In Defense of Valentine’s Day
You all know I love Valentine’s Day. (You do too, I’ve mentioned it once or twice.) I know naysayers are going to complain about the commercialization of the holiday, but in the world we live in, every holiday has ended up commercialized. Now, I don’t want to seem like I don’t holidays, just the opposite, I’m obnoxious about holidays, but my point is all holidays are commercial, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate them.
To the contrary, I think you should celebrate them some more. You don’t have to spend any money to celebrate, even on Valentine’s Day. You also don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to celebrate it. Romantic love isn’t the only love out there, and I hope you take a moment this Valentine’s Day to celebrate all of the different forms of love in your life.
Mini Cakes for Platonic Love
Like so much of the world, I am working from home, but back in the good ol’ days, I’d be able to bake and recipe test and subject my officemates to the results. But, now, it’s just The Boy and me, and I decided to share the love a bit with special deliveries of mini cakes. I put them in little heart-shaped tins from the dollar store and voila, I look like an incredibly thoughtful person, despite just having a crap ton of mini cakes around the house thanks to recipe testing.
Some Assembly Required
The joy of these cakes is that while there’s some decorating involved, it’s super low maintenance since there is no buttercream. Don’t worry, the cake bites are still moist and decadent, but with a simple champagne glaze and/or chocolate coating, they are both cute and easy. The secret? This adorable Petite Four cake pan from Nordic Ware. I got it at this local cake shop in my area, and I love it because it’s so easy to make tiny cakes.
A Minor Detail to Talk about Petits Fours
So, let’s take a short derailment to discuss petits fours, shall we? Petit four is French for “small oven”, because way back in the day when bakers worked exclusively with high-temperature brick ovens, and they were expensive to run. So, rather than try to adjust the temperature throughout the day for the variety of baked goods, they would make use of the falling temps as the oven cooled down in the evenings. As such, “petits fours” actually describes a variety of small pastries, both savory and sweet, including cookies, macaroons (I have MANY FEELINGS about how they are pronounced, but that is for another day), eclairs, and madelines. However, in modern times (in the US at least), we tend to think of petits fours as charming square filled cakes that require tons of work. Not these, baby! But, they’re still adorable, and still technically petits fours.
If you don’t have this particular cake pan, you can also use a mini bundt, or even cupcake (or mini cupcake) pans to get the same bite-size experience with minimal work required. A quick note about the flavoring I used to enhance the champagne. I used this Princess Flavoring from Louann. It’s got a floraly citrusy flavor and is the perfect complement to the champagne. Alternatively, you could use vanilla or a citrus extract. Feel free to be super fancy and learn what flavors are in the champagne and pick an extract that matches them. Or, go in the other direction and add none. You do you, Boo Boo.
I kept this recipe simple, none of that creaming butter and sugar and alternating wet and dry ingredients here, we’re keeping it simple. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in the other, and then stir to combine. Don’t limit yourself to mini cakes, I also made some pink champagne mini bundt cakes, covered them in champagne glaze, and topped them with whipped cream and chopped strawberries. In a word:
I left the pink champagne cakes with the champagne glaze undecorated and simple, but I went to town on the ones I covered in white chocolate. I added sprinkles, edible glitter, and edible gold luster dust. Easy to sprinkle like fairy dust.
Let’s see… do I have anything else to say? I’m sure I could find something else cake-adjacent to ramble about, but let’s just get to the point, shall we? Here’s the recipe for these adorable Pink Champagne Cake Bites.
Pink Champagne Cake BitesCourse: DessertDifficulty: Medium
Cake bites are the perfect treat for parties, gifts, potlucks, and more.
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (melted, but not hot)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon princess flavoring (optional, any flavoring can be subbed)
1 1/4 cup pink champagne
1/4 cup sour cream
1 small drop of food coloring
- For the Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
4-5 tablespoons of pink champagne
- Other Toppings
Melted white chocolate
Variety of sprinkles
Edible luster dust
- Preheat oven to 350° and prepare your cake pan with butter and flour (or, let’s be real, spray that shit with baking spray).
- In one bowl, combine dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
- In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients (butter, oil, sugar, egg whites, flavoring, pink champagne, sour cream, and food coloring).
- Stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined, and fill pans about 3/4 of the way full. They will rise in the oven, and then shrink some as they cool.
- Bake at 350° for 13-15 minutes depending on the size of your cake pan. Even my smallest cakes baked for about 14 minutes, so keep an eye on your cakes, when they are springy, a toothpick comes out clean, and/or they start to pull away from the edges of the pan.
- Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 7ish minutes, and then turn them out on a rack to cool. Once cooled completely, coat them in chocolate or glaze and decorate.