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This Fresh Berries & Prosecco Cake makes for a wonderfully loose but sophisticated, sweet and summery treat to celebrate any occasion.
Makes one 8-inch Layer Cake to serve 8-10 people
9 tbsp unsalted butter softened
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup avocado oil
4 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ cup milk
8 egg whites at room temperature
3 cups strawberries, 8 reserved whole and the rest chopped small
1 cup a combination of blueberries, blackberries, and/or raspberries
Honey for garnish
1 cup prosecco
1/3 cup sugar
1 lb unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
6 cups powdered sugar
6 tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
•To make the Vanilla Cake, preheat oven to 350F and prepare 2 8-inch round cake pans by greasing with butter. Then cut rounds of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each. Press one round into the bottom of each pan, then flip the paper and rub to line each again so both side of the parchment are greased – this makes for very easy cake removal from the pan after baking.
•Using a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with paddle attachments, beat butter on medium-low speed until creamy. Add sugar and beat to a wet sand consistency, then add the avocado oil and beat until all ingredients are well-combined, fluffy and the color has turned light and creamy, at least 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat another 15 seconds to incorporate.
•Sprinkle flour, baking powder and salt over your wet ingredients in the same bowl and use a spoon or whisk to lightly fluff and incorporate them all together on top before mixing dry into wet. This saves you having to get a separate bowl to combine dry ingredients in advance.
•With mixer on low speed, slowly add the milk until all is incorporated and batter is just combined and lusciously smooth – do not overwork the batter or you risk having a tough cake.
•In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer with the whisk attachment on high-speed to beat egg whites stiff peaks, 2-3 minutes. Using a spatula, gently fold your egg whites into your cake mix to preserve as much air and lift as possible. Scrape the sides of the bowl and cut down the middle to evenly distribute.
•Evenly divide cake batter into prepared pans until they are each 2/3 full – you will have some batter left and can either make a third smaller round or a batch of cupcakes. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs hanging on. For best results, rotate your cake pans halfway through to ensure even baking. Cakes will be a golden brown and springy to the touch, with the sides lightly pulled away from the pan. They will also smell like vanilla heaven.
•Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out of pans and allowing to cool completely on a cooling rack.
•Meanwhile, make the Buttercream Frosting. With a mixer or hand mixer fitted with paddle attachments, whip softened butter on medium speed until creamy. Add salt and beat again for about 20 seconds. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, thoroughly incorporating each cup before adding the next.
•Add in heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time and whip for 20-30 seconds between each addition. Add vanilla extract and stir on medium-high for 30 seconds.
•To make the Prosecco Syrup, add prosecco and sugar to a small pan and heat over medium flame, stirring periodically until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until it is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
•When cakes are fully cooled, slice each round in half cross-wise and lay open. Drizzle a tablespoon or 2 of prosecco syrup over the cut side of each half. Add blueberries, blackberries and raspberries to the pot with the remaining prosecco syrup and gently stir to coat. Set aside.
•Add a dollop of buttercream to the center of your serving plate before placing the bottom of the first layer of your cooled cake on top – this will act like a glue to hold your cake in place. If you want to avoid getting frosting on your serving plate, you can also line the plate with 2 sheets of parchment paper that meet in the middle and can easily be pulled out from under your cake once frosting is complete. Or you can just wipe down the plate when complete. Or you can ignore whatever is there!
•Apply a thin layer of frosting to the top of the cake – work carefully to avoid pulling up too many crumbs as the icing will stick to the cut side of the cake. Add half the cut strawberries and press into the frosting layer. Add the top of your first cake layer, and coat that with more frosting. Add the bottom of the second cake and coat again with frosting before pressing in remaining cut strawberries. Add the top of the second cake. Depending on how much frosting you have left, you can either dollop it on top or thinly ice all sides of the cake. If you want a very professional looking finished cake, thinly line the full cake with frosting and transfer to the freezer for 10-15 minutes to allow this frosting layer to set (crumb coat), then remove cake and apply another clean coat of frosting around the entire cake.
•Arrange whole strawberries on top of the cake and then spoon prosecco syrup-coated berries all around the top of your cake. Drizzle with honey for extra glistening effect, and eat up!
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