Who here likes cake? Oh me! ME! ME ME ME ME ME!!! Yeah, anyone else? That’s what I thought.
So obviously we’re in agreement; cake is a wonderful thing. In fact, writing this blog post is probably going to make me want to make a cake; especially since this blog post isn’t just about a cake, but also about a book about cake. That would be American Cake, by Anne Byrn. I’m going to have a little fan-girl moment here, okay? First off, her name is Anne…with an ‘e’ so already she’s winning Anne of Green Gables points with me. She responded when I’d tagged her page on Instagram talking about how excited I was to read American Cake after I received it as a gift for Christmas. It was so encouraging to know that she’s a real person who is legitimately excited to share this baking journey with her followers. And if you head on over to her website you’ll see she is absolutely adorable and has the most gorgeous kitchen!
I just recently heard about Anne this past year when listening to a What You Missed In History Class episode where they interviewed her and talked about the history of cake and her new cookbook on the subject. Y’all, these are basically my two favorite things: History and Cooking. I am quite aware that I am a history nerd. Joking aside, I studied Art History in college having zero idea if I’d ever be a museum curator, artist, or ever even have the opportunity to work in a creative field. But what I did know, was that I get very, very excited, when history comes to life. I want to understand how the things that have happened in the past have affected the way we see and do things on an every day basis. I want to understand the true nature of cause and effect. I imagine this stems from a desire to better understand myself and to better understand what happens around me: why clothing styles go in and out, how we define beauty across cultures, and why certain foods appeal to different people.
This campagne cake must appeal to lots of people because its smack-dab on the cover of Anne Byrn’s book. According to American Cake, it came into vogue in 1960, during the post WWII baking scene when cakes became sweeter and more decadent now that bakers had access to ingredients that had previously been rationed. I imagine in a country at war, recovering from a financial depression, champagne was harder to come by. But by 1960 champagne was apparently all the rage as both a drink and for use in this fabulous cake.
Finding this cake was not actually the first time I had been exposed to champagne cake. On my 21st birthday, a friend’s mom baked me champagne cupcakes and it was love at first taste. When I got married, my husband (who had been at my 21st birthday) and I picked three cakes that were important in our relationship and had those at our reception instead of the huge, white, tasteless monstrosity that is often found at weddings. Champagne cupcakes were one of our cakes. (The other two were Texas Sheet Cake and Fig Cake. And it just so happens that versions of both can be found in American Cake.)
I made this cake for a New Years Eve party but I wanted to post it in time for Valetines Day. Get online, like right now, order American Cake on Amazon, you'll have it Friday, and you’ll still have four days to go out and buy a cheap bottle of pink champagne and make it. Do it. Even if it’s just for yourself. I cannot rave enough about the decadence that is the frosting on this cake and the moistness that is in between. Anne topped hers off with white chocolate shavings and edible rose petals and it looked absolutely fabulous! Personally, I had no idea where to find (or time to find) edible rose petals and ended up biting the bullet and paying for some out-of-season strawberries. It was worth every penny. I can’t compare it to the rose petals and chocolate shavings but the strawberries were the icing on the cake. Or should I say the icing on the icing on the cake. Anyway, it tasted fantastic!
If this champagne cake is any indication, it will be a very yummy adventure indeed trying some of the Anne's other cakes! I’m particularly excited to try the Martha Washington Great Cake!
As always, click photos for more info on Anne Byrn and American Cake. If you have any questions or comments regarding this cake, this blog post, or me in general, comment below!