Strawberry Sparkling Wine Cake
Soft sparkling wine cake kissed with strawberries, filled with fresh strawberry compote and finished with a lush champagne Italian meringe buttercream. Right on time for a New Years Eve celebration or even Valentines Day, this cake is sure to please. Just like my vanilla cake, this cake is a hybrid recipe but has a few extra components. Altogether, not only will this recipe expand your palette and perhaps inspire you to try other flavor combinations with your cake, but it has a few cooking techniques to familiarize you with cake assembly if you aren’t quite yet fluent.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
I actually prepared this cake over a 3 day period, to pace my way through the holiday hysteria, kids and more holiday hysteria. I made it out alive though— really looking forward to ringing in the new year!
Even though the motions of this cake were some what easy to me, the challenge showed present in my personal preference. I don’t drink, I’ve tried it before but don’t really like the taste or how it makes me feel. I get way more excited about a cup of coffee than a glass of wine. Because of my preference, baking with alcohol can be a challenge for me. Although, the cake itself doesn’t contain any alcohol, working with the flavor required me to employ some help to get it to taste just right.
To start, I actually baked my cakes a week before I scheduled myself to assemble. I really prefer to bake and decorate in different weeks, did I mention I have kids? This recipe freezes pretty well actually, even with fruit inside of the cake layers.
Next is the strawberry compote, because I planned to serve this cake on Sunday night and the compote has a week shelf life, I didn’t actually start on that component until closer to when I planned on serving the entire cake. It is really quite simple actually, combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a pot, low and slow is the name of the game here. You will know that your compote is finished when it has a tight appearance. Short on time? You can speed up the compote process in two other ways if you rather not boil it down. The first alternative is to take 1/3 of your strawberry compote, make sure it is cool and puree it. When you’ve done that, add it back in to your simmering mixture and it will thicken right up. Your second alternative is making a slurry. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp water and a 1/2 tbsp cornstarch. You will want to wisk all of the lumps out before you add it to your simmering compote. If you skip this step, there is no reconciling, believe me, I’ve tried. When your slurry is lump free, add it to your compote and it will tighten up in no time!
Finally, my favorite part, BUTTERCREAM! Can you tell I’m excited? Well if you can’t tell, I am. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
THIS RECIPE MAKES
3x 6”cake rounds + 3x 4” cake rounds / 2x 8” cake rounds/ 2x 9” cake rounds/ 1x 10” cake round/ 1x 10” cake round/ 36 cupcakes
This recipe can be doubled to make more cake rounds as well as baked up as cupcakes without any alterations.
Baking pans, NOT FLUTED
Liquid measuring cup
Extra bowl for sifting
Hand Mixer/ Stand mixer
Bakers Joy/ baking spray
Strawberry Sparkling Wine Cake
Big Laugh Kitchen Hybrid Recipe
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
18 ounces white cake mix
1 1/3 water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 egg whites, 1 whole egg
8 ounces sour cream
6 ounces frozen or fresh strawberries, medium diced
1 ounce sparkling wine flavor
non stick sauce pan
dish for storing compote once completed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
splash lemon juice
12 ounces fresh or frozen strawberries
Sparkling Wine Italian Meringue Buttercream
High temperature thermomether
Non stick pot
8 large egg whites, room temperature
½ cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 pound butter, room temperature, cubed
2 ounces Lorann Sparkling Wine flavoring
Strawberry Sparkling Wine Cake
Prepare your work station by making sure you have all of your tools and ingredients measured out and within arms reach.
Preheat your oven to 325F
With a sharpened pencil and scissors at station, place one baking pan of desired size over parchment paper, trace and cut out. Cut extra parchment to set aside for the decorating/ assmbly process. Repeat depending on how many layers of cake you plan on baking. Prepare pans by adding parchment into each on and spraying with baking spray or greasing and flouring.
Small dice strawberries and set aside
Add all measured wet ingredients to mixing bowl, including sparkling wine flavor, gently mix only until incorporated.
Set sifter over extra bowl, add measured dry ingredients into sifter to remove any lumps.
When dry ingredients have been sifted, add to wet mix, mix gently on medium speed until fully incorporated. Take care not to overmix.
Fold in small diced strawberries
Divide batter into prepared baking pans filling them to the halfway point. Tap pans on surface to force out any air bubbles.
Place pans on top rack of preheated oven. Make sure that pans are not touching eachother or too close to the sides to avoid uneven cooking or burning.
