Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pink Champagne & Strawberry Cake

Hiya!! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, mine was turkey-filled. Got lots of wonderful presents, and hopefully everyone liked what I gave them. And now 2010 is almost over, can you believe it? I know I say this every year, but this year has really whizzed by. So I'm closing off the year with a celebratory cake. I know it's a little late for those who might actually want to attempt this recipe for New Year's Eve parties, I planned on getting it done earlier but then work got in the way, as per usual.
So what is this cake exactly? It's been a while since I've worked up the energy to make a full-sized layered cake, but it was exactly what I thought was perfect for this time of year. There were so many sweet little strawberries on sale, and I had to test out my new strawberry huller which I got for Christmas. I'm not usually a fan of one-use-only kitchen gadgets but it was so handy! And nothing says New Year like here is my Fresh Strawberry Cake with Pink Champagne Buttercream.
I made this cake with several occasions in mind. It's a HAPPY NEW YEAR! cake...and a WELCOME BACK! cake for my brother and his wife, and also HAPPY BIRTHDAY! for the both of them who celebrated their birthdays overseas this month. So hopefully when they arrive tomorrow and try the cake they will totally love it and will be very understanding about the fact that their sister is a baking blogger who always shows up with cakes that already have a slice carved out of them. Because I always have to give you guys a good innards shot!
YUM! That makes you want to dive right into it right? The strawberry cake is super, super easy, and a great way to show off some really great sweet, fresh strawberries. The cakes stay nice and soft, so you don't have to worry about making them a couple days ahead before you cover them in the buttercream. The pink champagne in the buttercream gives it a very light tang which counteracts the sweetness of the cake. Top it off with more of those fresh strawberries dipped in some bitter dark chocolate and it's certain to be a hit with your friends on New Year's Eve.
I always forget what a pain it is to ice a cake until I start doing it. Obviously my icing skills could still use some work, but I think I'm slowly improving! I love how pretty and pink the insides of the cake look against the pale buttercream. And it wouldn't be a New Year's celebration cake without fireworks right???
Strawberry Cake with Pink Champagne Buttercream
(adapted from this recipe, serves 8-10)
85g (6 tbsp) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
2 punnets (1 pound) strawberries, hulled and halved (if you wanted to make it a little boozier, you could marinate the strawberries in pink champagne overnight)

For the buttercream:
5 large egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
315g butter, room temperature
2/3 cup pink champagne
Optional: 1 punnet fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate, white chocolate flakes
(If you're new to making Swiss meringue buttercream, these wonderful tutorials from two of my favourite bloggers will help)

Grease and line two 20cm round cake tins and preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk, and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Split mixture between the two prepared tins and smooth tops with a spatula. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, 1 punnet per tin, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries (1 tbsp for each tin). Bake cakes for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 160 degrees. Bake until cakes are golden brown and firm to the touch, about 40-45 mins (if on top and bottom rack, switch cakes between racks halfway through). Let cool in tin on a wire rack, then turn out. Can be stored in an airtight container for a day or so before icing.
To prepare the buttercream, whisk together egg white and sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Clip a candy thermometer to side of bowl. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk until mixture reaches 70°C (160°F) and sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

With a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg white mixture on high speed until cooled and thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Add champagne and whip until smooth and thick. Buttercream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before using, and beat on low speed until smooth. Fill and crumb coat the cake with about 1/3 of the mixture, then cover entire cake with the remaining frosting and smooth with a spatula. Top with chocolate covered strawberries and shaved white chocolate to decorate. Can be refrigerated for up to three days after icing. For best results, remove from the fridge several hours ahead and serve at room temperature.
Happy New Year everyone!!! I will see you in 2011 with more baked goodies :)
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  1. oh my gosh i am so excited i saw this post today! i've been trying to plan a perfect new years eve dinner for my BF and i... i needed a dessert. this seems great and really new years appropriate! thanks! if i make it i will let you know so you can see how i did [via my blog]! :) :)


  2. Ooooo baby baby... That looks so freaking delish! Bubbles and strawberries is my kinda combo. All the best for the new year darl, see you soon!

  3. This cake looks AMAZING!! Great celebration cake. I love the idea of using pink champagne in the buttercream. I can't wait to whip one up thanks for the recipe :)

  4. Beautiful cake! It sounds and looks wonderful.

  5. What a gorgeous looking cake. I thought you had layered it with strawberries, but baking them directly onto the cake is genius. And how did you get the edges of your cake so neat? Tres professional!

  6. Just lovely!

    This will be gracing my New Year's Dessert table!

    Thank you!

  7. teehee lols @ the slice cut out of cake before being given! gorgeous cake dude and happy new year!

  8. Oh how I enjoed these pictures, the cake and buttercream is just perfect!

  9. OMG! That looks absolutely delicious!! The strawberries just make me want to dive right in and I am so curios about the tast of the pink champagne butter cream!

  10. ooh that cake looks awesome! I love all the strawberries studded into the cake itself, so pretty and pink :) happy new year steph!

  11. It's so pretty in its blushing pink! Puts me to shame for brining back pink bubbly from the Hunter and just, well, drinking it =p

    Happy New Year and many more cakes for 2011!

  12. what a fantastic idea for a cake! i'm going to do this as soon as i get the chance. happy new year!

  13. the pink champagne in this recipe got my attention! what a great cake to celebrate the new year with. happy new year girl!

  14. Looks so good and even though its after New Years I plan to make this soon for a friend's birthday! Great site! Love it and now following. I am always looking for new foodie friends! Come and visit if you get the chance! Would love to have you! XOXO

  15. gorgeous cake!! thanks for sharing, going to try that out. happy new year to you!

  16. Sensational idea to bake the strawberries into the cake and sprinkling with sugar guarantees sweetness no matter what shape the strawberries are in - personally I don't think the last three years' strawberries have been good at al, whatever happened to the Camerosa variety which was always sweet? Sigh!

  17. As per usual GORGEOUS cake sweetie!! a massive HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!! hope its an immense one! xx

  18. I am making thins cake for my birthday! It sounds amazing!

  19. I dribbled over this cake back in December when you first posted and I am (finally!) going to adapt it to make Valentine's Day cupcakes. Thank you so much for the inspiration - and wish me luck!

  20. That is a beautiful cake! I can only imagine how wonderful it tastes!

  21. i've been drooling over this cake (and many other of your recipes) for so long. i'm finally making this now, for a christmas party. it's absolutely beautiful. thank you so much. <3

  22. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe. I took it to a friends New Years Eve celebration and it was an absolute hit. The only downside was that there was no leftovers for seconds ;) This was also my first introduction to SMBC, what a sensational, sophisticated taste and I will not be going back to the old BC recipe.

  23. Question for you- I'm having trouble getting my egg whites any where close to 160 degrees celcius. Any ideas for trouble shooting?

    1. Argh! The recipe should read 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 70 degrees celcius. So sorry about the ambiguity, I will update that right now!

  24. What is 160C equivalent to in Fahrenheit?

  25. This cake looks beautiful - I was thinking about making some sort of cupcake version for my mum's birthday... do you think by using the same ingredients and replacing with smaller chunks of strawberry throughout the mixture it would work out? I know the pieces might sink to the bottom, but hopefully would still taste good!

    1. Hi HC, I think that should work fine! A cupcake version sounds lovely. Good luck with adapting the recipe and happy birthday to your Mum!

  26. Hi can I just leave out the champagne for the buttercream.

    1. Sure...but you might want to replace it with another flavouring like vanilla or some strawberry puree or jam?

  27. Cant wait to try this! Recommendations for pink champagne? Would sparkling rose or pink moscato work?


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