My husband and I have been married 14 years today (Hi, Adam! Happy Anniversary! <3 ). 14 years! Most days I don’t feel like a grownup, and then I remember that I’m in my late 30s with three kids and that I’ve been married FOURTEEN years. So…I suppose I’m technically a grownup. I was thinking about weddings and marriage and anniversary celebrations, and my thoughts automatically went to champagne. From there, my champagne thoughts strayed to strawberries…*no*…chocolate-covered strawberries! Thus, this Champagne and Chocolate Strawberries Cake was created.
1) This is champagne cake, topped with fresh strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream, dark chocolate ganache, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. It’s gorgeous in both presentation and flavor, and well represents romance and the celebration of an anniversary. But…
2) I wouldn’t say this suits Adam and I at all. 😉
Adam isn’t really a sweets guy. It took me years accept this (and I’m still not sure I’ve accepted it fully). I will tell you that he’s *way* more of a sweets guy now than when we met (almost TWENTY years ago). If I had to pick foods for a celebration for us, it would be Mexican food (yay queso!) with margaritas or charcuterie and pasta with a big pitcher of sangria. Those are us. But those aren’t sweets, and that’s what this blog is for. 😀
Back to this cake: The addition of whipped egg whites and champagne to the batter make this cake light and delicately flavored. To ensure I have the same amount of batter in each pan, I use my kitchen scale (link [here]) and weigh the pans. I also use cake strips (like these [here]) to help ensure the cake layers bake up with a flatter top, so I cut less cake away when you level the cakes.
The strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream is amazing. Not too sweet, buttery, and packed with straight-from-the-farmer’s-market strawberry flavor. Not being able to leave well enough alone, I also added some strawberry extract for an added punch of strawberry flavor. I don’t think most people have strawberry extract in their kitchen, but of course I do (discussion of my packed pantry to come another day). If you can’t find strawberry extract at the grocery store, you can find it [here]. If you don’t have strawberry extract and aren’t inclined to add it to your pantry, you can substitute vanilla extract.
To top it all off: bittersweet chocolate ganache and chocolate-covered strawberries. Dark chocolate is my jam, but you can use whatever type of chocolate you prefer.
So…this cake doesn’t exactly fit for my own anniversary, since it’s not something my husband is likely to eat much of. Or at all. But, this means I get the bulk of this cake to myself, and that is what really makes for a happy marriage, right? 😉
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Champagne and Chocolate Strawberries Cake
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened (11 Tbsp)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup champagne (sparkling wine)
- 6 egg whites
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- 5 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature (3 sticks)
- 1/2 tsp strawberry extract (see note)
- 1 cup strained strawberry puree (see note; from about 1 lb strawberries)
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate of your choice)
- 3 oz heavy (whipping) cream (about 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp)
- 8 strawberries
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate of your choice)
- 2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
- 1 ounce white chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8" cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing only until just combined. Pour in champagne, mixing to combine, then the remaining dry ingredients. Mix only until incorporated.
- In another mixer bowl, whip egg whites with the whisk attachment until they reach stiff peaks.
- Add whipped egg whites to batter in three additions, carefully folding in each addition using care not to deflate the egg whites. Continue folding until egg whites are fully incorporated and no white streaks remain.
- Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans (see note). Affix cake strips to the outsides of the pans, if desired (see note). Bake cakes 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a small saucepan of simmering water, taking care that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl.
- Stirring occasionally, warm egg white mixture to 160F. Once the mixture reaches temperature, transfer the bowl to the mixer.
- Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed until it reaches stiff peaks. The mixture will be white and glossy, and the bowl will be nearly cool to the touch (at least 10 minutes).
- Add butter, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, allowing each addition to fully incorporate before adding the next.
- Once all butter is incorporated, add strawberry extract (see note) and strawberry puree. Mix until combined.
- Frost champagne cakes with buttercream. If desired, leave enough buttercream leftover to pipe a border around the bottom and pipe on top to anchor chocolate-covered strawberries.
- Combine chocolate and cream in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave on 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until ganache is smooth.
- While still warm and pourable, pour over the top of the cake, spreading the ganache with an offset spatula and allowing the ganache to drip down the sides, if desired.
For Chocolate-Covered Strawberries:
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Set aside.
- Melt bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate of your choice) with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil on 15-second intervals in the microwave, stirring after each interval, until mixture is smooth. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
- Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture and lay on prepared baking sheet. You can leave them out to set up, or put them in the refrigerator if you'd like them to set up faster.
- Once the chocolate is set, melt white chocolate with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil on 15-second intervals in the microwave, stirring after each interval, until mixture is smooth. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
- Pour white chocolate mixture into a zip-top bag and cut the corner. Drizzle the strawberries with the white chocolate. Allow white chocolate to set.
- Pipe small swirls of buttercream to anchor the strawberries, if desired, and place the chocolate-covered strawberries on top of the cake.Enjoy!
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