Friday, October 25, 2013

Strawberry Champagne Cake and Strawberry Champagne Buttercream Frosting Recipe

For Easter I wanted to make a spectacular treat for my guests, and after careful contemplation I decided to make a Strawberry Champagne cake. I thought this was perfect for two reasons. First, it has been a long winter full of no fresh berries. The stores are replenishing their shelves with lush, ripe berries, and I want in! Secondly, I thought the strawberries mixed with champagne would be the perfect celebratory cake to eat when I watched Prince William and Princess Kate marry. Yes, I woke up at 4 am to watch the festivities, and yes, I ate strawberry champagne cake at 8 am! I had planned on having a glass of gorgeous pink strawberry flavored champagne along with my slice of cake, but, alas, I couldn't bring myself to do it so early in the day.
Anyway, I searched online and found a recipe that looked pretty good. And then I made it spectacular by adding my own special touches. I also have a favorite buttercream frosting recipe that I always use, and I used it for this cake, and added extra delicious ingredients. There is much debate when it comes to changing a recipe -- some are for it, and some are against it. I think it is essential to keep your liquid to dry ingredients about the same as it calls for in the recipe. But when it comes to adding fresh fruit, chocolate, nuts, I say knock yourself out! Eyeball it, make sure it looks (smells) right, and go to town. These small touches really make a recipe spectacular.
To make the cake even more special I decided to add fresh strawberries and ganache to the center instead of just the strawberry buttercream frosting. This is a good idea in theory, however, I do not recommend using fresh fruit in a cake. I ended up having little streams pouring out of my cake, and I had a very sticky puddle on my cake platter. The sugar in the frosting brings out the juices in the fresh fruit. If you are intent on using fresh berries (as am I) I would recommend making a strawberry (or any other fruit or berry) sauce. This way you will still have the fresh ingredients without the sticky mess.
The cake was a hit! My family loved it, and my uncle even said that it would have to be his next birthday cake (what a compliment!). I think of all the desserts I have made, this is a fan favorite.
Strawberry Champagne cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cup sugar
2 egg
3 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup champagne
½ cup pureed strawberries
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries
4 egg whites
Cream butter and sugar until light and smooth. Add the egg and mix until completely incorporated.
In a separate bowl combine and sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a dish combine the puree and champagne. Alternate adding the flour and strawberry mixtures to the butter mixture. Start and end with flour for a fluffy cake. Add the vanilla. Add the strawberries mixing until just incorporated. Fold in half the egg whites, then fold in the remainder.
I like to put the batter into a piping bag to fill the cupcake tins. Batter should reach just over ¾ of the tin.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter
1 package (2 pounds) powdered sugar
heaping 1/3 cup pureed strawberries
1 tsp vanilla
chocolate shavings for garnish
Cream the butter until light and fluffy. With continuous mixing, add a bit of the powdered sugar (add some of the strawberry puree if it gets too thick). Keep adding the sugar in small increments until completely blended with the butter. Add the remainder of the strawberry puree and the vanilla. If the frosting is still thick, add some champagne! Add chocolate shavings on top of the frosted cupcake for a decadent treat!
Happy baking!

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