The new year wouldn’t be complete without a little champagne, right? I know not everyone is a fan of the drink (personally, it took 26 years for me to be able to drink it without making that scrunched-up “oh-this-is-tart” face) but how can you not like a bubbly-inspired cake? A PINK bubbly inspired cake? With BUBBLES! Gelatin. Bubbles. If you take nothing else away from this, I repeat: bubbles.
Pink Champagne Cake
Makes one 3-layer 6″ cake
For the pink champagne cake:
1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) butter
3/4 cup champagne
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
Pink (or red) gel food coloring
For the vanilla buttercream frosting:
5 egg whites
10 oz. granulated sugar
3 3/4 sticks (425 grams) butter
1-2 tbsp. vanilla extract
Pink gel food coloring
For the gelatin bubbles:
4 tbsp. gelatin powder
5 tbsp. water
Pink gel food coloring
Luster dust or edible glitter (for extra sparkle)
Since the gelatin bubbles will need to set for about 24 hours, I suggest beginning with those. I used Sprinkle Bakes’ terrific tutorial to make these (which you can find here) so check it out and leave Heather some comment love!
To make the cake, preheat your oven to 350*F (175*C), and grease and line your cake pans (I grease the sides and line just the bottom). In a large bowl, whisk together all but the champagne and food coloring. Once your batter is lump-free, whisk in a few drops of pink or red food coloring until you get the color you want (I may have been a little overzealous with mine…). Gently fold in the champagne (we want to minimize fizziness from the carbonation), and pour the cake batter into your prepared pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
For the frosting, whisk together your egg whites and granulated sugar over a pot of bowling water until the sugar has completely dissolved (you’ll be able to feel it if you stick your finger in the mixture). Once the sugar has dissolved, whisk the mixture on high until stiff peaks form and the mixture is roughly room temperature. Cube your butter and beat it in piece by piece until a smooth frosting forms (since this is swiss meringue buttercream, keep in mind that this frosting tends to go from deflated to looking curdled to smooth, so don’t give up if the texture starts looking wrong… Just keep beating!). At the last minute, add the vanilla extract.
When I pictured this cake in my mind, I imagined it looking like a bubbling glass of pink champagne: a deep pink color fading into a foam of bubbles on the top. And because of this, I decided to go with an ombre frosting. To frost the cake, start by spreading a little frosting (about 1/3-1/2″) between each layer and then divide the rest between three bowls with a little extra in the bowl that will cover the top of the cake. To create the ombre effect, you’ll want to tint your frostings various shades of pink: a deep pink for the bottom, a lighter pink for the middle, and the lightest shade of pink for the upper portion of the sides and the top.
Starting at the bottom with the darkest shade of pink, begin frosting around the sides covering about the bottom 1/3 of your cake. Go back and smooth that out with your offset spatula before frosting the middle 1/3 with the next shade of pink (this will keep your shades of pink from blending too much). Smooth out the second shade, using the tip of your offset spatula to blend the two frosting where they meet. Continue with the third and lightest shade of pink for the top 1/3 of the cake and the top. Smooth out that layer. And, because I’m a sucker for textured cakes, I just had to add a little texturing to mine (but that’s totally optional). To do that, I drew my offset spatula around the sides of my cake in a spiral motion working my way up around the sides and onto the top (FYI: one of those rotating cake tables makes this part infinitely easier).
Once your cake is frosted, it’s just a matter of adding the finishing touches. For me, that meant my dried gelatin bubbles, of course (I mean, come on, that was one of my main selling points here!) and a boat-load of sprinkles. Life’s just better with sprinkles, am I right?
Happy baking and happy new year!
Frosting texturing technique adapted from Apt. 2B Baking Co.