The Perfect Mix of Ingredients

April showers are intended to bring May flowers, but there is no catchy saying to give the novice gardener a clue about what to do when there are May showers.  Due to this rain, our modest contribution to the community garden has not gone into the ground.  In fact, I'm fairly certain that our plot hasn't been properly tilled, but I'm not sure exactly what that means.  The organizers of the garden assured us that they would get to it as soon as there was enough sun to dry out the muddy dirt, and with sunshine in the forecast for the next two days, I'm hopeful that we will be able to plant our vegetables by Thursday evening.

What do we do while we wait?  We bake.  Well, Tim bakes.  I just...stir the batter?  Or just take pictures.  Whatever is most helpful and doesn't ruin anything!

One of our (and when I say "our," I mean Tim's) most recent projects was perfecting the bundt cake.  I suppose the idea of a Vanilla Sparkling Wine Pound Cake came from me, but he is never one to object to copious amounts of sugar (just ask his mother--he gets it from her)!  And I also can't help it that my grandmother gives loads of women's magazines to my mother each month, and then I steal borrow them from my parent's house.  It gives me something to read on the drives back and forth!

Flipping through this variety of magazines centered on home, family, and food, I wondered if I had just woken up one day and these "grown-up" magazines suddenly were relevant to me.

But then again, the topics in these magazines really do interest me, and in many ways always have.  I suppose this change didn't just happen to me overnight. Many friends in college referred to me as the "mom" because I was always cooking family dinners and organizing group events.  It's a natural progression to do the same within my family--planning weekly menus, instituting family game nights (where I still dominate everyone in dominoes), and investing time into making our house a home.

Mastering the perfect bundt cake is really just an extension of what we are trying to accomplish in our home, our marriage, and our family.  The perfect mix of ingredients that we are able to savor together.

Vanilla Sparkling Wine Pound Cake
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients for the Cake
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sparkling wine (I used Pink Champagne)
3 tbsp sour cream
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup canola oil
5 cold eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt cake pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Sift mixture and set aside.  In a separate bowl, stir together sour cream and sparkling wine and set aside.

2.  Using an electric mixer, mix together sugar, melted butter, and oil until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  Beat in vanilla extract and continue to beat on medium-high for 3 to 5 minutes until the batter is thicker and lighter in color.  Stop mixing and add 1/3 the flour mixture.  Beat on low until just combined, and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add half of the wine mixture, beat until just combined.  Repeat with 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining wine mixture, and the final 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Be careful not to over mix!  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan with a rubber spatula.

3.  Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cake out on the rack and cool completely.

Ingredients for the Sparkling Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp sparkling wine + additional wine if needed

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar with 1 tbsp sparkling wine.  Add additional wine, 1 tbsp at a time, until you reach drizzling consistency.  Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

This was really heavenly.  I hope you give it a try!

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