Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Sixth Day of Christmas. Strawberry Cake with Pink Champagne Buttercream from Raspberri cupcakes.

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 degrees C. 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 160 degrees 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.

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