Country Cleaver

Strawberries and Champagne Cake

Strawberries and Champagne Cake - www.countrycleaver.com

Valentine’s Day is here. How did this happen? Is it just me or have we just finished Christmas and New Year? I can’t decide if those holidays were yesterday or a really long time ago. But now here we are on the most romantic day of the year and Ben’s and my first Valentine’s Day as married. Awwww, barf. You thought I was all done sentimentalizing my newlywed status didn’t you? Sorry, we’re almost done with the mushy first year married mile-stones. I promise! Just bear with me through a couple more.

Strawberries and Champagne Cake - www.countrycleaver.com

Ben and I just started discussing Valentine’s Day plans, but with him in nursing school full time and clinicals on Valentine’s Day proper we’re pushing back the festivities to the weekend, which I suspect most of the population is doing as well. Bravo Valentine’s Day, you are oh so convenient.

Strawberries and Champagne Cake - www.countrycleaver.com

The celebration will consist of a dinner out somewhere, presumably somewhere we have a gift card too – since Ben’s parents give us giftcards to restaurants so we can go on date nights and step away from the books and computer long enough to interact (imagine that!) and if I’m really lucky Ben might even (GASP!) buy me carnations. Ever the romantic, Ben hates buying flowers because they’re So expensive and they - die. It’s, in his eyes, paying money to watch something die. See, romantic. Carnations on the other hand, he will get me because no matter what it takes a month to kill them. So he’s getting his monies worth out of them and I get flowers, even filler flowers, and stop nagging him about doing something romantic for me. He says “nagging”, I say “encouraging”.  Potato, pototo.

But even if flowers aren’t his way of showing me he loves me, I can live with that – because he builds me stuff. My wedding gift was a 6 shelf gorgeously dark brown stained bookcase he build with his own two man hands. He’s already been commissioned to build me the rest of the furniture for our future house.

Strawberries and Champagne Cake - www.countrycleaver.com

Regardless of our differing views of the holiday, romantic or forced-consumer-driven-holiday-contrived-by-card-manufactuers, I am looking forward to another day that I can show my husband that I love him dearly, despite his annoying habit of placing dirty dishes in my just cleaned sink, and be thankful that he puts up with my equally annoying habit of throwing a pile of clothes at the end of the bed that Huck lays on and gets all hairy. Or having five stacks of cook books strategically placed around the house. Or Downton Abbey replaying on an endless loop in the house.

Strawberries and Champagne Cake - www.countrycleaver.com

Bless that man and his unending patience. I am beyond thankful for his patience, his drysense of humor that still catches me off guard, getting me hooked on the Office despite my STRONGEST objections to its awkwardness as we were dating, and him having hugs that can make the worst of days suddenly turn around and for putting up with Huck no matter how ridiculous the mutt is. One Valentine’s Day down and 60 more to go. I love you hunny. Really, really.

Strawberries and Champagne Cake - www.countrycleaver.com

Now – for the reason you’re all here – mushy crap aside – THE CAKE!! It’s UBER Romantic. It’s got fresh strawberries and champagne in it, which just screams Awwwww!!! The cake is dense but tender, with champagne that cuts the sweet and a swiss meringue frosting that is chock FULL of butter – but is uber light and fluffy, positively MELTS in your mouth.  I would love to say the the fresh strawberries make it healthy, but that would be an outlandish lie.

Strawberries and Champagne Cake - www.countrycleaver.com

I guess that just means you have to make it for yourself this Valentine’s Day and find out! No, do it now – Because, I’m not kidding – this is Roll Your Eyes into the Back of your SKULL insanely amazeballs.

Strawberries and Champagne Cake - www.countrycleaver.com

I would highly suggest you share this with EVERYONE you know, and spread the love and butter (SO MUCH BUTTER) this Valentine’s Day. They will love you right back.

Strawberries and Champagne Cake

Yield: 16

Prep Time: Cake: 30 Minutes Frosting: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: Cake: 35 Minutes Frosting: 30 Minutes

Total Time: 3 Hours

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Ingredients:

Champagne Cake:
3 3/4 cups Flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 1/3 cups sugar
15 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 ½ cup champagne, flattened
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
9 large egg yolks, room temperature
5 large egg whites, room temperature

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Frosting:
5 Egg Whites
1 ¼ cup Sugar
1 ½ cup Butter, cut into cubes
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
¼ cup Strawberry Puree
pinch of salt
few drops pink food colouring (optional)

White Chocolate Ganache:
5 White Chocolate Baking Squares, chopped
3 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

Champagne Cake:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 340 degrees. Grease three 9” round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 2 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl. In mixing bowl whisk together melted butter, champagne, oil, vanilla, and yolks.

In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds, gradually adding in remaining sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form. Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside.

Add flour mixture to now empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. Gradually add in butter mixture and mix until just incorporated. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated.

Fold the egg whites into the batter, pour into cake pans and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake rest in cake tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Cool Completely before frosting. When cool, level tops of cake with sharp knife and discard cake cuttings. Set aside until ready to decorate.

