A Gift From Savoie + Slight Sacrilege

Scandalous post title, right? To temper expectations, I’m not talking about anything too crazy. Simply, a dessert besides cupcakes appears in the pics below. By way of reason, they were a gift, they were pretty, and I’ve never said no to anything with sugar in it.

They were a gift for a week of celebrations! New team at work and lots of work ahead that I’m excited about. They were also an incentive to train harder for the upcoming Portland Marathon…and totally worked… (Hey, I put it in writing on here- now I have to do it).

There have also been an abundance of really upsetting natural disasters this week, around the country and close to home. My heart goes out to everyone impacted by the hurricanes, and the fire in the Columbia Gorge. Place any order placed over the next 30 days, and 100% will be donated to organizations helping those in need get back on their feet.

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But the real star of the show is Jean Vullien, a perfect sparkler for just about anything. She, too, was a gift and a beaut at that. I’d never seen her before at my regular bubbles haunts, but research showed that she’s available at Elephant’s Deli, a Portland favorite of mine.

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She’s a girly girl. She’s full of tiny pink bubbles: 50% Chardonnay grapes, 30% Jacquere, and 20% Altesse. All are from France, specifically the region of Savoie. Notice how her region of origin is just as large as her name on the label? Savoie is no Champagne, but it’s close enough to be home to many delicious sparkling wines.

This beauty has floral and citrus notes, with a touch of something nutty- almond or hazelnut. Upon first sip, second sip, first glass, second glass, I noticed a creaminess and interestingly enough, a little bit of mint. The mint made it a bit of a palate cleanser- perfect for the different types of macarons. One fun fact that intrigued me was that 10,000 bottles were produced. Honestly, I was unsure whether that was something to write home about or not. I did some research and found this article to be helpful.

For less than $20, highly recommend… If you can find her…

Hope everyone has a wonderful and SAFE week.

Xo,
Jenna

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One Bubbly Birthday

Hi friends!

It’s been a minute. This is largely due to one of the most debilitating colds/infections/sicknesses I’ve dealt with in a while. While my (imaginary) school of medicine believes that cupcakes and sparkling wine cure everything, my “real” doctor squad (the one I pay co-pays to, the pre-med sister, and the ass-kicking intern best friend) kind of aligned that fluids, rest, and meds were a better route.

Squarely in the middle of this cold season fell my 28th birthday! It was hands down the best birthday I’ve ever had. I say this most years, and I think that’s by design. That my friendships, my work achievements, my hobbies, and my adventures keep getting cooler and cooler is, well–COOL!

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The weekend prior, some of my beautiful lady friends treated me to a delicious supper at ClarkLewis. The week of, I kicked things off by cheering on my Blazers from killer seats. I treated my actual birthday as my floating holiday at work (National Jenna Appreciation Day) and headed to Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast. Historically, I’ve been fairly opposed to gambling, but I guess new, 28-year-old me is a fan–and a big-time winner! I returned home on Sunday relaxed, rejuvenated, and ready to enjoy a steak the size of my head at St. Jack. Bisous, bisous, bisous to everyone who made the celebrations so special.

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I figured it was in everyone’s best interests if I didn’t bake cupcakes while under the weather–but that didn’t stop a certain special someone from gifting me a truly top-notch bubbles gift.

YAY for Dom! This bottle joins another in my collection that will only be consumed when there’s a diamond ring on my finger, when I check off 100% of my professional goals (probably never going to happen), or–heck–when bubbles + sprinkles opens its first brick and mortar store. Hey, you read it here first!

Dom on its own is a sleek and sassy class act. But vintages like this one and my 2004 Limited Edition Gift Box by Jeff Koons are just next level. The box features designs by iconic artists, this one specifically–Michael Riedel. The bottle features a taste profile of licorice (not normally my jam, but they make it WORK), hay, tangerines, and peaches. It invokes some serious summer vibes, which automatically puts me in an amazing mood. (NOTE–even though I’m not opening this special bottle, I have tried this vintage at a recent shindig. Hence, I can speak to yumminess specifics.)

Closing the chapter on year 27, I have but one wish–a speedy recovery to 100% so that I can share “Then and Now: Funfetti Cupcakes.” Stay tuned…

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Xo,
Jenna

Spotlight on Le Grand Courtâge

The wonders of the Northwest never cease to amaze me. They actually tend to put weekend days on pedestals, because there are so many cool spots to keep up with.

This find is from two weeks back, a very ABV driven adventure along the Columbia River. We were able to hit three planned breweries, an underground whiskey apothecary and a surprise tribute to Mother Nature. It was here, at Dougan Falls in Washington, that we kicked off our boots for a minute and just relaxed. And then we popped bubbles.

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Mini bubbles for the week and such a pleasant little spotlight. Le Grand Courtâge was created by Tawnya Falkner, previously a designer and developer in SF. She was over its hustle and bustle and decided to move to Burgundy to pursue other passions. Well her move is our gain– this gorgeous, gold medal French sparkling wine. The name means “the Great Courtship,” with a number of meanings: the blend between French and American culture, the great journey she set out on and the courtship of love and life that sparkling wine definitely inspires.

