. Beat in vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add a third of dry ingredients to butter mixture, and beat on low until incorporated. Add half of milk. Alternate between flour and milk, scraping down bowl as you go. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans and bake until cakes are lightly brown and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then remove from pans and allow to continue to cool on a cooling rack.
For Vanilla Swiss Buttercream, heat a medium saucepan filled with 2 in. water to a simmer. In a clean bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Set mixing bowl over simmering pot and continue to whisk until sugar has dissolved and mixture becomes hot to the touch. Wipe condensation from bottom of bowl and return to stand mixer. Beat egg mixture on medium-high speed until whites are glossy and bowl is no longer warm (about 5 minutes). With mixer still going, add butter, a few cubes at a time. Continue to add butter until buttercream is smooth and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
To assemble, level tops of cakes to ensure layers are even. Place 1 layer onto cake stand. Place a third of buttercream on top and use an offset spatula to smooth buttercream to edges. Add second cake layer and repeat with another third of buttercream. Repeat. Smooth buttercream from top layer over edges and then along sides of cake. This is a semi-naked cake, so don’t worry about being perfect and completely covering with buttercream. Top with assorted berries. Note: You may also include berries between cake layers.
Makes 10-12 servings.

Pink Champagne Margarita Punch

1½ cups pink Champagne
1 (12-oz.) container pink lemonade frozen concentrate, thawed 
3 cups water
½ cup tequila 
½ cup triple sec 
¼ cup lime juice 
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Lightly moisten rims of 6 Champagne glasses, then dip in sanding sugar. 
Makes 6 servings.

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning author. Her recent cookbook Picnics, Potlucks & Porch Parties debuted exclusively on QVC. Join Aimee for weekly recipes with a side of Southern hospitality on her blog, aimeebroussard.com. 

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