pink champagne cake

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in an alternate universe, carrie bradshaw is sitting in a wide-windowed manhattan loft, working on her column and eating a sliver of this cake. it’s girly. it’s sweet. it’s pink and glittery. it’s simultaneously boozy and composed, delicate and brash.

white sanding sugar is hidden between the sponge and frosting, adding an invisible layer of texture that is subtle yet crucial to the anatomy of the cake. the bits of sugar pop and dissolve after encountering saliva, making each bite taste like a blast of champagne fireworks. the amaretto frosting adds complexity and boosts the cake’s alcohol content.

PLEASE, buy a huge cake ring and a shit load of acetate, triple this recipe, and throw a bomb-ass new year’s party. happy new year!

cake (recipe from my cake school)

  • 3 cups cake flour (or 2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour and 6 tbsp cornstarch)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 egg whites 
  • 1 cup pink champagne
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temerpature
  • pink food coloring

frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp amaretto
  • 1 tbsp pink champagne

soak (this is optional! my cake was so moist that i didn’t end up using it, but if yours turns out dry, feel free to make this)

  • 1/4 cup pink champagne
  • 1/4 cup sugar

assembly

  • white sanding sugar
  • edible gold stars, gold luster dust, gold dragées
  • champagne candles

for the cake, grease a half-sheet pan and line with parchment paper. preheat the oven to 350º. whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. set aside. in another bowl, whisk the egg whites, champagne, vanilla, and oil. set aside. in a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. gradually add in the dry and wet ingredients, alternating dry/wet and both starting and ending with the dry. add pink food coloring a little bit at a time until you get a pale pink color. you’ll have a little extra batter. bake in prepared pan for about 20 minutes, or until set and spongy. let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool completely.

for the frosting, beat the butter with the extract until light and fluffy. gradually add the powdered sugar, then beat for 5 minutes. add the amaretto and champagne until desired consistency is reached.

for the soak, bring the champagne and sugar to a boil in a saucepan, then simmer until reduced to a syrup (about 10 minutes).

to assemble, use 6-inch  cake ring to punch three circles and two half circles out of the cake. reserve scraps for snacking. wipe off the cake ring, then place it on a sheet pan. lay a 6-inch circle of cardboard (or cake board) in the bottom. line the ring with the strip of acetate. place the two half circles in the bottom, adding scraps if needed to complete the circle. if using, brush with the soak. use the back of a spoon to spread on some frosting. top with a generous sprinkling of sanding sugar. repeat with the second layer, using a whole round. repeat with the third layer. nestle the final layer on top. cover the top of the cake with frosting, and smooth as much as possible. transfer the sheet pan to the freezer, and freeze for at least 12 hours (or up to 2 weeks). when ready to serve, remove the ring and acetate and pipe a border with remaining frosting, if desired (i used a french tip). garnish with gold sprinkles and a champagne candle.

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