Friday, April 23, 2010

Pink Champagne Cake

Two of my very favorite things about baking:
1. Making things I've never heard of before
2. Making people smile on their birthdays.

Pink Champagne Cake, Frosted

This project certainly accomplished those two things. I'd never heard of Pink Champagne Cake before, but now that my kitchen has been almost permanently dyed pink, I won't soon be forgetting it! I made this for my friend Elizabeth's birthday... her husband sneakily told me that it was her very favorite, so I went on a mission to find out what it was and to make it happen. Luckily, I found this recipe from Katie at Good Things Catered, a lovely food blog that's most definitely worth a visit.

Pink Champagne Cake, Unfrosted

I was pleasantly surprised at how moist and light this cake was. The champagne flavor came through beautifully, and although it was shockingly pink, it didn't taste too "pink" at all. This would be perfect for a bachelorette party or even a baby shower (our pregnant friend gave it the mama stamp of approval!) for your favorite girly girl.

Pink Champagne Cake, Detail

This was my first time making an actual decorated layer cake since graduating from cake decorating class a few months ago. Although I still have a lot of work to do on learning to make the base buttercream layer nice and smooth, it was so fun to try writing and piping the accents. Practice makes perfect, right?

The Wreckage

Anyone else have a birthday coming up? I'll make you a cake!

Pink Champagne Cake
Adapted from Good Things Catered
Serves 12-15
Printable Recipe

2 c. plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, sifted
1 Tbsp nonfat milk powder
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. oil
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
5 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
pink food coloring of choice
1 c. dry Brut champagne or sparkling wine

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch round pans.

2. In large bowl, combine sifted flour, milk powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.

3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter, oil and granulated sugar. Beat until light and fluffy in texture and in color, about 3 minutes. Add egg whites, one at a time, scraping sides of bowl as incorporating.

4. Add vanilla extract and pink food coloring (amount will depend on the kind you have-- liquid, gel, or powder-- and how deeply colored you'd like your cake to be) and beat to combine well.

5. Scrape down sides of bowl to make sure all ingredients are incorporate and slowly add flour mixture and champagne. Stir slowly until mixture is almost combined. Remove from mixer and stir ingredients with large spatula until just barely combined. Pour mixture into prepared pans and tap light to remove excess air bubbles.

6. Place into center of oven and bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 25-28 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 15 minutes.

7. Turn out onto wire racks and let cool completely before decorating.

Vanilla Buttercream
*Note: Make 2 batches of this to frost the cake above!
Adapted from Annie's Eats, Originally from Cooks Illustrated
Printable Recipe

20 tbsp. (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.

2. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds.

3. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.


A in NL said...

I wouldn't mind a cake, but I'm guessing it doesn't ship well. I can do the baking, but I can't do the decorating, so this one looks pretty nice to me!

grace said...

amy i for the win-win! this is awesome--i love pink, which is a bit odd since i'm as far from a girly-girl as possible. :)

(wife.) said...

I <3 the mixing bowl picture. Also, my birthday's coming up! Really soon!

Shaz said...

ever try de-airing your buttercream for more smoothness?

a blob at a time, spread it thinly out with an offset spatula on a cold slab/work bench/whatever flat, clean surface you've got. scrape it off and directly ice your cake. small batches work best to keep things from getting too warm and less friendly, but I've seem it done in one huge batch on an entire table before.

Amy I. said...

Shaz~ I've never heard of de-airing, but it sounds like a potentially perfect solution, and I'll definitely try it out next time. Thanks!

geisha_me said...

Amy, you made my birthday that much more special & memorable! I was guessing the other flavors at first, because I thought no one knows what a pink champagne cake is or how to go about making one! Leave it to Amy to make it happen, & make it awesome. :)i ended up with 3 left over pieces, & they didn't even make it past Saturday. I think that was all I ate for that day. I'd do it again too! Thanks again, you're as amazing & sweet as your baking! <3

Kat said...

Today's my husband's birthday, yesterday was my daughter's. I'll be right over to pick up that cake!

I can make a shiny chocolate cake very easily by making a very think ganache and applying it just as soon as it cools to a gloppy/spready consistency. It dries like a fudgy butter-cream, but is super shiny and has no bubbles or spatula marks. My mom always dipped her knife in water to make smooth cake edges, but that always disturbed me. She also used shortening *shudders*

Delicious Dishings said...

An offset and a cake stand will be your best friends for getting your buttercream smooth... also using excessive buttercream and then "shaving" it off with the offset when you go back over it. :)

Your piping looks beautiful, and that cake is just stunning. Any birthday girl would be ecstatic over it, I'm sure!

Unknown said...

that sounds delicious! I have added it to my "to-bake" list.

Kim said...

That is a beautiful cake! I love it:D

Amanda said...

Great job!! I am sure your friend was SO delighted!

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