Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Vegan Prosecco and Pink Lemonade Cake | 4 Layer Celebration Cake

I dreamt this cake up in my mind, knew exactly how I wanted it to look, and was curious to experiment with cake flavours I'd never tried before. Something about celebrating my birthday during lockdown made we want to go all out with my cake this year. Sure, I could have looked up vegan bakeries in my city and had something delivered, but I had the unquenchable urge to take on this cake project myself. Not only because baking is my idea of fun, but because I had all the ingredients I needed to bring this to life. 

If you try this cake at home, please share your feedback and pictures with me over on Instagram. Tag @vegannigerian for a repost!


Flavours, Textures and Inspiration

When you think of Prosecco, you think sparkles and bubbles and having a flipping social life. I miss attending those in-person events where copious glasses of Prosecco are handed out while you make awkward conversation with groups of people you just met. Sigh. A vegan Prosecco cake certainly has that air of sophistication about it, wouldn't you agree? 

Just as sophisticated as pink lemonade. I first came to know about this drink from watching The Sound of Music as a kid. There's a scene where the elegant Baroness Scraeder, Captain Von Trapp and Uncle Max sip this rose-tinted concoction on the terrace of the Von Trapp mansion. Très chic...though Uncle Max seemed to be put off by the colour. Seeing as lemon cake happens to be one of my all time favourites, I thought I'd elevate it slightly with this rosy twist, which includes whole fresh strawberries, fragrant lemon zest and lashings of freshly squeezed lemon juice. 

Once baked, the sponges were doused with their corresponding liquids to intensify the flavours and keep them moist during the decorating process. The cream-coloured layers were soaked with more Prosecco. The pink layers were soaked with more fresh lemon juice. 

The sponges are incredibly light, delicate, fluffy and aromatic. Each mouthful had me wanting to waltz across a bunch of soft, puffy clouds. 

The rich chocolate ganache drip topping and fresh berries are a beautiful addition. Think sparkling wine served with chocolate dipped strawberries, and you get the luxurious intention of this cake.

4-Layer Cake

The cake is ambitiously made up of four alternating layers of Prosecco and pink lemonade sponges, held together with thin layers of vanilla buttercream. If you are looking to make a more respectable two-layer version, simply halve the ingredients below.

The pink layer contains fresh lemon juice and strawberries. You can certainly stop there and have a pale pink coloured sponge, but I wanted to intensify the colour slightly, so I added a few drops of red gel food colouring.

Timing

I recommend giving yourself two days to make this cake. One day to bake the sponges, the second day to decorate. You could technically do both on the same day, but it will be a lot of work. Furthermore, refrigerating the cakes overnight help the sponges become a bit more solid, preventing them from potentially falling apart or splitting whilst decorating. Remember that these are going to be extremely moist, fluffy and delicate cakes when straight out of the oven.

Gluten-Free Version

I can't say for sure how this cake will turn out using gluten-free flour, but I would certainly encourage you to experiment. Try using a blended gluten-free self-raising flour such as this one. I would also recommend adding some xantham gum (2 tsp per cake batter) as a stabiliser.

Equipment

To execute this cake, you'll need two 20cm sandwich cake tins. If you only have one at home, that's okay, but you'll have to do 4 rounds of baking instead of two if you're making four layers. 

Also handy to have an immersion hand blender to make the strawberry milk for the pink lemonade layer. 

Then your life will be a whole lot easier if you have a hand mixer for the buttercream, but you can use a good old wooden spoon to beat the margarine and sugar together instead. 

An offset spatula will make the decorating process a breeze.

Ingredients

For the Prosecco sponges

- 4 cups self-raising flour (or all-purpose flour mixed with 3 tsp baking powder)

- 3 teaspoons baking soda

- pinch of salt

- 1.5 cups caster sugar

- 2/3 cup vegetable or sunflower oil

-2 cups Prosecco (plus extra 1/4 cup)

For the Pink Lemonade sponges

- 4 cups self-raising flour (or all-purpose flour mixed with 3 tsp baking powder)

- 3 teaspoons baking soda

- pinch of salt

- 1.5 cups caster sugar

- 2/3 cup vegetable or sunflower oil

- 1.5 cups vegan milk (such as almond, oat or soya)

- 8 fresh strawberries (topped and roughly chopped)

- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (plus extra 1/4 cup)

- few drops of red gel food colouring (optional)

For the buttercream frosting 

- 2 cups vegan margarine 

- 4 cups icing sugar

- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

- 2-3 tablespoons Prosecco or vegan milk

- 3-4 drops red gel food colouring (optional)

For the chocolate ganache and fruit topping

- 2 cups dark or vegan chocolate buttons

- 1/2 cup vegan milk 

- 2-3 cups of fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, sliced mango, raspberries, etc.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Lightly grease two round 20cm sandwich cake tins with some vegan margarine and line the bottom of each cake tin with a round of parchment paper.

2. To make the Prosecco cakes, add all the ingredients to a large bowl and gently fold until the mixture is well combined and smooth. Do not over mix and do not stir too vigorously - this is to ensure a light, fluffy sponge. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake tins, smooth out the tops and bake in the middle shelf for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Once baked, allow to cool in the cake tins for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, spoon the extra 1/4 cup of Prosecco over both sponges to soak them slightly.

3. To make the pink lemonade cakes, start by blending the vegan milk, fresh strawberries and lemon juice together in a jug using an immersion blender. You can also use a regular blender for this. Then add all ingredients into a large bowl, including the strawberry/lemon milk and fold gently until well combined. Do not over mix or stir too vigorously - this is to ensure a light, fluffy sponge. Transfer the cake batter into two prepared 20cm cake sandwich tins, smooth out the tops and bake in the middle shelf for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the cake tins for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, spoon the extra 1/4 cup of lemon juice over both sponges to soak them slightly.

4. Gently wrap all 4 sponges individually in cling film and refrigerate overnight. 

5. Make the vanilla buttercream by combining all the buttercream ingredients in a large bowl with a hand mixer. If you have a stand mixer, that works great too. I wanted a pinkish streak to my cake frosting and so I added a few drops of red gel food colouring to about a quarter of my frosting - this is entirely optional.

6. Assemble the cake on a cake stand or cake board by sandwiching the sponges with thin layers of buttercream. Frost the sides and top of the cake with a large offset spatula. The top doesn't need to be too perfect as you will be covering it with chocolate ganache, but make it as smooth as you can to avoid too many lumps. I don't like a lot of icing on my cakes, so the buttercream was spread pretty thinly around, almost resembling a semi-naked cake. (Note: if you want more buttercream frosting around your cake, by all means double the buttercream ingredient quantities)

7. To make the chocolate ganache topping, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring the chocolate after each interval. When you see it starting to melt, add the vegan milk and heat for another 30 seconds. Stir well until the chocolate is completely melted (you may need to give it an extra 20 seconds or so). You should have a smooth, shiny, thick but pourable ganache. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before pouring over the top of your cake. Use an offset spatula to gently spread it over the top, allowing some to naturally drip down the sides to create a drip effect. 

8. Decorate the top of the cake with chopped or whole fresh fruit. You can even sprinkle on some desiccated coconut or chopped nuts and seeds for added decoration. Totally up to you!

Enjoy! Remember to share your creations with me on Instagram



No comments:

Post a comment