Pink Champagne Cake
Ingredients for the Cake Batter:
1½ cups cake flour, sifted
1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup champagne, flat (use a sweet champagne like a pink/rosé champagne, a moscato, or an asti)
¼ cup milk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1-2 drops red food coloring, optional (Start with 1 for a blush and work up)
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9 inch round layer cake pans by lightly greasing the bottom and sides of pans with shortening or cooking spray. You can flour the pan at this point, but ever since a near cake disaster with another recipe last year, I take the additional step of lining the bottom with parchment paper, greasing the top of the parchment paper, and then flour the inside of the pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, stir the champagne and milk together. If tinting cake pink, add a drop of food coloring to the liquid mixture. Set aside. The milk might appear to curdle and that’s fine.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer (using the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. If you’re not familiar with how to cream sugar and butter, the creaming technique is described below. Take your time with this one - it is so worth the extra few minutes to get a lighter, fluffier cake.
Creaming technique: Start by placing the butter in a bowl and with an electric mixer on medium speed, begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter one tablespoon at a time taking about 5 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a pale yellow color with a fluffy texture. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl and paddle/beaters.
With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture. Mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down and add about ½ of the champagne mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and champagne mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour and mixing just until blended. If tinting the cake and the batter looks too light in color, add more red food coloring one drop at a time until color desired and mix just until blended. Set aside. The batter will be thick.
In another large mixing bowl and using clean beaters (or if using stand mixer, use whisk attachment), beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy, add the cream of tartar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten the batter, and then fold the remaining egg whites in.
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I check mine at around 26 minutes as sometimes they’re done a few minutes earlier. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 15 minutes, then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
Pink Champagne Buttercream
Prep time: 10 MINUTES cook time: 5 MINUTES total time: 15 MINUTES
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening (I used Crisco)
48 ounces (6 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup pink champagne
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoon heavy whipping cream
3-4 drops red food color
Pinch of salt
Place 1 cup of pink champagne in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer until reduced to about ¼ of a cup. Transfer to a small bowl cup and allow to cool. Reducing the champagne down will enhance the flavors.
Beat butter and shortening in bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy - for about 3 minutes
Add vanilla and food color and beat to incorporate.
With mixer on low, slowly add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until well blended after each addition, frequently scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Add cream, salt and reduced champagne.
Once incorporated, whip frosting for at least 3-5 minutes on medium high to high until light and fluffy.
If frosting is too thick to spread, gradually beat in additional cream or champagne (reduced or not) until you reach the desired consistency.
Strawberry Mousse Filling
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 3.5 oz. box of instant vanilla pudding
½ cup strawberry jam
While cake is baking, make the mousse filling. Beat whipping cream in a bowl with an electric mixer (use whisk attachment with stand mixer) until it begins to thicken.
Add the instant pudding and beat just until thick. Add the strawberry jam and mix until blended. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.