Bake for 25-27 minutes. Test for doneness with toothpick or cake tester.
Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack or wrapping.
Place all ingredients, in no particular order into sauce pan. Give a gentle stir using your rubber spatula so they are evenly distributed throughout sauce pan.
Place pan on top of oven range and turn heat up to medium, stir occasionally for 3- 5 minutes so there isn’t sticking and possible scorching
Keep a close eye on your mixture, as it is bubbling and the liquid is evaporating out, it will become thicker, begin to stir almost constantly.
Strawberries will soften and be partially unconstituted and mixture reduced by 50% rendering a thick consistency but not tight like a jelly or jam. This process can take between 7-15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place strawberry compote into a storage dish and refrigerate. It will thicken more as it cools so when you apply the filling to your cake, it wont drench it
Sparkling Wine Italian Meringue Buttercream
In a clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, add room temperature egg whites, set aside.
On stove top, in clean pot add water and granulated sugar. Place on medium heat. Heat syrup to 230F, testing with a digital or candy thermometer for accuracy.
When temperature is met, turn stand mixer on medium high and whisk eggs to stiff peaks.
When sugar syrup meets the temperature of 240F, carefully pour it in mixer avoiding both the whisk and the side of the bowl. Continue mixing until the bowl is cool to the touch. This should take about 16 minutes and the meringue should increase in volume.
When bowl is cool to the touch, add in butter cubes a few at a time until fully incorporated. Whisk buttercream for a few more minutes until fully incorporated. Now you have the base for your Sparkling Wine Italian meringue buttercream.
Using an eye dropper, extract champagne flavoring from bottle.
While mixer is stopped, drop in two drops of flavoring and mix on medium for 20 seconds to incorporate flavoring.
Stop mixer, with a clean spoon, taste. Adding more flavoring is discretionary.
Assembley using the upside down method
Prepare station again for decorating having on hand slip proof mat, offset spatula, bench scraper, turntable, bread knife, acrylics or corresponding cake rounds, buttercream, clean towel and plate for cake scraps
Lay slip proof mat on center of turntable placing acrylic or cake board over top. If you are using a cake board, have the grease proof side facing up. If you are using an acrylic, have engraved side facing down not to indent the brand name into your icing.
With your offset spatula, dab a bit of buttercream onto your acrylic round to act as an adheisive for your parchment paper. Lay parchment over buttercream and smooth it down . You will be icing over the parchment and don’t want to tear, crinkle or get buttercream underneath because this will be the top of your cake.
Plop down a spoonful of buttercream onto the parchment lined cake board or acrylic, smooth with offset spatula as evenly as possible
Using your bread knife, cut off the domed tops of your cakes as evenly as possible, doing so will increase the overall stability of your cake. If you find your cuts aren’t completely level, you can attempt to fill the deficit with buttercream and filling.
Lay cake layer, bottom side down on top of buttercream. Center as best as possible.
Plop another spoonful of buttercream onto cake layer and spread evenly. A cake tier usually consists of 2-4 layers of cake and 2-3 layers of buttercream/ filling. Build cake tier depending on your desired height.
Because you are using a strawberry filling, you will want to pipe a dam ( buttercream ring) around the edge of the cake for additional stability. Do this with each layer containing fruit
Add fruit filling on top of the iced layer inside of the dam but not to liberally or your cake will become slick. Continue with each layer depending on how many layers you choose to work with
Place your last cake layer on top of buttercream/ filling buttom side up so it its flat and free of crumbs. You will not need to add a cake board to the cake yet. Smear a bit of buttercream onto cake layer to adhere another piece of parchment. On top of the parchment, smear one more bit of buttercream that you may adhere the top cake board or acrylic. You can see this process here
Icing the cake doesn’t have to be a glamorous process, that is why you have a clean towel on hand . Using a rubber spatula, add buttercream to cake all the way until it is covered.
Using your bench scraper held at a 90 degree angle to the turntable, gently press it against the cake , rotating the turntable with your free hand until the cake becomes smooth. You lmay find this takes a few passes. If deficits are revealed, add more buttercream and check the placement of the acrylics for sliding.
When cake is iced to your desired smoothness, place in fridge for an hour to chill.
To remove boards/ acrylics, it is best to do so with a hot paring knife. You can heat your knife by boiling water and pouring it into a coffe mug and having it rest there in between uses.
Voila! You have a beautifully strawberry sparkling wince iced cake just waiting to be decorated!