Chocolate, Champagne, and Strawberry Layer Cake {and an engagement announcement!}

Champagne, Chocolate and Strawberry Layer Cake 2 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

A towering eight layer chocolate and champagne cake, filled with a strawberry butter icing, and topped with dark and white chocolate ganache. 

Today’s cake comes to you with some very exciting news. I feel like I’ve been about to burst with this news for weeks, I’ve been holding back, waiting to tell lots of family and friends in person, but now I can finally tell you…… we’re engaged!!

engagement photo // www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

It was all a complete surprise for me.

We were in Russia, just outside the city of Yekaterinburg, on the border where Europe meets Asia. A big moment in our trip; after so many years in Asia, we were finally coming home to Europe. It was an absolutely freezing late November day, the clouds were grey heavy, and the sky had been swirling with snow all day. I was dropping hints about heading back to the hostel and hiding out in the warm. Instead we got in a taxi to drive out of town to the border, a line across the white, frozen ground marking the meeting of continents. A remote place, running through the forest, just a few miles from the Ural Mountains.  On such a cold day,  we were the only people there.

We stood together on the Asian side of the border, getting ready to jump across into Europe, and then, taking me completely by surprise, Andy got down on one knee in the snow, said some beautiful words, and pulled out a little red box.

Of course, I said yes.

Champagne, Chocolate and Strawberry Layer Cake :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

Although all this happened nearly two months, and many bottles of champagne ago, I still can’t quite believe it, and find myself staring at the beautiful shiny diamonds on my finger.

I am deliriously, ridiculously happy.

Where there’s happiness, there should always be cake.

Champagne, Chocolate and Strawberry Layer Cake 3 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

This cake is an eight layer towering beauty of a cake. Chocolate and Champagne sponge layers are alternated, and filled with a strawberry butter icing. Traditional flavours of love, this is a cake to celebrate with. Sometimes the classic flavours are the best.

Champagne, Chocolate and Strawberry Layer cake 1 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

The cake is topped with a dark chocolate whipped ganache. Whipping ganache lightens it, gives it a paler colour, and a creamier texture, more like a buttercream. White chocolate ganache is poured over the top, partly because you can never have enough chocolate, partly because I just couldn’t decide between dark chocolate and white chocolate. The cake is topped with fresh strawberries, and finished with freeze dried strawberries, for an extra fruity kick.

The instructions are quite lengthy, and the cake does take a little patience and time to put together. However all the processes are very simple; sponge, butter icing, ganache.

Champagne, Chocolate and Strawberry Layer Cake 5 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

I’ve used champagne flavouring to flavour the champagne layers. I’ve tried baking with champagne before, but I find you need quite a lot to taste the flavour in cake once its baked. Adding lots of fizzy additional liquid to a cake is quite a tricky thing to get right. Champagne flavouring, therefore, is an easier option. Its strong, potent stuff, so don’t be tempted to add more than the 1/2 teaspoon required by the recipe!

If you’re struggling to find champagne flavouring, I got mine here.

Champagne, Chocolate and Strawberry Layer Cake 4 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

 notes//

– If you’d rather not make your own jam to flavour the butter icing, you can substitute five heaped tablespoons of shop bought jam.

– Whilst eating the cake, I decided that the layers of butter icing needed to be just a little thicker, the cake needed just a little more moisture.  With this in mind, the quantities listed in the recipe will yield a slightly larger amount, and therefore produce slightly thicker layers of butter icing than in the photograph.

–  I’m not very good with cutting my cakes into nice even layers, so I tend to make more work for myself by baking the layers of the cake separately. As there were lots of layers for this cake, I baked 4 layers of cake, then cut each of these in half. If you’re better with straight lines you could bake the batter into 2 larger layers, give the cake a little longer in the oven, and cut these layers into 4. 

 

Chocolate, Champagne, and Strawberry Layer Cake

Ingredients 

for the strawberry jam

200g fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

200g preserving sugar

 

for the chocolate cake 

170g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

170g caster sugar

170g self raising flour

3 medium eggs

70 ml milk

40g cocoa powder

 

for the champagne cake 

170g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

170g caster sugar

170g self raising flour

3 medium eggs

70 ml milk

1/2 teaspoon champagne flavouring

 

for the butter icing

500g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

100ml double cream

700g icing sugar, sifted

5 tablespoons strawberry jam

a few drops pink food colouring (optional)

 

for the dark chocolate ganache

200g dark chocolate

200ml double cream

 

for the white chocolate ganache 

100g white chocolate

75ml double cream

 

to decorate 

freeze dried strawberries

100g fresh strawberries

 

Method 

Begin by making the jam.

