Thursday marked the end of my two year commitment to Teach for America. These two years have been far more challenging, meaningful, and transformative than I possibly could have imagined at the front end. There were days that I just wanted to go home and forget by watching hours of Netflix. There were other days that I couldn’t contain my excitement to the point that I had to call three separate people to tell the story before I could finally calm down. But most of all, TFA was amazing because of the people I met.
Obviously, there were the students. I essentially adopted 300 teenagers over the course of my two years, and teaching them biology was often the least of my concerns. They were the most hardworking, caring, hilarious group of high schoolers I have ever met.
Then, there were the teachers at my school. Being a first year teacher (or second year, for that matter) is no easy task, and, without my colleagues, I don’t think I could have done it. They were there early in the morning (Hi Kristine!) to late at night, and always willing to share anything I asked for. I’m not sure they know how many times they saved me, so to anyone reading, thank you!
And last, but certainly not least, there were the wonderful group of friends I made along the way. As we all struggled with learning a profession on the fly, they were the ones I most often turned to to share stories about our students, brainstorm how to deal with different scenarios, or just remember that we were allowed to have lives outside of the school, whether that be full afternoons at the Shannon Rose or Saturday nights spent crafting and watching Aladdin. I’ll miss you guys!
So, this post is a toast to all of the people that have made such a big difference in my life during my time with TFA. Thank you, and come visit me in Boston, I’ll bake you more treats!
This cake echoes a champagne toast in that it is a great, light-tasting dessert for a birthday, New Year’s, or any other event that requires celebrating.
To start, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together using the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy.Alternate adding the flour mixture and champagne to the stand mixer, beating well to combine after each addition. You should start and end with flour. Side note: I thought I was going to be really clever and buy a mini bottle of champagne to save some money. After realizing that it wouldn’t be enough to make both the cake and frosting, I had to go buy a second. Do yourself a favor and just buy a regular bottle, and drink the rest while you’re baking. It will be better that way.
Anyways, in a separate, large bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Whisk a spoonful of the beaten eggs into the batter to lighten it. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until just combined. Be careful not to overmix – you want this to be a light cake, not a dense one. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with cooking spray and dust with flour. Split the batter evenly between the two pans.Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean and the edges have begun to pull away from the sides. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, you’ll likely need to make two batches of the buttercream if you plan on decorating the cake. For each batch, you should start by beating together the butter, champagne, and milk in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until combined. Then, add the confectioner’s sugar and beat on low speed until it begins to come together, increasing to medium speed and beating until light and fluffy for spreading. To adjust thickness, add milk to thin or confectioner’s sugar to thicken. When the cakes are cool, use a cake leveler to even off the surface of the cake. Spread with frosting. Add the second layer, frost, and decorate as desired. If you aren’t serving the cake that day, store covered in the refrigerator. Remove and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Champagne Layer Cake
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup champagne
- 5 large egg whites
For the Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 3 tablespoons champagne
- Whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake four, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Add the flour mixture and champagne alternately, beating well after each addition, and starting and ending with the flour mixture.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed using a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Whisk a spoonful of egg whites into the batter to lighten. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining egg whites gently.
- Divide the batter evenly between two 9 inch round cake pans prepared by spraying with cooking spray and sprinkling with flour. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
To Make the Buttercream Frosting:
- In a stand mixer, beat together the butter, milk, and champagne to combine.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat on low speed until just combined, increasing to medium until light, fluffy, and ready to spread.
- Spread over first layer of cake. Add second layer. Spread on sides and top. Decorate as desired.