My parents celebrated 41 years of marriage on Monday, and on that bright day in 1976, they served champagne cake to their guests in Portland, OR, my mother’s favorite. Mom recently came to New Orleans for a visit, and in addition to entertaining the chickens, restructuring my patio and filling raised beds made chicken-proof by wire, cunning, and hinge, she and I made this delicious cake from the Italian Baker by Melissa Forti (still one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve ever seen). Wonderful to see you, Mom.
Adapted from the Italian Baker
100ml (1/3 cup plus 1 ½ TB) avocado oil, plus extra for greasing
4 egg whites, at room temperature
225g (1 ½ cups) caster sugar
280g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
245ml (1 cup) champagne, at room temperature
2 tablespoons double cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
FOR THE FILLING AND FROSTING
500ml (2 cups plus 2 TB) double cream
2 tablespoons icing (confectioners) sugar
80 g (3 oz) good-quality strawberry jam
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly oil two 8 inch cake tins and line the bases and sides with baking parchment.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric whisk) whisk the egg whites until frothy, then whisk in 100g (1/2 cup) of the sugar in small additions, whisking until stiff peaks form and the meringue looks glossy.
Put the flour, baking powder, remaining sugar and salt in a separate bowl. Add the vegetable oil, Champagne, cream and vanilla. Beat until incorporated, then gently fold in the whisked egg whites. Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before inverting on to a wire rack to cool completely.
In the meantime, place a stand mixer or a mixing bowl in the freezer for 15–20 minutes to chill. Using the whisk attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the double cream and icing sugar together in the chilled bowl, until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
To assemble, spread a thin layer of jam over one cake and top with whipped cream. Place the other cake over the first and, using a spatula, spread the whipped cream evenly over the top and sides.
I highly recommend the Italian Baker to Bake This Day readers; please purchase her book, I think she is my new baking hero– you can get it here: http://amzn.to/2fCWmJe. It should top your shelf.