I’ve always enjoyed a good quality glass of wine. My husband and I love going on wine tours across the country and I’ve found that I have a love of Chardonnay. I’m willing to invest in a quality bottle of wine and I’ve found I particularly love Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay. I’ve learned to not only have a nice glass or two, but to use it in my cooking.
The Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay has all the elements of a classic Chardonnay. The grapes were hand-harvested starting in the early mornings and then cooled down to 50°-55°F to preserve the fruit’s fresh flavors and natural acidity. The fruity aromas of Golden Delicious apple, Bosc pears and white peach are accented with toasted nuts, oak spice, a hint of vanilla and a touch of butter. The creamy richness is balanced with a bright acidity and highlighted with flavors of apple, pear and lemon zest. Ummm…yea….amazing!
When I first moved to Cincinnati, I didn’t know anyone, I was moving from all that was familiar and starting a new life. Starting a new job can be stressful in and of itself, and a good friend goes a long way to making that transition all the more easier. I met Selina at work, we actually had some of the same shirts, and we would coordinate on which days we were going to wear what, so we didn’t end up matching. We soon began to talk and get to know each other, and before I knew it we were great friends.
As our friendship grew, we began to spend more and more time together, and quickly she became one of my best friends. I have to credit her for her influence of my love of cooking from scratch with great ingredients, and using good quality appliances. She has taught me so much about the different appliances and their different uses. One of the ingredients she really taught me about was using wine in cooking.
She always talks about her favorite dish that her Mom and Grandma used to make for her; it was homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Her birthday is in December amid all the holiday hustle and bustle, so it’s hard to find birthday cards and such with no Christmas theme, or Thanksgiving air to them. Her birthday fall just after Thanksgiving when we have all be stuffed to the nines, and need 3 weeks off to rid our bodies of all the rich indulgent food we just consumed. So needless to say she has been gipped a lot in birthday celebrations. So one year I decided that I was going to make her a homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
I grilled her covertly over a few weeks, look at different recipes and researching, asking questions, about what exactly she liked about her Mom and Grandma’s recipe. I prepared a Salmon dish en papillote (steamed in parchment) with some of her favorite veggies. But the prize to this meal, mainly because of all the work I put into it was the Carrot Cake.
This meal happened about 5 years ago, we were both newly married, and I had not yet acquired items like a food processor or a stand mixer. So I stayed up late and with my grandmother’s box grater, grated 3 cups of carrots finely to put into the cake and top it with a mouth-watering cream cheese icing. I kept checking my recipe over and over, and made sure my oven temp was just right, I wanted to get my best friends birthday dinner exactly right just the way she would like.
The dinner went off great, and though I don’t know how close it came to her Grandmother’s timeless recipe, I do know that she appreciated all the effort that I put forth. That truly is the currency of love isn’t it? Time, effort? These things are our most valuable gifts to give to our loved ones.
So as our lives have changed and evolved over the last 9 years we have remained friends, our daughters are best of friends. So I decided to tweak her favorite recipe to give us a “grown up” flare. I added in Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay into the batter and to the buttercream. The fruity notes of this wine really paired well with the 3 cups of finely shredded carrots, and brought out the sweetness in the batter and cream cheese buttercream. Wine and cheese are often paired together, so adding a splash of wine into the frosting just seemed to make sense to me. Try all the different wines that Sonoma-Cutrer have available and pair them with some of your favorite dishes.
2 ½ cups of whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup of Sonomoa-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
2 cups of granulated sugar
1 tbs of Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tbs of vanilla
3 cups of shredded carrots (1 Small bag of baby carrots)
2 whole egg
2 egg whites (slightly beaten)
2 tsp of baking soda
1 ½ cups of vegetable oil
1tsp of salt
Cream cheese frosting:
8oz of cream cheese
2 sticks of room temp butter
3 cups of powdered sugar
2 tsp of vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tbs of chardonnay
Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl mix together eggs, sugar, oil, until completely combined. Then add in pumpkin spice, vanilla and salt and mix. Follow with flour and baking soda and mix until just combined. Add in the shredded carrots and fold in using a spatula. Divide evenly among lined muffin tins. Makes 14-16 cupcakes.
Cream butter and cream cheese together, add in all other ingredients except Chardonnay. Mix all ingredients until frosting texture is apparent. Add in 2 tbs of chardonnay to the mix and combine well. Frost cupcakes when they are completely cool.
Pinnable Image for Pinterest!!