continued from... the story of our romantic weekend at Insmont...
With another fire blazing and crackling in the stone fireplace, we relaxed on blankets and pillows just like the night before, sipping wine and enjoying the warmth of the fire.
Jamie pulled me closer and kissed me. I could tell he was nervous, and he was fidgeting with his left pocket. He kept giving me soft sweet kisses.
And then, at last, he whispered, "I have a question for you..."
What came next, when he asked if I would marry him, was the most thrilling moment of my life. To get to marry my best friend, the person who loves me through my best and my worst, who is unconditionally supportive of me and my dreams, who I can be completely myself with, who makes me laugh and hope, who fills my heart with joy, who I respect and admire and appreciate more than any man I've ever known, is more than I deserve and everything I have ever wanted.
A few minutes later, he produced a bottle of chilled champagne, which I somehow had not seen, and pints of Haagen Daaz gelato in flavors of salted caramel and limoncello. We sipped champagne and tasted spoonfuls of the creamy gelato, relaxing by the fire until it dwindled to embers and we were undeniably sleepy.
After spending Saturday night at the house, it was time to pack everything up and head home. The house was so full of interesting things, books, paint brushes and trinkets, so before we left, we each hid something of ours in the house, and the next time we visit, it will be fun to look and see if they're still there. We were sad to leave, but excited to call our families and friends with our news.
I have to admit, I've had a cake tucked away in the recipe repertoire in the back of my mind for this very moment, and I knew exactly what I wanted to bake as soon as we got home - a Champagne Cake to celebrate our engagement.
I chose an inexpensive, somewhat dry champagne, so that it wouldn't add too much additional sweetness to the cake. With champagne in the cake batter as well as the buttercream, the flavor of the champagne was sure to shine through.
With the cakes cooling on the counter, the buttercream whipped and ready, and Jamie napping on the couch, I made some simple gum paste roses out of pink and champagne-tinted gum paste, which could just as easily be made with fondant.
This was an event deserving of a tiered cake, and so I stacked three 8-inch layers of cake, then two 6-inch layers on top. A simple swirled finish and the pretty roses were all it needed to look really lovely.
After all the excitement of sharing the news with everyone, it was wonderful that in that quiet moment of sampling cake, it felt just like us.
The us we've always been - the us that will grow old together...
Champagne Engagement Cake
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup champagne (I used a dry champagne, Korbel brand, so it wouldn't make the cake overly sweet)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup champagne
- 2 1/2 (5 sticks) cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Bake the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray the bottoms of your cake pans with non-stick spray.
Note: For my tiered cake, I baked the batter in three 8-inch round pans and two 6-inch round pans, but you could also make just one tier, with thicker cake layers, divided between three to four 8 or 9-inch round pans. Just watch the doneness of the cake, as it will differ based on the size of the pans and how much batter they contain.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl in three additions, alternating with the milk, then the champagne, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until combined.
Divide batter between the pans. Bake just until a toothpick comes out clean, 15-20 minutes for the 6-inch pans and 20-25 minutes for the 8-inch pans. Set cakes on wire racks, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely.
Make the Buttercream:
First, make the champagne reduction so it can cool. Pour the champagne into a small saucepan and simmer over medium low heat until reduced to 1/2 cup. Cool completely in the refrigerator.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar by spoonfuls, until mostly incorporated. Add the champagne reduction, a spoonful at a time (you may not need all of it), then the cream; increase speed to medium high and whip for 5 minutes until very light and fluffy.
Frost the cake and enjoy with a glass of champagne.
If you'd like to see how I made the simple fondant/gum paste roses, click here for a photo tutorial...
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen