This cake is an occasion cake. It’s two-tiered, it’s got champagne in it, and POP ROCKS! All those components make it just a little bit more special than the average cake. This cake really embodies New Year’s Eve traditions to me – it’s fun and unexpected, it’s got a little bit of champagne in it, and the pop rocks are like little fireworks for your taste buds.
If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party, crack open the champagne early and make this cake and the champagne Swiss meringue buttercream – you’ll feel like throwing a party once you’ve assembled it, it’s such a fun cake.
Wherever you’re spending New Year’s Eve, I hope you love it. I’m looking forward to making next year as fabulous as possible, I hope you are too 🙂
Until next year,
Gabby (and Norman & Daisy too!)
Vanilla sandwich cake:
- 85g butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ tsp bicarb
- 2 tsp vanilla
- ½ cup milk
- 1 ¾ cups plain flour
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 315g butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup champagne
- 5 tbsp raspberry jam (for filling)
Cream butter and sugar together until pale. Add in the eggs and mix, scraping down the sides as you go. Add in the bicarb, vanilla and milk and mix well. Add in your flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition.
Pop your cakes into the oven for 25-28 minutes. The cake sh0uld be browned slightly and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out mostly clean, with a few small crumbs. Set the cakes aside for a few minutes before turning them out onto a cake rack to cool.
While the cakes cool, start on your icing.
Whisk together the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl (I used the bowl of Penelope, my KitchenAid.) Pop the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of your bowl. Whisk vigorously for four minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is looking sufficiently white and bubbly. Take the egg whites off the heat and whisk in your stand mixer for ten minutes, until the bowl has cooled down. Your icing should be looking beautiful – thick, glossy, voluminous – here is the part where you ruin that beauty.
Switch to a flat beater now.
Dice your butter into 1cm cubes and throw them in a few at a time, allowing them to mix in at a medium speed before throwing in the next couple.
Turn your mixer down to slow and add in the champagne.
For the raspberry filling, take one cup of the buttercream and mix it with the raspberry jam. Spread it over the top of one of your cakes so that you create a flat surface (this will mean spreading it thicker towards the outer edge of the cake.) Place the second cake on top, smooth the icing around the sides so that they’re flush, then pop in the freezer for five minutes.
Grab the remaining of the buttercream and spread a thin layer around the sides and on the top – this is your crumb coat. Return to the freezer for five minutes.
Spread an even layer of the remaining buttercream around the cake using a spatula; you’ve got a generous amount of buttercream, so you may have a little left over.
Grab a palette knife and a tall glass of hot water – dip the palette knife in the water and run it over the icing to give it a smooth finish. The finish can be as messy or perfect as you like, my “smooth” is a little bit imperfect, I like thatit gives the cake a bit of character.
Return your finished cake to the freezer for another ten minutes before serving. Alternatively, you can put it in the fridge until you want to serve it.
If you’ve got pop rocks (or popping candy), sprinkle it over the top of the cake. Use a baking paper collar around the outside of the cake if you want the pop rocks to stay just on the top of the cake, like mine. You may need to smooth down the sides again.
To cut the cake, use a sharp, thin knife.
If you’re struggling with the icing, I’ve got a more comprehensive explanation of how to make Swiss meringue buttercream here.