Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Birthday Cake for My Hubby: Raspberry-Champagne Cake With White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Ponder this for a minute: Raspberry-Champagne Cake With White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing. How does that grab ya? I thought so. Now…what If I told you that this cake is a cinch to make, totally gorgeous, and tastes AMAZING?!?!? Michael’s birthday falls 12 days ahead of Christmas…which makes it easy for his special day to get lost in the holiday shuffle. I try very hard to make his birthday the star attraction on December 13th, so I asked him if he wanted me to make him a cake this year. He asked for a white cake filled with berries and topped with cream cheese icing. I asked myself what would take this flavor combo over the top...and champagne, raspberries, and white chocolate is what I came up with. Then I started baking.

Michael’s parents came up from Houston to celebrate with us. We had a yummy seafood dinner at Pappadeaux, then we came home and cut TWO cakes and opened presents! Michael is now the proud owner of an iPhone 4S…and he proclaimed my cake delicious! I have to agree that it was pretty darn good...the cake is a doctored-up white cake mix, but the rest of the cake is 100% from scratch. I substituted champagne for the water that the cake mix directions called for. After the layers baked and cooled, I spread strawberry preserves and fresh raspberries in the middle of the layers. Then, I made a fantastic cream cheese buttercream icing…and added 4 ounces of melted white chocolate for good measure. Yeah…that’s how The Weekend Gourmet rolls!

Raspberry-Champagne Cake With White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
a Weekend Gourmet Original

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350. Add the following ingredients to a mixing bowl: one package pudding-in-the-mix white cake mix, 1 1/3 cups champagne, 3 egg whites, and 1/2 cup oil. Beat on low to combine, then on medium for two minutes. Divide the batter between two non-stick 9" cake pans that have been sprayed with spray and floured. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Step 2:  While the cake bakes, make the icing. Cream 2 sticks butter and 8 ounces softened cream cheese with a mixer. Add 1 box powdered sugar (3 cups) and 6 ounces melted white chocolate. Combine until all the sugar and white chocolate are thoroughly combined with the butter-cream cheese mixture. Set in the fridge until you're ready to frost the cake.

Step 3:  After the cake bakes, completely cool it before assembling and frosting the cake. When you're ready to assemble, place the first layer on your serving tray. Evenly spread a small jar of strawberry preserves over the cake, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the sides. Top the preserves with a small container of raspberries. Carefully place the top cake layer on top and ice with the reserved frosting.

Since this cake has fresh fruit and a dairy product in the icing, I suggest storing the cake, covered, in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Simply remove about 30 minutes before you're ready to slice. It slices perfectly...and that red layer of berries and jam really pops against the white cake and icing!

This cake is good…like REALLY good! You can't taste the champagne per se, but it really gives the cake a great texture. It was firm and easy to cut, but very moist! The fresh raspberries and strawberry jam filling gave the cake an incredible sweet-sour berry flavor…and the icing? Holy moly…it was fab!! The white chocolate provides an incredible richness and depth of flavor. This cake has a lot of eye appeal too: the scarlet-red layer in the middle of white icing and cake is festive and pretty. For the holidays, you could totally decorate the top of the cake with artificial holly or poinsettias…please make sure they’re artificial, though! I don’t you to have to call Poison Control as part of your holiday festivities!!

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