I recently saw this quote on Instagram that said “Women don’t want flowers for Valentine’s Day. They want sushi, a fun face mask, control over the tv, and for someone else to put the kids to bed. It’s me. I’m women.” I laughed, because, in a way, it’s totally true. Most of the women I know (particularly Moms) do in fact want to be on the receiving end of thoughtfulness and recognition on Valentine’s Day, but most of us are starved for things much more valuable (but less expensive!) than a few dozen roses. We want our favorite meal, some personal space, and the ability to do exactly what we want to do when we want to do it. We want to watch our favorite show without flipping back to “the game” or without someone asking them to get them a cup of water. For those of us whose lives are run by school schedules and bedtimes, ever at the mercy of someone else’s fever or teething pain, we just want
a day a few minutes that are exclusively ours to do exactly as we please.
Oh, and flowers. We also want flowers. Is this too much to ask?
Because it’s been a while since we did a “favorites” round-up on this site, I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve been loving lately. It’s definitely too late to pass on as a last-minute hint to your special someone, but there’s no time like the present to treat yourself. Take a look at some of my current faves, and who knows! Maybe they’ll be one of your faves soon too!
“Cravings: Hungry for More.” First up is Chrissy Teigan’s second cookbook. Is the book a few years old already? Yep. But is it currently $12 on Amazon and worth all that and then some? Absolutely. This cookbook is one of my favorites time and time again. Not only is she hysterical, but the food is delicious and rarely that difficult. If you’re a home cook with a hankering for American meets Thai food, this will be your jam.
Tata Harper Skincare. Does anyone else’s skin freak out in the winter? (Cue everyone raising their hands.) Yep, me too. I’ve been totally digging Tata Harper skincare lately, and because they just started selling discovery kits, you can try it out too! Tata’s products are clean with better-for-you and natural ingredients that actually work. I’m obsessed.
Tonic and Rye Cocktails. At our most recent trip to Blackberry Farm, my favorite cocktail was their tonic and rye, a citrusy and refreshing spin on this winter bourbon drink. I’ve made an embarrassing amount of these at home since finding the recipe online, and now you can too!
Fun Mom Hat. Anyone else love that scene in “Mean Girls” where Regina George’s mom says, “I’m not a regular mom. I’m a cool mom!” Well, this hat feels like the updated version of that. My kids can barely read, but you can bet they know what this hat reads because, well… I’ve reminded them like a million times. This hat is comfortable and comes in all sorts of colors too!
Lake PJs. At the end of last year, I did the very adult thing of investing in pajama sets. Truly, the only person I know that wears matching pjs all the time is my Nana (and she happens to be the coolest!), so I’m considering this a very stylish and put together decision. I love all the Lake pajamas for their thick and soft cotton, and this newest floral print is adorable.
Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Pro Pans. Goldtouch pans from WS were one of the first things on my wedding registry, and I’ve been loving them ever since. That is, until now, because now there’s goldtouch PRO, and obviously I need that in my life. I whole-heartedly recommend these (Especially their half-sheet, quarter sheet, cooling racks, and muffin tins!) for all things baking!
So true, you may not get any of the above favorites in time for Valentine’s Day, but I do have one additional happy for you today: champagne and strawberries cake! It’s pink, lightly sweetened, and even mini in size for our stay-at-home 2021 Valentine weirdness, and the flavoring feels just right for February 14th, doesn’t it? Champagne and strawberries always feels like a romantic and festive combo in my mind, and in this cake, it works like a dream. Here, champagne-scented cake layers are baked soft and fluffy into two 6″ layers. A champagne simple syrup is added later for extra flavor and moisture. The frosting here, though, really is the star. Fresh strawberries and pureed, cooked down, and combined with a smidge of powdered sugar and butter. The end-product American buttercream truly tastes like strawberry ice cream, and that is in no way disappointing. The cake layers come together with a thick slather of buttercream, and then you’re free to decorate as desired!
To add words to this champagne and strawberries cake, I printed a text template in a word document that was sized to fit on the 6″ cake. After chilling the cake thoroughly, I gently centered the paper on the cake and used a toothpick to lightly trace the text, indenting in through to the cake. I went back over my light trace with the toothpick a second time and then piped the text on using a number 5 piping tip. Voila! My piping skills are not great, so I was thrilled to figure out a way to get some pretty writing on this pretty little cake.
Happy Friday and happy Valentine’s Day to you! I hope you get EXACTLY what you want this Sunday, and moreso than that, I hope you feel really loved by someone special in your life- a spouse, a child, a friend, a parent, whoever. Enjoy this champagne and strawberries cake and HAPPY BAKING!
If you like this champagne and strawberries cake you should try:Print
Champagne and Strawberries Cake
This champagne and strawberries cake features fluffy champagne cake layers, a champagne syrup soak, and a real strawberry American buttercream!
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 120
- Yield: 4-6 servings
- Category: Dessert
For the cake:
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (150 gm) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 gm) vegetable oil
- 1–1/2 cups (190 gm) cake flour
- 1–1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (120 gm) champagne or sparkling wine
For the buttercream:
- 1–1/2 cups (200 gm) fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
For the syrup:
- 1 cup (240 gm) champagne or sparkling wine
- ¼ cup (50 gm) granulated sugar
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease 2- 6” pans. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer, beat to combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for one minute. Add in the oil and beat to combine again. Add in half of the flour as well as the baking powder and salt. Stir on low to combine and add in half of the champagne. Stir and repeat this process with the remaining flour and champagne. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir in any unincorporated bits. Divide the batter between the two pans and then bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely. In the meantime, prep the buttercream and syrup.
To make the buttercream:
- Use a blender or food processor to puree the berries. Add them to a small saucepan and cook down on low heat, stirring regularly, until halved down to ¼ cup total mixture. Set aside in a heat-safe container to cool in the fridge. When ready to frost the cake, cream the butter in a stand mixer set to medium speed for 4 minutes until pale. Add the powdered sugar, ¼ cup of the strawberry mixture, the vanilla, and salt. Stir to combine. Add in water, milk or cream 1 tablespoon at a time to get the mixture to the appropriate consistency.
To make the syrup:
- Bring the champagne to a boil in small saucepan, reduce heat to low, add in the sugar, and cook for an additional 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Set aside in a heat-safe container to cool completely. You won’t use all the syrup.
To assemble the cake:
- Trim the domes off of the cakes using a serrated knife. Use a pastry brush to paint the cake tops with the cooled syrup. Spoon a bit of frosting onto a 6” cake board or plate and place your first cake layer on the center. Spread a thick layer of frosting on top of this first layer and place the second layer on top. Spread the frosting all over and decorate as desired. Cake is best eaten within two days of making and should be stored covered at room temperature.