Pink Champagne & Meringue Celebration Cake!

The month of May is just a couple of months away, and that means a big family celebration for us. It’s my lovely Grandma Mary’s eightieth Birthday and the whole family are heading to Whitby for the week to celebrate. Of course, I want to make a cake for the occasion and I wanted to plan something special, for such a special occasion! I wanted to choose a cake that wasn’t a traditional Birthday cake, but a cake that we could all enjoy as a dessert or with afternoon tea in the cottage that we have hired.

When I think of a celebration I think of toasting the occasion with champagne or some other sparkling wine, and so I wanted to incorporate this into my celebration cake. My Grandma loves cake and even came along to the first Clandestine Cake Club meeting last year to taste some the delights. I know that she also enjoys a glass of bubbly too, so I am hoping she will love this cake!

Champagne is a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France and Pink Champagnes are produced either by leaving the clear juice of black grapes on its skins for a brief time or, more commonly, by adding a small amount of still Pinot noir red wine to the sparkling wine! Of course champagne is expensive to buy and the market is dominated by big brands such as Moët, who generally age the wine for
several years and then blend it to create a consistent house style, year after year and so I would most definitely save making this cake for a special occasion when you can enjoy a glass of bubbly too!

I decided to make a sponge cake which was soaked with a pink champagne syrup and also filled with a pink champagne buttercream. I chose this because the flavour of the champagne so intense and decedent would flavour the cake perfectly! I decided the cover the cake with a white chocolate ganache because not only does white chocolate go well with pink champagne, it also added depth to the intense flavours which is extremely moreish, especially when served with a flute of bubbly on the side as I plan to!

Whilst this cake is perfect for a celebration, it is also a lovely cake to make for no reason at all, although I’d recommend using other types of sparkling wine such as Cava or Prosecco to keep costs down, although the flavour in the cake and filling would be less intense It can be made in any shape, and if wished the ganache could be omitted and the buttercream used on it’s own. I used pink champagne as I thought it added a lovely sweet flavour, but any type of champagne works well.

For the decoration, I decided to add some mini meringues and some fresh strawberries for a lovely Summer feel. However, I think any type of berry or sugarcraft decoration would work well for the topping, so for that special occasion, be creative! The cake serves 12-14 so is perfect for a party or special family gathering.

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Ingredients

Sponge:

3 large free range eggs
175g butter
175g caster sugar
250g self raising flour
3 tbsp milk
Few drops red food colouring

Champagne Syrup:

85g Sugar
175ml water
120ml Champagne
Few drops vanilla extract

Champagne Buttercream:

250g butter
500g icing sugar
Few drops vanilla extract
4 tbsp champagne
Few drops red food colouring

White chocolate ganache

500g white chocolate (Must be good quality!)
200ml double cream

Decoration:

Mini meringues
Strawberries or other berries

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200c/fan or gas mark 6, the grease a 18cm cake tin

2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, and add the eggs(beaten) slowly.

3. Sieve the flour and gently fold into the mixture until combined. Stir in the food colouring and milk.

4. Place the mixture into the baking tin and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes. Using a knife or skewer inserted into the centre coming out clean to determine if the cake is ready.

5.To make the champagne syrup add the sugar, vanilla and water to a small pan over a low heat. Heat gently until the sugar has absorbed, add the champagne then leave to cool.

6. Once the cake has cooled, pour approximately 150ml of the syrup over the cake and allow to soak for an hour or so.

7. For the champagne buttercream, mix together the butter and icing sugar then add the champagne and the vanilla and food colouring

8.Finally make the white chocolate ganache. Heat the cream until simmering (not boiling), poor over the broken chocolate into a heat proof bowl, stir until melted and set aside to cool.

9. Cut the cake in half and spread a large dollop of the buttercream over the sponge, and spread using a pallet knife. Add a layer of the ganache over the top of the buttercream layer and then place the other half of the sponge on top and repeat the process.

10. Place the cake in the fridge for an hour or so to chill and firm, then use the remaining ganache and buttercream to layer the side of the cake.

11. Decorate the cake with mini meringues and berries

12. Enjoy with a glass of bubbly!

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