Sometimes the gravity of how fast time passes hits me all at once. It knocks me flat. I find myself lying on the floor eye-to-eye with Churro-the-pug. “Did you have a good summer?” I ask. “Did you stop to smell the roses?” He probably did (he spends a good deal of time outside sniffing things), but I fell a little short of the task. Now summer is almost over and I’m not quite ready for it to end. That’s why we’re packing our things (pups included) and heading to the ocean tomorrow. We’re grabbing on to the very last bit of summer with both hands!
Although I’m itching to get started on fall baking, I’ve decided to hold off until my return home. For now, I’m sticking to what feels right, and that’s champagne cake layers filled with tangy raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream. I found some gorgeous raspberry colored roses at the market and that sealed the deal. This cake was meant to be, I tell ya!
Since this cake is celebratory in flavor, I decided to go ahead and use the Victorian cake pulls I’ve been saving for a bridal-themed post. Have you heard of cake pulls? They’re little sterling silver charms attached to lengths of ribbon. The charms are placed under the cake (by the baker) with only the ribbon visible, then the cake is frosted and decorated. Party guests (usually a group of bridesmaids) each choose a ribbon to pull before the cake is cut. The assorted charms have different meanings, so that brings a bit of fortune telling-novelty to the party.
I’ve never used cake pulls before, so I’d hoped to find some instruction on how to apply them to the cake. Information on this is extremely limited (online, at least), so I had to make up my own method. I taped a piece of baker’s acetate to the center of a cake stand and placed the charms underneath the clear plastic. I dotted the underside of a cake layer with icing and pressed it down onto the acetate and cake stand. To frost the cake neatly (and not get frosting all over the ribbon) I put strips of wax paper just under the cake layer and over the ribbon. I filled and frosted the cake as usual. After a good chill in the refrigerator the wax paper strips pulled away neatly.
If you can’t find baker’s acetate you could use a small corrugated cake board from the craft store, just be sure to anchor it to the cake stand. You don’t want the cake sliding around on its base when the charms are pulled.
If you’re looking to try the cake pulls for yourself, you can find them online at Sterling Trends. They are sold in sets and the shop has a nice selection of individual charms, too.
This cake is my champagne toast to summer’s end, and you can be sure that I’m packing a few of slices for the road. If you’d like to see what I’m up to at the ocean you can follow me here on Instagram!
Raspberry and Champagne Layer Cake
Yield: One 9-inch double layer cake or one 7-inch triple layer cake
Prep: 1 hour 30 minutes, total 3 hours
The filling in this cake gets its tangy raspberry flavor from seedless raspberry jam and Framboise liqueur. The champagne cake layers have a dense, moist crumb that’s loaded with fruity flavor.
Champagne cake layers
3 cups/443g all purpose flour
3 tsp./13g baking powder
1/2 tsp/ 14g salt
1 cup/226g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups/ 214g granulated sugar
6 egg whites
2 cups/15.4 oz champagne or sparkling white wine
6 egg whites
1 cup/118g sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound/4 US sticks unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
2 teaspoons/8g vanilla extract
1/4 cup/76g red seedless raspberry jam, room temperature
2 tablespoons/ 70g Framboise (raspberry) liqueur, room temperature
Wilton gel food color “Rose”
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans (or three 7-inch as I did); set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the unsalted butter and sugar. Add egg whites one at a time and beat well after each addition.
- Beat in flour mixture and champagne alternately in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down bowl edges with a rubber spatula and mix again briefly. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar has dissolved.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high until stiff peaks are formed.
- Continue beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and has cooled (the mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).
- Turn the mixer off and switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle. Turn the mixer on medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a time, beating until well incorporated before the next addition. The egg whites will deflate and thin with the first few additions – don’t let this discourage you – keep going. It may also look curdled, but don’t fret. Beat on high speed when all the butter has been added. The mixture will thicken and become smooth after several minutes of beating. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Transfer the frosting to a bowl, and return 1 1/2 cups of frosting to the bowl of the stand mixer. Beat in the raspberry jam. Gradually beat in the raspberry liqueur a little at a time. Beat in a little rose food color until a consistent color is achieved Fill cooled cakes with the raspberry Swiss buttercream and coat cake in a thin crumb coat of the vanilla frosting. Chill until set. Apply a final thick layer of vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream using a large off-set spatula. Store cake in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Fresh organic roses may be added to the top of the cake for decoration just before serving.
Just one more thing. I found the cake stand at Home Goods.