Frostings by Courtney Dial Whitmore and Courtney Whitmore is a slim treasure of a book dedicated to decadence. Frostings in all forms and flavors appear here. I’m fond of buttercreams and prefer them very lightly flavored. I want my frosting subtle, with hinted flavor and with the ability to let me taste the richness of that underlying butter.
This recipe is just my style. This Champagne Buttercream offers the promise of bubbly now suitably encased in butter and sugar. Use the best quality butter you can. Champagne is fine, but Prosecco or Cava or other sparkling wines will give you alternative, but equally rich, experiences.
This Champagne Buttercream atop a classic white layer cake will dominate any summer brunch on your horizon.
Yield: 4+ cups
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 cups [1 pound] powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons champagne
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Adjust the speed to low and add the powdered sugar to the butter 1 cup at a time until well incorporated.
Add the vanilla extract and the Champagne. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add ore powdered sugar to thicken the frosting or some milk to loosen.
Source: Frostings by Courtney Dial Whitmore and Courtney Whitmore
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/2.8 for 1/100th second at ISO‑1000
On the top edge of the picture above, you see some Double Berry Polenta Cake, which I posted about a few days ago. I said then that the cake was so good that it could stand on its own: no adornment needed.
While that is true, Suzen often loves to pair cake with ice cream or sorbet. Those pairings enable multiple contrasts: temperature, texture, and flavor tones. Citrus notes are often used to draw out the potential of berry flavors and here it is done with a bright lemon sorbet that itself is overlaid with strong basil flavor. It’s a punchy combination, ideal for a brunch where you have champagne on hand for every course.
Basic and lemon is a classic combination, but you can certainly change the herb content here, substituting or adding. For example, oregano or thyme often replace or accent basil. And that lemon flavor could be swapped out for lime or orange or even grapefruit. Adjust the sugar in each case to match the tartness.
And, if you need assistance in mix and match herbs in general, you’ll love this Herb Substitution Chart at About.com:
Basil Lemon Sorbet
Yield: 5 cups
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest, divided
- 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ½ cup fresh basil leaves
Prepare a lemon simple syrup with the water, sugar and 1½ tablespoons of the lemon zest by combining all three in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cook mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat.
Once the simple syrup is ready, add the basil and salt. Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours, or overnight. Strain the chilled mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
Turn on the Cuisinart® ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. When the sorbet is almost done, add the reserved zest through the opening on top of the ice cream maker and let churn until combined. The sorbet will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/50th second at ISO‑640