Put strawberries, vanilla, and sugar into a heavy based pan. Take a potato masher and mash the  strawberries up to a pulp.

Put the strawberry mush over a medium high heat and bring to the boil. Bubble for about 5 minutes until thick. Check the set point. Put a small amount of jam onto a cold plate, if the jam is sticky and wrinkles when pushed with a finger, then it is ready. Put to one side to cool. Next make the cakes.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / 350F.

Grease and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins.

Start by making your chocolate cake.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and pale. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder.

In a jug or small bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.

Adding a little of each at a time, add the wet and dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Divide evenly between the two cake tins.

Put into the pre-heated oven, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes are firm to the touch, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Repeat the process with the champagne cake.

While the cakes cool, make the buttercream and ganache (see instructions below).

Once all your cakes are cooled, slice each one carefully in half using a serrated knife. You should now have 8 even layers.

If any of your cakes have doomed, level them carefully.

Put your first layer of champagne cake onto your cake plate.

Covere with a couple of generous spoonfuls of butter icing.

Next, add a chocolate layer and top with butter icing.

Repeat alternating the layer until all your layers are stacked.

Use the remaining butter icing to cover the cake completely in a thin layer. This is a crumb coat.

Put in the fridge for about half an hour to set up.

Take the cake out of the fridge. Using a palette knife, coat the cake with the dark chocolate ganache.

Pour the white chocolate ganache over the top of the cake, letting it pour down the sides.

Top with fresh strawberries and freeze dried strawberries.

 

to make the butter icing 

Cream the butter until light and pale. Stir in the sift icing sugar, then add the double cream. Whisk together.

Stir through 5 tablespoons of the jam you made earlier. Add a few drops of pink food colouring, if desired.

 

to make the ganache 

Begin with the white chocolate.

Using a sharp knife, cut the chocolate as finely as you can. Put into a heatproof bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream over a low heat, until just under boiling point.

Remove from the heat, and pour over the chocolate and stir until all the chocolate has melted.

Leave to set at room temperature.

Repeat the process with the dark chocolate. Once the ganache has started to thickened, but not become completely stiff, whip it for a few minutes until light and softened. Be carefully not to over whisk, or the ganache will turn to a chocolate butter.

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Comments:

  1. Steph Yates says:

    Congratulations Jennie! He sounds like such a romantic! Cake is a brilliant celebration, and this one does look delish x

  2. Gorgeously romantic post, cake and ring x congratulations from a Bloggy stranger!!

  3. ‘Where there is happiness, there shoild always be cake’ what a great quote! Beautiful cake and huge congratulations to you both… All happy happy news so more cake must be eaten!

  4. Wonderful news and a great post! Best wishes to you both for the bright and shiny future ahead!

  5. That cake is beautiful 😀 congrats on getting engaged!

    Jessica
    the.pyreflies.org

  6. Congrats! What a lovely post & GORGEOUS cake & photos.

  7. Sue Hayter says:

    Many Congratulations to you Both!!!

    With Kindest Regards

    Sue H. xxxx

  8. Congratulations!! May there be many cakes ahead of you 🙂

  9. Peggy Munday says:

    Congratulations again, as I said before I can’t wait to see what you do for your wedding cake!

  10. Jan Foster says:

    Dear Jenny – I couldn’t be happier for you two! How lovely to have such a memorable proposal to mark your return to Europe! I bet your Mum is almost as excited as you two!!

  11. CONGRATULATIONS!! Such a romantic proposal and perfect for the two of you – leaving one adventure behind on one continent and starting a new adventure on another! So happy for you xx

  12. lucyparissi says:

    Wow! Congratulations! That’s such a romantic proposal it gives me shivers. Fabulous news. And what can I say about this cake? It is simply beautiful – pinned & shared.

  13. Many Congratulations to you and such a beautiful cake!

  14. Baking heaven, I love the whimsy of this cake (chocolate & champagne are not too bad either). Congratulations!!!

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