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Frosting:
Place three to four strawberries into food processor and puree, set aside ¼-⅓ cup of Strawberry puree.

Wipe the mixer bowl and attachments with lemon or vinegar to make sure they are all completely clear of any residual grease. Add egg whites and sugar to mixing bowl, and place it over a sauce pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or until the sugar is totally dissolved and the eggs are hot.

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels nearly room temperature. *Don't begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.

Switch over to paddle attachment and add butter one cube at a time until all has been added and is incorporated. and mix until it becomes smooth. If mixture is too soft and runny, place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
Add strawberry puree and beat until evenly incorporated. Add small amount of pink food colouring, if desired.

To assemble cake:
Level cakes and invert one cake layer on cake plate so that the bottom of the cake is the top. Dollop frosting onto it and spread evenly. Repeat with other two layers. Frost top layer and smooth. Frost sides of the cake. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave safe bowl until just beginning to melt. Stir until smooth. Pour over frosted cake and smooth until it falls over the sides of the cake. Let cool. Slice and devour.

Champagne Cake Adapted from Cook's Illustrated ; Strawberry Swiss Meringue Adapted from Sweetapolita

Sweetopolita’s Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Cake Fixation – Champagne Cake from Cook’s Illustrated

   

50 Responses to “Strawberries and Champagne Cake”

  1. #
    1
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — February 7, 2013 @ 4:50 am

    This cake!!! OMG this cake!!! My husband LOVES strawberries, I’m totally pinning this and making it. Yours is just gorgeous.

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    DessertForTwo — February 7, 2013 @ 5:02 am

    Desserts with champagne is my favorite thing ever!!!

    Guys that can build things are better than any other type of guy. Word. Yo. (Did I say that right?)

  3. #
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    Wendy — February 7, 2013 @ 5:56 am

    This is beautiful! What could be more perfect; strawberries, champagne……Maybe eating this while taking a bubble bath?

  4. #
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    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — February 7, 2013 @ 6:01 am

    Ohmahgoodness, this sounds like magic. Tasty, tasty, magic.

  5. #
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    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — February 7, 2013 @ 6:04 am

    This looks SO yummy, Megan!

  6. #
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    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — February 7, 2013 @ 6:04 am

    This cake is insane, Megan. And I mean that in the best way possible. It’s just so picture perfect!

  7. #
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    surlykitchen — February 7, 2013 @ 6:08 am

    dear lord, i need a piece of this now! so beautiful. i can never get my strawberry garnishes to look like that.

  8. #
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    Heather @ Heather's Dish — February 7, 2013 @ 6:10 am

    It’s so pretty I almost don’t want to eat it!

    Almost… ;)

  9. #
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    Megan — February 7, 2013 @ 6:23 am

    I think that’s the most beautiful cake I have ever seen. mmm perfect for v-day!

  10. #
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    Cassie | Bake Your Day — February 7, 2013 @ 6:34 am

    This is beyond amazing, girl. Very well-done. I would definitely eat a slice for breakfast!

  11. #
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    amy @ fearless homemaker — February 7, 2013 @ 7:01 am

    Oh wow, this cake looks amazing – I could soooo go for a slice right now! And I love your use of “his own two man hands.” HA!

  12. #
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    Amy @Very Culinary — February 7, 2013 @ 7:01 am

    I think you’re allowed to gush about your husband for at least the first 2 years, no? Especially if he’s handy with wood and stain (….er….that’s what she said) Ok, this is going south, quickly. Also? Pass me a fork!

  13. #
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    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — February 7, 2013 @ 7:05 am

    This is one of the most amazing cakes ever!! So pretty!

  14. #
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    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — February 7, 2013 @ 7:12 am

    I would take this and the bottle of champagne directly to the face. AT THE SAME TIME. And it will be MARVELOUS (said in my best ron burgundy voice)

  15. #
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    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 7, 2013 @ 7:15 am

    Gurrrrl this sounds amazing! You totally had me at champagne! LOVE THIS!

  16. #
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    misty — February 7, 2013 @ 7:21 am

    What is the best champagne to use?

    • Megan replied: — February 7th, 2013 @ 7:41 am

      Hi Misty – I just used Cook’s Brut for this. Any champagne will do just fine. I’m just cheap and went for the $6 bottle.

  17. #
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    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — February 7, 2013 @ 7:29 am

    Strawberry cake in my face! And it’s pretty too – big bonus!

  18. #
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    Paula - bell'alimento — February 7, 2013 @ 7:50 am

    You can’t go wrong with anything that has strawberries and champagne in it!

  19. #
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    Amanda — February 7, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    I am dying to make this :) I only have a basic standing mixer though, is it still possible to make this without the whisk and paddle attachments?

    • Megan replied: — February 7th, 2013 @ 9:41 am

      Hi Amanda! I would say it’s worth a shot. You’ll have to turn your mixer on pretty high and the eggs might not whip up too much, but I think it should still work out okay. It’s always worth a go, because the flavor is outta this world :)Good luck and let me know how it turns out! ~Megan

  20. #
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    Melissa — February 7, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    I love anything strawberry flavored, but a strawberries and champagne cake? Could it get any better! I can’t wait to try this. If only I had an excuse to make cake all the time. :) Beautiful cake by the way!

