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Strawberry + champagne cake

Posted on Jun 8, 2017 by in Recipes | 0 comments

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:

Adolescent angst

Red fanta bombora mix

Emotional drunk      

McDonalds Breakfast

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.

Champagne cake

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

Strawberry compote

225 grams of fresh or frozen strawberries

1 teaspoon of caster sugar

Squeeze of lemon juice

Champagne buttercream

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)

For presentation

75 grams of white chocolate crisp pearls

8 to 10 large sliver cachous

White glitter lustre powder


Make the champagne cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. Grease three 6 inch cake tins and line with baking paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
  5. Add the sugar to the butter and cream for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  6. Slowly add the eggs and vanilla bean paste to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until combined.
  7. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the champagne.
  8. Evenly divide the cake batter between the prepared cake tins.
  9. 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

  1. 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

  1. Combine the sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. 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.
  3. Heat the sugar and egg whites to 70C, stirring occasionally with a whisk.
  4. 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.
  5. Change the whisk attachment to a paddle attachment. Add the butter slowly on a low speed.
  6. Add the vanilla bean paste and combine.
  7. Add the champagne very slowly.

Assemble the strawberry + champagne layer cake

  1. Once the cakes are completely cooled, level them to ensure that the tops of the cakes are flat.
  2. Using a small amount of buttercream, affix one cake to a cake board or plate.
  3. 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.
  4. Use the remaining buttercream, frost the top and sides of the cake, smoothing with a scraper.
  5. 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.
  6. Pipe rosettes on the top of the cake with a Wilton 2B tip. Finish with more crisp pearls and the sliver cachous.

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