Pink Champagne and Gold leaf Layer Cake and Cupcakes
Say 'cheers'! with this cute pink champagne layer cake. This recipe can be made as a single 8 inch triple layer cake, or as 4 dozen cupcakes. Or, one 5-inch four layer cake with 9 cupcakes on the side, as pictured in the blog post.
2lbs.confectioners’ sugarsifted, plus extra for dusting
1 to 3drops pink food color
White nonpareilsfor cupcakes
Clear vanilla extract
1sheet gold leafoptional
Pink Champagne trufflesoptional
Pink champagne cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans (or four 5-inch pans as I have) or line two or more cupcake tins with paper liners; 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 or cupcake tins (fill cupcake tins 2/3 full). For cake layers, bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. For cupcakes, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cakes are set in the centers and lightly browned on top. Let cakes cool for a few minutes before placing them on a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
Pink champagne pastry cream
In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and champagne in a saucepan; bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
Beat the whole eggs and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not scramble. Return the remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and food color. Let cool slightly and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Cut out the centers of each cupcake and spoon in pastry cream.
Pink champagne frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and powdered sugar together. Once the ingredients are incorporated, add the food color one drop at a time until a baby pink color is achieved. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the pink champagne one tablespoon at a time. Beat until light and fluffy.
For the cake
Pipe a line of frosting around the edges of two cakes and spoon in pastry cream. Stack the cakes and top with the unfilled layer. Crumb coat the cake in a thin layer of frosting; refrigerate until firm. Cover the cake with a second smooth layer of buttercream. Refrigerate until firm. If using gold leaf, use a small artists’ brush to apply clear vanilla extract to the top edge of the cake. Using tweezers, place the gold leaf around the front top edge of the cake. Place dots of gold leaf randomly around the edges of the cake in the same manner. Transfer some of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe 6 rosettes around the top edge of the cake, and top the rosettes with pink champagne truffles, if using. Lightly dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.
For the cupcakes
Generously pipe frosting onto the cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch decorator tip. Immediately sprinkle with the white nonpareils. Using kitchen-dedicated tweezers, place a tiny piece of gold leaf on top of each cupcake.
Cakes will need to be refrigerated because of the pastry cream filling. Be sure to bring the cakes to room temperature before serving.
The layer cake will require less pastry cream filling than the cupcakes. You may half the recipe if making the layer cake.