While the bottle alone sold me, function and aesthetic, the flavor is just as unique. It’s extremely balanced, crisp and dry, but fruit forward. I tasted granny apples and strawberries, supported by a bit of honeysuckle. I recommend with creamy pastas, cheese, and adventures in the Columbia River Gorge.

Hope that everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna

 

Boston Cream Pie and a French Sparkling Brut

Hello all!

Hope you had a wonderful week. I think there was a very pronounced hour last Sunday, early morning (let’s call it Daylight Savings for kicks), when Portland decided to immediately transition from 60-70 degrees each day to 40-50 degrees. And decided to add rain. Sometimes sleet… I’m whining but it’s my favorite weather, ever. I’m sure that a resident of any city would champion the foliage and panoramas of their homestead, but it has been decreed that they’re wrong. Portland, Oregon is the most beautiful city in the world in the fall.

Rain on a Sunday in the fall means a long run, catching up with my family, and then an afternoon of bubbles&sprinkles. The cupcakes on these days take a little bit longer, they’re a bit more labor-intensive. But when they’re done and I can listen to the rain pounding outside while enjoying a cupcake and a glass of bubbles, I am one happy lady.

So, Boston Cream Pie. Vanilla pudding- check! Chocolate ganache- check! Fluffy white cupcakes- check! (Look at all of that productivity on a Sunday.) Fits squarely into comfort food. I actually haven’t had a Boston Cream Pie in years, and I love turning other pastries into cupcakes, so this seemed like a perfect fit. They’re a little bit messy, and a little bit rich, and cover all necessary ingredients to send you into a food coma before a busy Monday morning, whoops.

Recipe (makes 12):

Cake-

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pudding-

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp butter

Ganache-

  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake ingredients and beat until smooth. Fill cupcake liner and cook for 15 minutes. Beat pudding ingredients and place in fridge to cool. Heat corn syrup and heavy whipping cream until simmering. Remove from stove and add chocolate. Cover for eight minutes. Stir and add vanilla.

Hollow cooled cupcakes and fill with pudding. Replace tops. Dip in ganache and cool. Time to enjoy!

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Jacques Pelvas French Sparkling Brut Rosé is one of the most popular sparkling wines from Provence, partially due to its affordability and to its diverse flavor story. It’s made from the Grenache grape, a grape seen in many of the European romance countries.

The wine is pale pink and super bubbly. You’ll get strawberries and apple on the rose. It’s well-balanced and has a huge follow through, no matter what you’re enjoying it with. The acidity and the vanilla pudding of the cupcakes were two peas in a pod. I’d also recommend it with a salty salad or fish dishes.

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Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna

Orange Sherbet and a Poptop Rose

Working my way through a backlog of random flavor requests and Corrie, your number is up.

While it’s not the most “fall like” of flavor profiles, Orange Sherbet sure does hold Queen in her court. She’s sweet, and fluffy, and tangy and creamy and pretty much the epitome of a cupcake princess. She was a little high maintenance and a little bit of a sweetheart and…I can only handle her in small doses.

After a long absence, it was back to ‘stuffed’ cupcakes for me– working on a better name– and surprisingly, this was a wonderfully successful experience. Corrie had requested “Orange Sherbet Cupcakes” and I wanted to oblige her request, but I was at a bit of a loss. How does one achieve a sherbet flavor? Every recipe I searched encouraged a straight-up layer of orange sherbet on top of regular cupcakes, but I was not a fan of losing any additional sleep for freshly frozen cupcakes. So I went after my next favorite element of orange sherbet- the texture. A whipped orange creme filled orange-yellow-cake cupcakes and were topped with a light orange buttercream frosting. As aforementioned, small doses recommended.

Recipe (makes 12):

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tin. Mix cake ingredients until smooth and fill liners.

Orange Creme

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp orange extract
  • 2 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Bake cupcakes for 17 minutes. Once cooled, remove tops of cupcakes. Whip Orange Creme ingredients until frothy. Let sit for 1 hour in fridge to cool. Then drop a dollop of creme in each cupcake.

Frosting

  • 16 oz confectioners sugar
  • 3 tbsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Mix frosting ingredients and frost cooled cupcakes as desired. Share with others and eat sparingly.

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I didn’t feel any sort of exiled drinking Lise and Bertrand’s Exile Rose Petillant from the Loire Valley. Though the opening of the bottle was more similar to that of a beer than a bottle of traditional Champagne, it didn’t stop this sparkling wine from tasting just as decadent as the cupcakes. ‘Twas vibrantly pink and 100% Gamay. Smells like hard cider, but tastes deeper than that. There are savory components on the finish. Great choice for the nights when you just don’t want to take yourself too seriously.

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Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Cheers,
Jenna