Inspired Recipe: Champagne Cake with Cherry Glaze
Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures inspired me to make champagne cake with cherry glaze. I wanted to bring together two elements that exist deliciously in tandem, in the same way that both Elsa Emerson and Laura Lamont exist within our heroine.
Elsa is defined by her two selves. She is the girl from Door County, WI, who acts in the Cherry County Playhouse during the summer, and dreams of going out West and becoming an actress. She is also the woman who becomes a Hollywood star, whose face is so well known that every outing is defined by recognition, whose life revolves around what happens in a studio lot. We watch as Elsa is first Elsa Emerson and then Laura Lamont, but eventually she becomes someone new, someone who melds her past and her present selves together. This melding of who Elsa was and who she made herself to be, inspired me to bring these two aspects together and make a recipe that represented both Elsa and Laura. To do this, I combined a classic Hollywood libation with the banner fruit of Door County: Champagne and cherries. Hollywood, meet Door County. Champagne cake, meet cherry glaze.
- 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 11 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
- 1-1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cups Champagne
- 6 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 10 inch round cake pan.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.
In a large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites. Pour into prepared pan and cover with foil*.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- 300g cherries (frozen, canned, or fresh)
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 2 tablespoons water (1 tablespoon for frozen cherries)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons sugar
In a medium saucepan, heat cherries, brandy, and water over medium heat. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine cornstarch and sugar and add to the cherry mixture. Stir gently and cook at low heat until the sauce thickens.
Now that you’re good and hungry, read our recommendation of the book that inspired this recipe: Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures.