James Monroe was the final founders-generation president. He was also the fourth Virginian to hold the nation’s highest office. Monroe is perhaps best known for the Monroe Doctrine. Back in 1823, Monroe made a speech where he said, “that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by European powers”. The Monroe Doctrine served as the backbone to the American isolationist sentiment that lasted for quite a long while.
James Monroe wasn’t an American who knew nothing of life abroad. Unlike his predecessor, he had traveled across the ocean. In fact, Monroe served as Washington’s minister to France. This was no easy assignment as the US’s relationship to France was doing a two steps forward, one step back dance. Eventually, James Monroe was, ahem, relieved from this assignment. However, he had learned an appreciation for french culture. This affinity for the various elements of French culture, in time, influenced people’s opinion of Monroe.
Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth, came to occupy the White House in 1817. The White House was still in need of repair and restoration from the White House Fire (from which Dolley Madison famously saved the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington). Monroe hoped to restore dignity and elegance to the presidents’ residence. To achieve this end, Monroe ordered many french furnishings for the executive mansion. Monroe was also the first president to have china created for presidential use. At the time, this china, French-made. was criticized because it was foreign. Later, Congress passed a law mandating that all White House furniture be made in the United States. Eight pieces of gilded European furniture purchased during the Monroe term currently furnish the Blue Room in the White House.
Considering this part of Monroe’s history, I knew that his cupcake would need to nod indulgently toward France. Because we associate France with wine, I knew the cupcake needed to feature it.
Monroe’s cupcake is a rosé-flavored cake with strawberry whipped cream filling. The frosting is a mild white chocolate buttercream and drizzled with a rosé gel.
I loved the way that these flavors came together and was hard-pressed not to steal the cupcake that I had designated for my son. I also took these cupcakes to a fun party where they were well-received. I think President Monroe would have approved.