By Brini Maxwell
It’s Valentine’s Day (or almost) and you need some fast, fun and flirty ideas to entertain the gang. Fear not, Brini Maxwell, host of The Brini Maxwell Show on The Style Network and spokesperson for Bacardi¨ Flavored Rums, has come up with just the right thing – Cake and Cocktails! The party is simple and easy to prepare ahead of time, and makes your job as host trs simple.
Brini’s Tips For Stylish Entertaining
A cake is a cake is a cake – yes? Not for this occasion! According to Brini, you should supplement your cake offerings with some simple store bought goodies. Your ooh la la signature offering should be something you baked yourself. A simple yummy round cake with clouds of white frosting will do nicely.
If you’re in the mood, a heart shaped cake can be made by baking the cake in two pans – a square one and a round one that has the same diameter as the sides of the square one. When baked, cut the round layer in half and place each half alongside of the square one. The shape created when the cake is frosted is a heart and no one will be the wiser that it was made up of two pieces. In Brini’s words, “So why didn’t you think of that?”
Brini’s friend Heloise suggests that if you want your Valentines to have a Valentine postmark, address them, put on the proper postage and then mail them all in a large envelope to: Postmaster of Valentines, Valentines, VA 23887-9998. She also suggests you send one to yourself to see what the postmark looks like.
Some Valentines inspiring decor for your cocktail and cake party can include a red blanket, lovely candles and flowers. You can create a picnic feel by including a picnic basket – this can hold cupcakes or heart shaped cookies for your guests. You might also want to serve heart shaped biscuits with clotted cream and raspberry jam – you can create heart shaped biscuits by using a cookie cutter. To make a heart shaped cupcake or muffin put a marble between the muffin tin and cupcake liner before you bake them.
For beverages, create designer pink cocktails to add flair to the party. Brini has a favorite she created for the occasion – The Heart and Soul. You might also want to serve rose petal tea for those guests who prefer something non-alcoholic or try club soda with a splash of raspberry syrup.
When it comes to keeping your guests occupied, Brini suggests a ‘Lovers Game’ that can be contrived from a bowl of sweet hearts – each person takes a piece of the candy and you kiss the person whose text matches yours, pair up for a kiss. Rules are made to be broken after all!
Following are Brini’s recipes for a simple Valentine’s fete.
RAZZ VELVET CAKE
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 18 1/2 oz. package of yellow cake mix
1 3 3/4 oz. Jell-O Vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup BACARDI Razzª
* If using yellow cake mix with pudding already in the mix; omit instant pudding, use 3 eggs instead of 4, 1/3 cup oil instead of 1/2.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 9″ or 10″ round cake pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts. Bake 1 hour. Cool. Invert layers on serving plate. Evenly spread frosting over top and sides of cake.
FLUFFY VANILLA BUTTER CREAM FROSTING
Whites of large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
CHOCOLATE RAZZ HEART CAKE
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs, size large
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup BACARDI Razz
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350¡ F. Butter and line with parchment or waxed paper the bottom of a 9″ or 10″ round cake pan. -OR- A similarly sized heart-shaped pan may be used. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending smooth between each. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa. In a separate container, blend together the sour cream and rum. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and the rum mixture, beginning and ending with the dry. Slowly pour in the water and mix until well blended. Pour the batter into the pan and shake gently to level. BAKE 30-40 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and let cool 5-6 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
DARK CHOCOLATE ICING
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons BACARDI Razz
1 cup jarred sour cherry preserves
1 4-ounce piece of semi-sweet chocolate (or chocolate bar)
1. Place the chocolate and butter in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Pour the cream over the chocolate and butter and shake the bowl gently to distribute the cream evenly. Let sit 2-3 minutes. Whisk together by hand until smooth. Cover the surface of the icing with plastic wrap, and set aside in a cool place to set (do not refrigerate). When set, the icing should have the consistency of a firm pudding. Set aside the preserves until cake is to be assembled.
2. With a vegetable peeler, shave the bar of chocolate into a metal bowl. Place the bowl of shavings in the freezer until the cake is to be decorated.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
1. When completely cool, invert the cake onto a serving plate.
2. Using a hand-held whisk, stir the cooled chocolate icing, adding the rum gradually. Once rum is incorporated, whisk vigorously for a few seconds until the icing lightens slightly in color (IF CAKE WAS BAKED IN A HEART-SHAPED PAN, OMIT STEP 3 AND PROCEED WITH STEP 4)
3. For the circular cake, cut off two pieces from the bottom half of the circle.
Spread a small amount of chocolate icing over the cut edge of the pieces an adhere them to the top half of the circle.
4. Spread 2/3 of the icing over the top and sides of the cake. Take chocolate shavings from freezer and adhere shavings to the sides of the cake. Spread the cherry preserves gently over the top of the cake, leaving a 1″ border around the edges. Place the remaining chocolate icing into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe a border around the top edge of the heart.
BRINI’S HEART AND SOUL COCKTAIL
2 oz. Bacardi Razz
4 oz. GayFuel
2 splashes Cranberry Juice
Pour all ingredients into shaker and stir.
Serve over ice in a high ball glass. Garnish with a cut Strawberry and a pinch of Love
This cocktail recipe can be pre-measured in a pitcher and then shaken over ice in a cocktail shaker to add drama to the Cake and Cocktails soiree.
6 ounces BACARDI RAZZ
1 ounce sweet & sour
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce Chambord
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Shake and strain all ingredients into a chilled 10 ounce MARTINI glass.
Garnish with 3 skewered raspberries and a fresh sprig of mint.