Cranberry Champagne Cake

By: Susan Palmer

Ingredients

For the Cake:

3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 orange zested
1 cup of unsalted butter room temperature
1 1/2 cups of cane sugar
6 large of egg whites room temperature
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of Champagne or Prosecco
1/4 cup of whole milk
For the Cranberry Curd Filling: !!HEADER!!
1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries
2 cups of water
1 cup of cane sugar
6 large of egg yolks
8 tablespoons of unsalted cold butter   

For the Champagne Buttercream:

1 cup of unsalted butter room temperature
4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup of Champagne or Prosecco:
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract   

For the Sugared Cranberries:

3 cups of water
3 cups of cane sugar + 1 cup additional
1 (12-ounce) bag of cranberries

Directions

  1. To make the cake, in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until they reach medium peaks and transfer to a medium clean bowl.
  2. Return the bowl to your mixer, no need to clean it out, add the paddle attachment and add the butter and sugar and cream on medium until light and airy about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract and beat for another minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest.
  4. Mix in half the flour, then half the Champagne, the remaining flour, Champagne and milk. Scraping down the sides as needed.
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a rubber spatula, gently fold in the egg whites, trying not to deflate them too much.
  6. Pour 1/3 of the batter between the cake pans (if you have a kitchen scale, it comes to 17 ounces per pan). If you just have two cake pans, bake the first two for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick insert comes out clean.
  7. Let cool for 15 minutes before carefully removing to a wire rack to finish cooling and bake the remaining amount of batter.
  8. The cakes can be baked 1-2 days ahead of time and just wrap each cooled layer in plastic wrap.
  9. To make the filling, remove from the heat and pour the sauce into a fine mesh sieve over a medium saucepan. Discard the solids from the sieve and scrape the bottom to get out all the cranberry sauce. Turn the heat to medium and add the sugar. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  10. Very slowly whisk in the egg yolks and cook for 5-7 minutes, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. The curd should begin to thicken up at this point.
  11. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until completely melted.
  12. Pour the curd through a fine mesh sieve into an airtight container and let cool to room temperature before placing the refrigerator to chill overnight.
  13. To make the surgared cranberries, in a large saucepan over medium heat bring the sugar and water to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.
  14. Add the cranberries and cook in the syrup for 1 minute. You want to make sure the cranberries do not begin to pop.
  15. Transfer to a large container and weigh the cranberries down with a plate. Let cool before placing in the refrigerator overnight to soak.
  16. The next day, remove the cranberries from the syrup (the cranberry flavor simple syrup can be saved and used in drinks or given away as gifts) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Toss with 1 cup of cane sugar and let air dry for 2 hours.
  17. To make the buttercream, the butter and confectioners sugar in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium until the butter is broken up and then add the Champagne and vanilla. Turn the mixer to medium high and continue to beat until the butter cream has a light, airy and smooth texture. Add about half the butter cream to a large pastry bag fitted with a round tip.
  18.  To build the cake, use a serrated knife and level off the top of each cake layer by gently rotating the cake as you cut through the top.
  19. Place a small amount of butter cream on your cake stand and lay the first layer on top. Pipe a thick border on the outside ring on top of the first layer, creating a damn for the cranberry curd. Spoon in enough to fill the center of the cake.
  20. Top with the next layer and repeat and then top with the final layer of cake, pressing down slightly on the cake to secure the layers.
  21. Using an offset spatula add the remaining amount of butter cream on the top of the cake and just a tiny bit on the sides for a nearly naked cake cook.
  22. Top the cake with the sugared cranberries and decorate the bottom with them as well.
  23. Serve the cake with the extra cranberry curd on the side.
  24. Cake is best served at room temperature but should be refrigerated if not serving within a few hours of completion.