Strawberry + champagne cake
I’ve never really been a big drinker. While I know this will damage my credibility as a lawyer, I confess that my consumption of alcohol tends to take place approximately once every two months or so in the form of 1.5 glasses of white wine at Friday night drinks.
I attribute my general indifference to drinking alcohol to a collection of unfortunate experiences. Given that the less that’s said about these experiences, the better, I have written some haikus to give you an idea:
Red fanta bombora mix
Twelve hours without eating
Fruit juice based cocktails
Notwithstanding my quarterly attendance at work drinks, I humbly believe that the best way to consume alcohol is in a cake. I’ve experimented with red and white wine in the past, but my favourite alcohol to bake with to date is sparkling white wine.
My strawberry and champagne layer cake is a nod to a classic flavour combination. It’s the perfect way to celebrate, without the hangover.
Makes 3 x 6 inch cakes. Serves 8 to 10.
290 grams of plain flour
3½ teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
155 grams of unsalted butter (softened)
335 grams of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
5 egg whites
315 millilitres of champagne/sparkling white wine
225 grams of fresh or frozen strawberries
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice
250 grams of caster sugar
135 grams of egg whites
395 grams of unsalted butter (softened)
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
75 millilitres of champagne/sparkling white wine (room temperature)
75 grams of white chocolate crisp pearls
8 to 10 large sliver cachous
White glitter lustre powder
Make the champagne cake
- Preheat your oven to 180◦C.
- Grease three 6 inch cake tins and line with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
- Add the sugar to the butter and cream for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the eggs and vanilla bean paste to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until combined.
- Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the champagne.
- Evenly divide the cake batter between the prepared cake tins.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out of the centre of the cakes clean. Set aside to cool.
Make the strawberry compote
- Combine the frozen strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and cook them over a medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, ensuring to stir occasionally. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
Make the champagne buttercream
- Combine the sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Place the stand mixer bowl over a saucepan of water to create a double boiler. Ensure that the water does not touch the bottom of the stand mixer bowl.
- Heat the sugar and egg whites to 70◦C, stirring occasionally with a whisk.
- Once at temperature, transfer the stand mixture bowl to the stand mixer. With a whisk attachments, beat the eggs and sugar on a high speed until stiff peaks are formed.
- Change the whisk attachment to a paddle attachment. Add the butter slowly on a low speed.
- Add the vanilla bean paste and combine.
- Add the champagne very slowly.
Assemble the strawberry + champagne layer cake
- Once the cakes are completely cooled, level them to ensure that the tops of the cakes are flat.
- Using a small amount of buttercream, affix one cake to a cake board or plate.
- Spread a small amount of buttercream on the first cake and follow with half of the strawberry compote. Repeat with the second layer of the cake.
- Use the remaining buttercream, frost the top and sides of the cake, smoothing with a scraper.
- Attach the crisp pearls to the base of the cake in a random pattern. The goal is to make them look like champagne bubbles rising up the cake. If desired, paint the crisp pearls with white glitter lustre powder.
- Pipe rosettes on the top of the cake with a Wilton 2B tip. Finish with more crisp pearls and the sliver cachous.