Rosé Wine and Chocolate Cake

(a.k.a. Brangelina-Inspired

Naked Wedding Cake)

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August 23: Islander’s Birthday, Brangelina’s Wedding (2014), Feast Day of St. Rose of Lima

Happy anniversary to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who were married on Islander’s birthday! To celebrate, we were inspired to bake a naked-style natal cake like the one that their son, Pax, who was only 10 years old at the time, lovingly made for their wedding. It appears that the alternating cake layers were white or light and chocolate with some pink rosettes and green leaf frosting decorations attached around the sides.

Our top tier mini version is simple yet sweetly symbolic. The chocolate layer is a basic recipe that a child can make (with adult supervision), like Pax might have done for his parents. The vanilla layer is easily made with a boxed cake mix enhanced with rosé wine—specifically the award-winning wine from the Jolie-Pitts’ own home and Provence estate, Chateau Miraval, in France, where their intimate, private wedding ceremony took place amongst their children/family and a few close friends. We topped our naked cake with a statement pink silk rose, which is in homage to the saint of the day, St. Rose of Lima, as well as an indication of the rose pink flavoring in the cake. And the “Mr. & Mrs.” cake topper is in reference to the movie, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, where Brangelina’s infamous love story began.

Celebrate a birthday or wedding like a movie star with this special rosé wine and chocolate naked cake. And have a happy feast day in honor or St. Rose of Lima!

Recipe

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

For the rosé wine cake

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup rosé wine
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon strawberry or raspberry extract [optional]
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract [optional]
  • ½ teaspoon rose water (or ¼ teaspoon rose extract) [optional]
  • 5 drops red liquid food coloring [optional]

Directions

In a large bowl, pour the wine over the cake mix. Stir in the water and vegetable oil. Add the egg whites and pinch of salt.

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Mix in the extracts/flavoring and food coloring, if using. Blend well. Divide batter into two 8-inch round pans that have been lined with waxed paper and greased on the bottom and sides. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

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Bonus Recipe: Easy Chocolate Cake

(Adapted from Kidspot) 

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and cocoa. Add the milk and vanilla.

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Stir in the melted butter and eggs and mix until smooth. Pour into two greased 8-inch round pans. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

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For the rosé wine frosting

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup rosé wine

Directions

In large bowl, beat the butter with the salt until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, alternating with a little wine, until well blended.

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Directions to assemble the naked cake

Slice each cake into two layers, leveling the top. Make sure the layers are the same thickness. Brush away any crumbs before assembling the cake. Smear a little frosting on the cake board to act as an adhesive to the bottom layer of the cake.

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Position a chocolate cake layer on the bottom. Spread some frosting on top, being careful not to pick up crumbs. Position the rosé cake layer on top and press down on the filling. Spread more frosting on top.

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Position another chocolate cake layer on top and press down on the filling. Repeat with the frosting and top with the bottom end up of the rosé cake layer.

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Spread the remaining frosting on top (or use a star tip to cover and decorate all around the top of the cake). Chill to let the frosting set. Bring to room temperature for serving. Decorate with a silk rose and leaves and a cake topper as desired. When cut, the cake has a surprising visual beauty of Neapolitan colors.

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Notes

  • “Naked” cakes are simple sweets that have the “bare” minimum frosting between “exposed” layers of cake, which are a good option for movie stars who have to maintain their famous figures and cannot indulge in rich desserts too often.
  • Our German chocolate cake was the first attempt at a “naked cake” with the exposed layers of German chocolate cake sandwiched between sweet coconut-pecan frosting. We hope to make more naked cakes for our blog in the future.
  • We used a French brand of butter because Brangelina got married in France.
  • Any rosé wine may be used instead of the more pricey Miraval brand in this recipe.  The tasting notes in the latter are described as having a delicate berry and citrus aroma with a floral touch. So we added berry and citrus flavorings and rose water to the white cake batter.
  • The alcohol cooks off in the cake when it is baked, so it is safe to serve to children.
  • The pinch of salt in the rosé wine cake batter and frosting cuts a bit of sweetness in the dessert. “Salt” is the title of one of Angelina Jolie’s movies.
  • We used a wire cake leveler to cut the layers of our cake, which is safer than a knife blade when decorating with children.
  • The two cake layers have different densities. The rosé wine cake layer is lighter and fluffier than the chocolate cake layer. If stacking more layers for wedding cake tiers, use a pound cake recipe for a more stable structure.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Macarons

Neapolitan Ice Cream Macarons

July: National Ice Cream Month

America is experiencing a freak heat wave this summer. Temperatures are at a record high, even in the northern part of the country (it is even more sweltering in southwest Texas where we live!). Time to cool off with ice cream—better yet with ice cream AND macarons or ice cream macarons!

But with so many ice cream flavors to choose from, how can we please the palates of finicky family and friends? Neapolitan ice cream has three popular flavors conveniently packed into one tub: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. So at least one of those should satisfy their taste buds.

Our tri-flavored/tri-colored macarons are inspired by the freeze-dried Neapolitan ice cream that Islander is always crazy enough to buy whenever she visits the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The amusing “astronaut ice cream” is crisp and creamy—almost like a macaron!

Neapolitan Ice Cream Macarons

We filled our chocolate and strawberry macaron shells with real vanilla ice cream (but with a special lactose-free brand because of Islander’s delicate digestive system) and, as a non-melting alternate filling, with Tahitian vanilla buttercream for a brown-white-pink palette. These Neapolitan ice cream macarons are our entry into this month’s MacAttack challenge with the “ice cream dream theme.” And they are a sweet treat to beat the heat and celebrate National Ice Cream Month in July!

Recipes

  • For the chocolate macaron shells

https://hicookery.com/2011/04/11/hi-macs/

  • For the strawberry macaron shells

https://hicookery.com/2011/02/27/strawberry-macarons/ 

  • For the vanilla ice cream filling

Breyer’s brand lactose-free vanilla ice cream

  • For the alternate Tahitian vanilla buttercream filling

https://hicookery.com/2010/11/10/tahitian-vanilla-cupcakes/

Directions

Make the chocolate and strawberry macaron shells. Match by size and pair a chocolate with a strawberry macaron shell. Quickly spread vanilla ice cream on one of the shells and sandwich with another. Freeze immediately to firm up the filling. Serve chilled.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Macarons

Alternatively, generously fill a chocolate macaron shell with vanilla buttercream and sandwich with a strawberry macaron shell. Refrigerate to set.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Macarons

Notes

  • Look at the list of the 15 most popular ice cream flavors on the Food Channel site. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry and Neapolitan are in the top five, according to the International Ice Cream Association.
  • There are other flavors of the freeze-dried ice cream, including mint chocolate chip and chocolate chocolate chip. A freeze-dried ice cream sandwich is also available.
  • Try our lactose-free vanilla milkshake recipe on June 20 (National Vanilla Milkshake Day). Search our blog for other recipes containing ice cream.
  • The final photo above shows our Neapolitan macarons filled with Tahitian vanilla buttercream. It was too hot to fill and photograph the shells with the vanilla Lactaid ice cream on yet another scorching summer day in southwest Texas!!!
  • “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” Check out more macaron ice cream dreams at the MacTweets site.