Without a doubt, one of the most rewarding things about food blogging is all the amazing friends I’ve made along the way. Even though we’ve never met in person, I am so thankful to have made such wonderful friends, and I hope we’ll all have the chance to meet someday. I hate that we’re spread all over the country because I know we would all have a fabulous time together.
There are some things that simply have to be celebrated with friends, no matter the distance between them. That’s why I decided to host a virtual baby shower for Annie. I am so grateful to have a friend like her, and I just couldn’t let her pregnancy go by without celebrating it in a special way. I was lucky enough to have 11 talented bloggers join me in throwing this shower for her. After seeing all their wonderful recipes, I’m wishing even more that we could have done this in person! Before I share my recipe with you, I’d like to show you all the delicious treats they made. I know I’ll be trying all of them soon!
Ashely from Delish made mock champagne punch. It’s made with ginger ale, pineapple juice and white grape juice and sounds perfect for a baby shower. I can picture everyone sitting around and sipping these while chatting and enjoying all this delicious food.
Shawnda from Confections of a Foodie Bride made pink/blue corn blinis with crab and avocado crema. Are these gorgeous or what? It might be a good thing this wasn’t a real party because I’m pretty sure I could have eaten several of these!
Nikki from Pennies on a Platter made baby hummus sandwiches. I love hummus, and I especially love how Nikki added feta and veggies to these. They’re the perfect little finger food – the kind you can pick up and eat without even needing a plate!
Elly from Elly Says Opa made stuffed mushrooms. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with pancetta, goat cheese and cream cheese. Stuffed mushrooms are always a crowd pleaser, and I’m sure these would have disappeared in no time!
Amy from Sing for Your Supper made these adorable chicken salad bites. These fruity, crunchy, two-bite treats are perfect for mingling, and I love how she added a pop of color to each one. I bet the chicken salad tastes fantastic in those phyllo cups, too!
Josie from Pink Parsley Catering made pimento cheese fritters with red pepper jelly. Being from the south, I know that pimento cheese is a staple at any type of shower, and I love Josie’s spin on this classic dish. I’m sure these are especially delicious dipped in the sweet and spicy red pepper jelly.
Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker made caramelized onion, mushroom and gruyere tartlets. Mmm, three of my favorite ingredients in a handy puff pastry tartlet. Yes, please! These are an elegant and simple appetizer that would be perfect for any shower or party.
This shower has quite the dessert lineup, too. Tara from Smells Like Home made chocolate malt sandwich cookies. These cookies are bursting with chocolate malt goodness and are sure to cure the chocolate cravings of any mom-to-be (or anyone, for that matter).
Lauren from Lauren’s Kitchen made a decadent brownie cheesecake trifle. With rich brownies, cheesecake spread, fresh strawberries, whipped cream and chopped Oreos, you know these are delicious!
For my contribution to the shower, I wanted to make something frilly and delicate, perfect for a little girl. This strawberry cake is one of my favorites. Instead of using strawberry flavored Jello, soda or other artificial things, this cake uses strawberries. A strawberry cake made from real strawberries. What a concept, right? Not only does it get its wonderful flavor from strawberries, it also gets a beautiful pink color from them.
Instead of filling this cake with cream cheese icing, which is what I would normally do, I decided to go with champagne buttercream. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t get the strawberry and champagne combination out of my head. Since I know very little about being pregnant, I actually had to email Annie to find out if it was okay for me to use champagne in the frosting. I got her okay and went with it. I love the bright, festive flavor the champagne buttercream adds to this cake. I didn’t want to completely drown the cake in champagne buttercream, though, and decided to frost it with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream. I’ll be posting the recipe for it at a later date, since I thought three recipes might be a little much for one post. :)
I wasn’t sure what type of topper to add to the cake and decided to try my hand at paper bunting. Something many of you probably don’t know about me is that I love paper crafting. I made the letters using the Silhouette Eric’s mom got me for Christmas and cut the triangles by hand. I simply glued the letters to the triangles, glued the triangles to butcher’s twine and tied it to two skewers. Simple as that.
From Scratch Strawberry Cake
For the strawberry purée:
24 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed
For the cake:
3/4 cup strawberry purée, room temperature
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
To make the strawberry purée, pour thawed strawberries into a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl to remove any liquid. Save liquid for a later use or discard. Purée strawberries in a blender or food processor and set aside 3/4 cup for the cake. The remaining 1/2 cup can be used to fill the cake, top ice cream, make daiquiris or almost anything else you can think of.
To make the cake, preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour two 8-inch pans and line with a parchment round. In a small bowl, whisk together strawberry purée, milk, egg whites and vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed. Add butter and continue mixing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the purée mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Divide the batter evenly among the pans (a kitchen scale works wonders here) and smooth tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake cakes for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cakes are cooled, fill with champagne buttercream (recipe follows).
Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Good Things Catered
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon champagne, prosecco or other sparkling wine
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until champagne has been reduced to 2 tablespoons. Pour into a small bowl and allow to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment, beat butter and sugar together on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high. Beat until butter is lightened and the frosting is thick and fluffy. Add the reduced champagne and the remaining 1 tablespoon of champagne and continue beating until incorporated.
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
*Recipe notes: I made a recipe and a half of the cake in order to get three 6-inch cakes, with some batter leftover. How much champagne buttercream you will need will depend on whether you plan to fill and frost the cake or simply fill it. One recipe of the buttercream should be enough to fill and frost two 8-inch cakes. I got the idea for the ruffle cake from My Sweet and Saucy, and her video tutorial shows you how to make the ruffled design.
Big thanks to Ashley, Shawnda, Nikki, Elly, Amy, Josie, Michelle, Tara, Shanon, Lauren and Kelsey for participating in this shower and creating such wonderful dishes. And thank you, Annie, for being such a wonderful friend and allowing me to celebrate this special occasion with you. :)