I have actually never been a fan of New Year’s Eve. Other than getting an excuse off of work, there really doesn’t feel like that much difference between “the new year” and any other day for me. Relativity, AMIRITE? We’ve all seen Interstellar by now, so we all like, totally grasp the concept.
Since I find New Year’s Eve so boring, here are some facts that I found that may make it a little less lackluster, in spite of all of its efforts with sparkles and whatnot:
- The first New Year was celebrated 4,000 years ago by the ancient Babylonians.
- Time Square’s New Year’s Eve Ball was first dropped in 1907 after there was a fireworks ban. Back then, a 700 pound ball embellished with 25-watt bulbs made of iron and wood was dropped. Now, however, it weighs 11,875 pounds, is 12 feet in diameter and is adorned with 2,668 Waterford crystals.
- The tradition has continued in Times Square, except for in 1942 and 1943. The ball was not lowered because of wartime restrictions.
- It’s good luck on New Year’s to eat foods like black eyed peas, ham and cabbage because it is thought they bring prosperity. But if you want to have a happy new year, don’t eat lobster or chicken. Lobsters can move backward and chickens can scratch in reverse, so it is thought these foods could bring a reversal of fortune.
- Items or food that are ring shaped are seen to be good luck. This symbolizes “coming full circle”, which is what one year does. Some cultures eat ring-like food through the evening and through the night to ensure that good luck will be bestowed upon everyone who eats. The Dutch often eat doughnuts. Yum.
- In Asian cultures, rice is a hearty and lucky staple that is eaten around midnight to signify the coming year of fortune.
But really, I never did anything for New Year’s Eve until last year. Heath absolutely adores Hank Williams Jr. When he told me Hank was playing through midnight on Broadway in Nashville, I knew I’d have to man up and actually make plans other than applying a face mask and passing out before midnight watching Carson Daly’s bullshit on cable TV. This year, I have yet another solid plan: I may make this little delicious treat this New Year’s Eve. I ate it at Heath’s work Christmas party (made by his lovely co-worker Shelby Wright), and I have to say it was so rich yet so fluffy. I just have to carve out another chance to eat it.
Shelby’s Champagne Pound Cake
3 cups sifted unbleached cake flour (I used King Arthur flour not cake flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sparkling champagne (brut is best)
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter melted
5 cold eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla paste (real vanilla extract works, imitation use 3-4)
1 recipe Champagne Glaze (below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and heavily flour a 10-inch tube pan; set aside. In large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift mixture; set aside. Stir together sparkling wine and sour cream; set aside.
In large mixing bowl beat sugar, melted butter, and oil with electric mixer until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla paste. Beat on medium to high 3 to 5 minutes or until thicker and lighter in color. Add one-third the flour mixture; beat on low just until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add half the wine mixture; beat just until combined.
Repeat with one-third the flour mixture, the remaining wine mixture, and remaining flour mixture.
Scrape batter into prepared pan.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes. Drizzle 1/3 of glaze on cake and let rest overnight, covered in fridge. Following day, turn cake out on rack; cool completely. Drizzle with rest of glaze.
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
Champagne to taste
In small bowl combine powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp. sparkling wine. Stir in additional wine, 1 tsp. at a time, to reach drizzling consistency.
Note from Shelby: The key is soaking the glaze overnight in the fridge. I usually bake 3 days before I am doing to serve it. Everything seems to come together better.