“There are stars in your dark side, brighter than the sun.” – Andrea Gibson.
Layer cakes are happening more than usual in my kitchen. It’s to be expected though, willingly or not, the holiday season of extravagance – is upon us. It’s an occasion deserving of cake, a sparkling Pink Champagne Layer Cake made even more decadent by the addition of White Chocolate and Rose. It’s so perfect for a celebration.
What’s strange is that champagne has never been my celebratory drink of choice. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always shunned any kind of forlorn tradition that deemed what I should be, do…drink. It’s definitely part of my subconscious superiority (or subjective inferiority) complex that seems to permeate through everything I do. It’s a precipice, and I’m slowly working on it. It will forever be xo café patrón that I turn too to make my heart sing. But champagne in baked goods? It’s something extra. I’m hooked, completely and utterly.
This Pink Champagne, White Chocolate and Rose Layer Cake was part inspired by the most fragrant Pink Champagne Candle sent from dusk. dusk has partnered with crystals from Swarovski® for the first time to reveal a limited edition collaboration, illuminated by rare crystal. Everything is so incredibly beautiful, and this extravagant cake was created to match.
As much as I love a single layer cake, a large cake, three layers high, was the only way to show off all the glimmering crystal flecked homewares sent from dusk (the exclusive Rose Jewel Swarovski® Cake Platter, the Rose Jewel Swarovski® Cake Serving Set and Pink Champagne Swarovski® Candle are all part of their incredible new range that even extends to mood reeds and candle holders.
This Pink Champagne, White Chocolate and Rose Layer Cake is made up of three incredibly fluffy white cake layers that are studded with flecks of madagascan vanilla bean. There’s also a sweet champagne syrup that soaks the already soft vanilla cake layers, oh, and the most addictive Swiss Meringue Buttercream that’s filled with white chocolate, rose water and champagne too. And a white chocolate drizzle glaze!
It’s such a decadent and addictive cake, made only the more beautiful by delicate pastel pink peonies and Swarovski® crystals.
Decorating a layer cake, will forever be one of those things that causes me an incredible amount of unease. It’s the final frost that brings all the pressure. It has to be perfectly smooth or ‘rustic-ly’ swirled, So, I lit my dusk Pink Champagne Candle leaving it to burn flames high in the background whilst I decorated. It was soothing, a total tranquil relax and incredibly fragrant.
The Pink Champagne scent is one of my favourite blends to date, featuring delicate fresh berry notes poured over a freshly popped champagne accord combined to a smooth base of wood and amber. It was kind of like, having the full sensory experience, seeing, smelling…tasting – which always is, the best part.
- 220 grams (7.76 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 400 grams (14.1 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 380 grams (13.4 ounces) cake flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 280 millilitres (9.88 ounces) whole milk, at room temperature
- 60 millilitres (2 ounces) champagne
- 60 millilitres (2 ounces) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon rose water
- 150 grams (5.3 ounces) egg whites
- 250 grams (8.81 ounces) granulated sugar
- 450 grams (15.87 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 100 millilitres (3.4 ounces) champagne, at room temperature
- 100 grams (3.4 ounces) white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- pink food colouring or gel, optional
- 125 grams (4.3 ounces) white chocolate, finely chopped
- Pale pink pesticide free flowers, peonies, roses or babies breath etc, optional
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Grease and line 3 x 18 cm (7 inch) cake pans with parchment paper. Set them aside.
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Mix, on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the vanilla bean extract and rose water and beat until combined.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl until the ingredients are evenly combined. Set the bowl aside.
- Set the mixer speed to medium-low. Add in the egg whites, a little bit at a time, until they are evenly incorporated and the batter is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Pour in a third of the milk into the beating mixture. Beat until just combined then add in a third of the dry flour ingredients. Continue to alternate the additions until all of the milk and dry flour ingredients have been used up. Make sure to finish by adding the last third of the dry flour ingredients. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until well combined, 3 minutes.
- Divide the cake batter between the prepared cake pans and use a rubber spatula to smooth out the tops. Bake, for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes before turning out and onto a wire rack to let cool completely. Once cool, level off any domed toms with a large serrated knife or cake leveller.
- Place all the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan set over medium-high heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a light rolling boil and let it simmer for 2 minutes before removing from the heat to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Once cool, use a pastry brush dipped in the syrup to lightly glaze the cut side of each cake layer. Set aside for assembly.
- Place the egg whites and sugar in a medium sized bowl stand mixer bowl and whisk them together to just combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan filled with a few inches of water set over medium-high heat. Do not let the water touch the base of the bowl.
- Whisking occasionally, heat the egg and sugar mixture until it reaches a temperature of 70 C (160 F) on a thermometer. Once at temperature. remove the mixer bowl from the heat and set it onto the stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture on high speed until it reaches medium stiff peaks, about 8 to 10 minutes. The bowl should no longer be hot to the touch and no heat should be released from the meringue. Stop mixing and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add in the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, until it is all incorporated. Add in the vanilla bean extract, rose water and salt. Beat, on medium-high speed until the buttercream is increased in volume and is significantly thicker, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add in the champagne and melted white chocolate. Beat until silky smooth and thick, about 4-6 more minutes then add in a few drops of food colouring (if using) until the buttercream is dyed a light shade of pastel pink. Beat until well combined then remove the bowl from the stand mixer and set aside for assembly.
- Place the first cake layer, cut side facing up, on a cake stand or serving platter. Use an offset palette knife to spread 3-4 tablespoons of the buttercream over the top, spreading it right to the edges. Top with the second cake layer, cut side facing down, and again, generously spread over about 3-4 tablespoons of the buttercream over the second cake layer. Lightly press it down to seal. Finish with the remaining third cake layer, cut side facing down, and spread a thin layer of the buttercream over the top and sides of the cake to crumb coat it. Set the cake in the refrigerator to harden the first buttercream coating, about 30 minutes.
- Once set, remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread a generous amount of the buttercream on-top to cover the cake. I used a large offset palette knife to smoothly frost the entire cake but you can thickly frost it, thinly frost it (for a naked cake effect), decorate the cake with buttercream swirls, piping… the choice is entirely up to you. Set the cake back in the refrigerator to set the coating, about 30 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the finely chopped white chocolate over a small saucepan of barely simmering water set on medium-low heat. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Remove from the bowl from the heat and set it aside to cool for 5-10 minutes, or until the chocolate has cooled slightly and is beginning to thicken.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and pour the glaze directly over the top of the cake, using a spatula or butter knife to help it out of the bowl and to run down the sides of the cake to form a dripping effect.
- At this point, you can decorate the top of the cake with some fresh flowers, edible rose petals and gold leaf (if using). I reserved a few tablespoons of the buttercream to use as my ‘glue’ to attach the flowers. Set the cake back in the refrigerator and chill it until firm before serving, about 30 more minutes. The cake will keep for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature before serving, it may also be frozen for up to 1 month.