  21. #
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    Carol | a cup of mascarpone — February 7, 2013 @ 9:50 am

    This cake is absolutely gorgeous, Megan!!!

  22. #
    22
    Carlas Confections — February 7, 2013 @ 9:58 am

    STUNning cake!!! Any cake with champagne is a big winner! :D

  23. #
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    Nicole @ youngbrokeandhungry — February 7, 2013 @ 11:10 am

    I think you just won best wife award! This cake is gorgeous and I bet it taste pretty damn good too.

  24. #
    24
    Antonia @ Health Inspirations — February 7, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

    Everything about this cake is amazing and it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day. I particularly like the fact that you’ve combined the frosting and the ganache. One just never seems enough!!!

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    Linda | The Urban Mrs — February 7, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

    I just want to stuff my face in this cake! Well done – in texture, color, frosting – you name it. Well, I’m sure Ben has his own way in showing his TLC to you. :) And in case you’re bored on Val’s day, I’d be more than happy to accompany you (yeah, hubs is busy working due to busy season at work).

  26. #
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    Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife — February 7, 2013 @ 7:59 pm

    Such a beautiful cake, almost too pretty to eat!

  27. #
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    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — February 7, 2013 @ 8:06 pm

    Oh my mercy! This is my kind of cake! You know you knocked this one plum outta the park!

  28. #
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    Karen — February 7, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

    This cake looks amazing!! Love the white chocolate ganache to top it all off!

  29. #
    29
    Jessica — February 7, 2013 @ 11:08 pm

    EEK! You KNOW how I feel about a gorgeous layer cake!! LOVE!

  30. #
    30
    Kathryn — February 8, 2013 @ 2:26 am

    Such a very beautiful cake!

  31. #
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    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — February 8, 2013 @ 7:24 am

    I can’t tell you how beautiful this looks. And it sounds absolutely delicious! Lovely, Megan.

  32. #
    32
    Carrie @ Kiss My Whisk — February 8, 2013 @ 8:07 am

    This cake is stunning! And your baking skills are just out of this world.

  33. #
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    Julia {The Roasted Root} — February 8, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

    Cheers to handy dandy men and my guy won’t be caught dead buying flowers, either :) I know you lovebirds are going to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! And holy crap what a fabulous cake! You’re so talented with the tier-ing and the multi-layer frosting. HOLY wow! And champagne/strawberry flavor…sigh…I may just try to steal you from Ben ;)

  34. #
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    Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} — February 9, 2013 @ 6:41 am

    Holy smokes! This cake is absolutely stunning!

  35. #
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    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — February 9, 2013 @ 9:10 am

    What a cake!! Congrats on your first V day together. I remember mine, many years ago ;)

  36. #
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    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — February 9, 2013 @ 9:48 pm

    This is so purty!! The frosting sounds magical!

  37. #
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    Peggy — February 11, 2013 @ 6:04 am

    Aww you are too cute! It’ll be my husband and I’s first Valentine’s as a married couple, too! I just know he’d love this cake – I might have to throw in a little chocolate for him because he doesn’t think any dessert is complete without it =)

  38. #
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    marla — February 11, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    Now this is one special cake!!! Lovely flavors and presentation :) Pinned a few times.

  39. #
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    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — February 11, 2013 @ 11:21 am

    WOW, what a cake! This is a spectacular creation Megan!

  40. #
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    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — February 12, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

    Duuuude. This cake is kinda sorta freaking GORGEOUS. I almost wouldn’t want to eat it. But then I’d remember it’s cake and I’d be like, stuffing my face with it and not in a pretty way, either.

  41. #
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    Jackie — April 15, 2013 @ 9:25 am

    Hi

    What brand of Champagne did you use in this recipe and how do you flattened it.

    • Megan replied: — April 15th, 2013 @ 10:33 am

      Hi Jackie – I just used a cheap bottle of Cook’s for this recipe. And you can flatten it by pouring it into a glass and letting it sit out for a couple of hours – or I sped up the process by stirring it with a fork for a little while and then letting it rest. It’s just like letting a soda go flat. It takes a little while, but the flavor will remain.

  42. #
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    Jen — July 22, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    I’m thinking I’ll make this cake in cupcake form to take to a party this weekend. Except I’ll probably put the white chocolate under the frosting so I can make a big grand swirl on top. Can’t wait!

  43. #
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    Areli — September 4, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

    Hi great recipe, I will definitely be trying it out! I just have one question, is it the 3 1/3 cups of sugar, or is it 2 1/2 cups sugar ? Thank you so much in advance :)

    • Megan replied: — September 5th, 2013 @ 6:36 am

      It’s 3 1/3 cups of sugar. I know, it’s a lot. But it’s a lot of layers also – so it doesn’t taste overly sweet. I promise. :)

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