Turning Two and Champagne

Birthdays, as grown ups (I can't use the word adult, I'm not good at adulting) should always be celebrated with champagne. And as this blogs second birthday coincided with a 50th at the office, a Champagne Cake seemed the way to go.

Given how unseasonably warm its been as well, a Raspberry, Cream and Champagne cake seemed like an even BETTER idea. I would have loved to have used real cream, but given the transport required to get it into the office, a champagne buttercream was the safest method to go with.

I found the sponge and raspberry curd recipes on an aussie blog, which made measurements easier, however I was a little uncertain about what to use as 'cake flour'. Given the lack of raising agents, I decided to go with self-raising. The sponge was still a little flatter than I would liked, but I can think of a few recipients that would enjoy a rebake.

I will admit this is a very 'girlie' cake, and wouldn't be out of place at a baby or bridal shower.

Raspberry and Champagne Celebration Cake adapted from Erin Made This

Ingredients

For the sponge layers

  • 6 eggs
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted

For the champagne syrup

  • 3/4 cup champagne
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar

For the raspberry curd

  • 500g frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 60g unsalted butter

For the champagne buttercream

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 330g icing (powdered) sugar
  • 100ml champagne syrup
  • drizzle of curd until it turns the pink colour you want

Method

For the sponge layers

Preheat your oven to 180C and you'll need to prepare two 20-22cm round cake tins, greasing and lining.

With your stand mixer (or a handheld if you're more patient then me) beat together the eggs and sugar until thick, pale and fluffy.

Fold through the flour and butter, then pour equally into the cake tins. Bake for 25-30mins or until cooked through. Rest in the tins for 10mins then turn out onto a cooling rack.

For the curd

Blend or blitz the raspberries in either your blender or food processor until smooth and then strain through a fine sieve.

Place in a saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice to simmer on a low heat.

In a seperate bowl whisk the eggs and the egg yolks in a small bowl, then use some of the warm raspberry mixture to temper the eggs by adding 1/4 cup or so to the eggs and whisking.

Add the egg mixture into the raspberry mix and return to the stove on a medium/low heat AND KEEP WHISKING while you add the butter.

Whisk whisk whisk until thickened, then allow to cool completely.

For the syrup

Place the sugar and champagne in a saucepan (this became tricky as I only had one appropriately sized saucepan).

Heat over a low heat until the mix reduces by a third.

Brush each cake layer with syrup.

For the buttercream

Using a mixer, beat the butter in a bowl for 3-4 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar and the champagne syrup and continue to beat until smooth. Be patient, the smoother the consistency the better. Start drizzling in the curd to make it the kind of pink you like. You'll have a crazy amount of curd so don't worry about quantities.

Assembly!

Place layer one of your champagne brushed sponge on your cake stand/plate/whatever.

Spread a layer of buttercream over this and 1/3 (or more!) cup of the curd.

 

Place the next sponge layer and coat completely with the buttercream (or not if you like a naked cake).

I then decorated the top with crumbled up flake, sliced and hulled strawberries and I cheated and bought wafer flowers.

 

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Whiskey is ALWAYS a good idea

So we’re fairly well settled into our new home now. I finally unpacked my ridiculous collection of shoes and tidied up under the stairs. When I get round to buying a spare bed and we consider having a housewarming party you’ll know that we’ve properly finished this moving in lark. We have found ourselves pretty busy every weekend since we’ve moved, but I did find time to remember some birthdays and produce a cake.

I’m a sucker for trying to match a flavour to a birthday so I probably spent way too much time searching for something interesting on Pinterest than I should have. It paid dividends though, as I found this Gingerbread Layer Cake with Whiskey Salted Caramel which was perfect for my Whiskey loving friend.

Given this was delivered to work on a Wednesday it meant very rapidly baking a cake during my lunch break (hello MasterChef style timed challenge) and then making caramel and buttercream once I’d finished work and before hubby got his dinner (sorry hubby).

This was definitely one of my more ‘rustic’ looking cakes, especially as I didn’t bother with evening up my layers (or actually turning the two cakes into four layers), but the feedback from happy birthday participants was positive, and I had the satisfaction of watching every last slice disappear.

The gingerbread layers speak a very Christmas-y language, but given June is *technically* winter here, I figure we can get away with it, and it made a lovely difference from the stock standard chocolate cake we normally see (and there is nothing wrong with stock standard chocolate cake). And after watching someone dip slices of apple into the Whiskey Caramel I’m wondering if caramel apples might be a good idea!!

 

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Salted Whiskey Caramel

From topwithcinnamon.com

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 110g treacle
  • 110g golden syrup
  • 225g soft dark brown sugar, not packed
  • 2 medium eggs (I used large because its what I had)
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

For the Salted Whiskey Caramel Sauce

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 3 tsp whiskey
  • 1-2 tsp flaky sea salt

For the Whiskey Caramel Buttercream

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 330g icing (powdered) sugar
  • 100ml salted whiskey caramel

 

Method

For the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Prepare two 18cm round, deep cake tins by greasing and lining the base with parchment paper.
  2. Heat the butter, treacle and golden syrup in a large saucepan over a low heat until the butter has melted.
  3. Beat in the sugar and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and milk together. Slowly beat into the butter and sugar mixture.
  5. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt into the saucepan and beat until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  7. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the icing and caramel sauce.

For the caramel sauce

  1. Heat the sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar starts to melt, swirl the sugar into the liquid areas of the pan without stirring.
  2. While the sugar is melting, gently warm the cream and butter in a separate pan until the butter has melted.
  3. After about, 10 minute, or once the sugar has completed melted and is a dark amber colour, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Immediately whisk in the warm cream and butter mixture (be careful, as the hot caramel can splash up). If the sugar solidifies, return the pan to medium heat until the mixture is liquid again.
  5. Stir in the salt and whiskey.
  6. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a heatproof bowl to remove any remaining lumps of sugar and leave to cool.

For the buttercream

  1. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter in a bowl for 3 – 4 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar and whiskey caramel sauce then continue to beat for another 2 -3 minutes until smooth.

 

Assembly

  1. Level the cakes by cutting off the domed tops (I like using a serrated knife for this) and split each layer in half so that you four layers in total.
  2. Spread the first layer with about 1/6 of the buttercream. Make a thicker layer of buttercream like a dam around the edges and spoon in about 2 tbsp of the slightly cooled caramel. Place the second layer and repeat the buttercream/caramel process. Repeat with the third layer and place fourth tier on top. Cover the entire cake with the remains of the buttercream. Chill for 30 minutes then pour over the caramel.