Six weeks of revision, one birthday, one mild emotional breakdown and five exams later I am free! I will never have to sit an exam again. I thought a cake was in order to celebrate, and incorporating this month's Baking With Spirit challenge, champagne, would be the cherry on top of the cake. Being an impoverished student (and because I forgot to go to M&S on the way home for a mini champagne bottle), I've settled for Kir Royale, a champagne derivative. I'm running the challenge, so I will let myself get away with it this time.
Unfortunately, glittery and covered with enough sprinkles to induce a sprinkle coma though this cake is, it was not what I had wanted to make.
To begin with, I tried a new cake recipe that used egg whites and only one whole egg from Sweetapolita. They rose up magnificently in the oven, but even though they were cooked through they sunk immediately when I took them out. In the end, the sponge in this cake resembles a pancake: dense and flat.
The icing did not want to cooperate with me today. I think it began when I added more butter than normal to the French buttercream in an attempt to make more of it (probably foolish, I know), and for some reason it wouldn't all blend in properly so the icing has the odd white blotch in it where the butter didn't combine properly. When I first added the Kir Royale to it the icing remained smooth and glistening, but after a few minutes it began to ooze the liquid back out at me, which leads to my next problem: piping. I had originally wanted to make a scalloped cake like this one from Bird On A Cake, but because the icing was oozing Kir Royale, it just did not look appetising. The beauty of Swiss and French buttercream is that it's easy to scrape off and reapply, which is what I had to do. That's why the cake you see before you is not scalloped, but instead smoothly iced and covered in sprinkles to add a bit of drama.
Finally, I am displeased with the outer colour of this cake: I envisaged party pink, not a shade of peach. It looked pink enough when I first coloured it, so I'm not sure if it was the manic addition of butter to try and entice the Kir Royale to stay in the icing or if it was just poor lighting, but somewhere down the line my pink found a tint of orange. The icing sandwiching the cakes together is the correct colour, but doesn't quite work with the cake as I had hoped because baby blue and peach aren't such a great colour combination.
Nevertheless, this cake still tastes (and looks) quite good, which makes it all worth it. I'm sure it was something on my end when it came to the cakes going wrong, because Rosie (at Sweetapolita)'s cakes look great and it looks like a recipe she's perfected over time. Oh well! Now I know to stick to my original recipe. I think next time I make a cake like this I'll put the alcohol in the cake and leave the icing alone.
I've not given instructions for the cake as it's on the Sweetapolita website and I followed it to the letter for once (which is why I'm all the more perplexed as to why it went so wrong), but since I scaled the quantities down to make the cake three-layer and not four-layer, I've put the ingredients in.
For the cake:
- 5 Egg Whites
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
- 200g Butter
- 350g Self Raising Flour
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 350mL Milk
- 350g Caster Sugar
- 300g Butter
- 12 Egg Yolks
- 120g Caster Sugar
- 60mL Kir Royale
- Blue & Red Gel Food Colouring
- Make the cakes as instructed here.
- Allow the cakes to cool, then wrap them in cling film and freeze while you make the icing.
- To make the French Kir Royale buttercream, put the yolks, and caster sugar in a bowl over a pan of hot water - make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
- Gently whisk the mixture until the sugar has dissolved (I usually let it get to a steaming point and then give it another couple of minutes before taking the mixture off the heat), then transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and whisk until it has doubled in size and has cooled to room temperature.
- Make sure the butter is room temperature and has been chopped into small, manageable chunks, then add it a piece at a time to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. You may not need all of it - when the mixture has become stiff and holds its shape, you don't need to add any more.
- Whisk in the Kir Royale until it is fully combined.
- Take a third of the icing and put it in another mixing bowl. Whisk in a small amount of blue gel food colouring.
- Whisk a small amount of red food colouring into the remaining icing, turning it pink.
- Take the cakes out of the freezer and unwrap them. Sandwich them together with the blue icing and then cover with the pink icing. Decorate as desired.