These pretty mini cakes have been a favorite at bridal showers, afternoon teas, and springtime lunches. This year we’re making them just because. Why shouldn’t any old day feel like a special occasion? There’s no need to use expensive champagne, but use a sparkling wine that you’d like to drink and serve glasses of it alongside the cakes. The recipe makes twice as much of the raspberry filling as you’ll need. The leftovers, which can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, are great drizzled on top of ice cream or pancakes.
Champagne and Raspberry Mini Layer Cakes
For the champagne cake:
- Unsalted butter for greasing
- All-purpose flour for dusting
- 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
- 2 3/4 cups (14 oz./440 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 egg whites plus 1 egg
- 2 cups (1 lb./500 g) sugar
- 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) buttermilk
For the raspberry filling:
- 3 cups (12 oz./375 g) frozen raspberries
- 1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g) sugar
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. cornstarch
For the champagne buttercream:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups (1 lb./500 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 5 Tbs. (80 ml) sparkling wine
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (1 oz./20 g) freeze-dried raspberries
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) fresh raspberries
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) rimmed sheet cake pan, line the pan with parchment paper, then grease the parchment. Dust with flour, then tap out any excess.
2. To make the cake batter, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the egg whites and 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) of the sugar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
3. In the clean bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the remaining 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the whole egg and vanilla and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour, and beat until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Raise the speed to high and beat for 20 seconds.
4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the butter mixture until completely incorporated, taking care not to deflate the peaks.
5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then invert the cake onto a cutting board or an upside-down baking sheet. Remove the parchment. Using a 3-inch (7.5-cm) round cutter, cut out 9 rounds.
6. To make the raspberry filling, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the raspberries, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and cornstarch and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to thicken, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is bubbling and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. (The filling can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
7. To make the buttercream, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, sparkling wine, vanilla and salt, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until combined, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
8. To assemble the cakes, transfer one-fourth of the buttercream to a pastry bag and cut a 1/2-inch (12-mm) opening. Pipe a ring around the outside edge of 1 cake round, then spread a layer of raspberry filling in the center. Top with another cake round and repeat to form 3 cake layers. Repeat to assemble the remaining cakes.
9. Refrigerate the cakes until set, about 1 hour. Spread the remaining buttercream over the tops and sides of the cakes. Garnish with freeze-dried and fresh raspberries and serve. Makes three 3-inch (7.5-cm) 3-layer cakes; serves 6.
Discover a swoon-worthy collection of cakes in the stunning cookbook Favorite Cakes, by the cooks of the Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen.