This Pink Champagne Cake is the perfect way to celebrate any occasion or holiday! A champagne infused cake with a classic vanilla buttercream.
I wanted to do something special for New Year’s Eve this year, since I often let it pass by without mention.
We’re not big on New Year’s Eve parties, and often spend the evening enjoying a cozy night at home, though we do have our own traditions.
“Dinner” on NYE is a generous spread of various appetizers and goodies that we end up grazing on throughout the night.
There is always champagne or some sparking wine around, and we end up tuning in to some kind of NYE broadcast around midnight. Almost always, it’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve because it’s in Times Square and, to me, that is the epitome of NYE celebrations.
It’s not the same without Dick Clark though. 🙁
It’s always a quiet and enjoyable evening at the Liv for Cake household, and this Pink Champagne Cake is the perfect way to celebrate.
I’d like to tell you that this Pink Champagne Cake went off without a hitch, but I think you know me better than that by now.
This cake, or rather the photo shoot for this cake, was a huge pain in the butt.
Since the cake was pretty and pale, I thought it would look best with a light/white backdrop, which essentially made it impossible to get a good shot (at least with my camera and expertise).
Know what else is not fun?
Trying to light 3 sparklers simultaneously so that they ignite at exactly the same time, placing them quickly onto the cake, and grabbing your camera so you can take some pics.
I could have really used an extra set of hands (or two) or a remote for my camera. Ugh.
Let’s not even talk about how many sparklers I went through (18). That’s one entire package (though it actually felt like more at the time). I bought two packs just in case, and I would have used more, but by the 18th sparkler I was SO over it.
Naturally, of the 40 sparkler pics I took, I ended up using #4 which was the first one after a couple test shots.
Oh, and the sparkler photo session was briefly interrupted here and there so I could fan the smoke away from the smoke alarm. LOL. You can’t make this stuff up.
Sparkler issues aside, I think this Pink Champagne Cake turned out pretty well and it’s the perfect cake for any celebration!
Other noteworthy tidbits from this shoot:
- I watered down the pink champagne because it was too dark pink in contrast with the cake.
- I removed the champagne glasses from the sparkler photo session for fear that they would ignite (lol).
Knowing my luck, they would have.
The cake sparkles I pressed into the sides and top of the cake, while pretty and sparkly and perfect, do not have the best texture.
You’d think they would dissolve almost instantly as soon as you eat them… but they don’t.
You have to chew them and then eventually just give up and swallow. I’m still glad I used them though, and totally would again for the pretty effect that they gave the cake.
Pink Champagne Cake
This Pink Champagne Cake tastes just like (surprise, surprise) champagne!
So if you don’t like the taste of champagne or sparkling wine, you might not like the flavor of this cake. Though my cake taste testers said it didn’t taste overly champagne-y and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
I went with a pretty pink color for the cake layers, as I wanted something different. You could do a gold (use 2 whole eggs rather than 3 whites, and non-pink champagne) or some other color instead and it would be just as pretty.
Whatever you decide, this cake is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for your celebrations.
Tips for this Pink Champagne Cake:
- Recipe revised Aug 4, 2019 ~ I increased volume to yield thicker layers. The recipe makes enough for three 6″ pans or two 8″ pans. Layers should be close to 2″ tall.
- The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe.
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so.
- If you don’t like the taste of wine/champagne, you may not like the flavor of this cake (shocker, I know).
- Do not overmix the cake batter once the flour is added as it will result in a fragile and crumbly cake. To prevent this you can add some color gel when you’re mixing the butter & sugar instead.
- Cake sparkles give a perfectly pretty effect, but I would recommend sanding sugar instead for a more palatable texture.
- If you would like to have a gold-toned cake for NYE, use 3 whole large eggs rather than 5 large egg whites, and regular champagne instead of pink. I wouldn’t recommend tinting the batter, but you can try brushing gold luster dust onto the chilled/set frosting or using gold leaf to add accents!
- Learn how to keep your cakes moist by using Simple Syrup.
- Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting and for how to make your buttercream white.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, see my Flat Top Cakes post.
Pink Champagne Cake
Pink Champagne Cake:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsps baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 5 large egg whites room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup pink champagne or sparkling wine, room temperature
- Fuschia color gel
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter room temperature, cubed
- 1 tsp clear vanilla extract
- Fuschia color gel
- 2 jars of cake sparkles or 1 jar sanding sugar
- Wilton tip 1M
- Wilton tip 12
Pink Champagne Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour three 6" cake rounds, line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3mins).
- Reduce speed and add egg whites one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and champagne, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of champagne). Fully incorporating after each addition.
- Add a small amount of Fuschia color gel using a toothpick. Mix to incorporate but try not to overmix.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula.
- Bake for approx. 35 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.*
- Place bowl over a hot water bath on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins).
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)).
- Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth. Add vanilla and continue to whip until smooth.**
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with approximately 2/3 cup of frosting and spread evenly. Repeat with remaining layers and apply a thin coat of frosting all over the cake. Chill for 20mins.
- Frost and smooth the sides. Chill for 20mins.
- Using a toothpick, add a small amount of Fuschia color gel to the remaining frosting. Stir with a spatula to incorporate, or place back on the stand mixer to mix in the color.
- Gently press cake sparkles or sanding sugar into the sides and top of the cake.***
- Decorate with pink rosettes on top and beads along the bottom if desired.
** The buttercream may look like it’s curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
*** It’s easiest to do this if the cake is on a cake board and you can place it on an upside-down glass or bowl so the edges hang over. Adapted from My Cake School. ~Recipe revised Aug 4, 2019 – I increased volume to yield thicker layers. The recipe makes enough for three 6″ pans or two 8″ pans. Layers should be close to 2″ tall.~
Originally published on Dec 17, 2016
Hi there! I’m wondering if you could use sparkling wine flavouring instead of the actual alcohol, and if so, how much? This cake looks amazing 🙂
Hi Aimee! I’ve never tried using that flavouring so I’m not sure how potent it is. Typically though 1 tsp or so is the standard. Be sure to replace the actual champagne with an equal amount of milk if you use the flavouring instead.
I’m making this cake for my birthday party this weekend. If I make it the day before, do I need to cover it in the fridge? I worry about it drying out but I also don’t want to mess up the pretty decorations.
Hi Trish! If the cake is frosted it will be fine in the fridge as is. I only tend to cover exposed cake parts but the buttercream will seal all those in. Be sure you don’t have anything that smells too strong in your fridge as the buttercream could absorb those smells.
Thank you! I made the cake and it was so good. I’ve also made your carrot cake and lemon elderflower cake. All delicious! Your recipes are my go to cake recipes!
So happy to hear you like them!
I tried this recipe and my family all LOVED it.. it liked it too but it had a little bit of a different taste for me… bitter maybe? not quite sure.. but could that just be the champagne flavor ( I normally really love pink champagne)? Does it matter what type of pink champagne is used? I have to admit I did use one that is a little on the low end/cheaper side (since it was trial after 2 others failed – different recipe!). would that matter? lol
Hi Jo! So happy everyone loved it 🙂 I think as long as you used a champagne that you actually like that would make a difference. But this cake does have a very unique flavor due to the champagne/alcohol. I find it quite strong and it’s a love it or hate it kinda thing.
Hello, I live in a City which is at 2800 masl, is it necessary to adjust the amount of baking powder?
Hi Paty! Usually you need to adjust if over 3000ft but you are close. I would try it as is and use these tips if it doesn’t work out: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/resources/high-altitude-baking
Hi there! This recipe is great. Do you by any chance have it with weight measurements?
Hi Genevieve! There is a Metric button you can hit in the recipe card.
Does it matter if the champagne is chilled or does it need to be room temp?
Hi Abby! Sorry, I should have mentioned that, it needs to be at room temperature. I’ve update the post!
Hi, I just made this for a 6 year old birthday. I used raspberry cordial with sparkling water instead of champagne. I have used a few of your recipes in the past couple of years and I love them. I am coeliac, so I make them gf, but they always work well. Thanks Liv!
Hi Belinda! I’m so happy to hear that. Glad the GF versions work well!
Susan Kirkland says
I’m making your cake for my daughter’s 21st birthday next month. How do you apply the cake sparkles to the sides of the cake without messing up the frosting? I can see me making a mess and thought you could give some tips. 😊 Your recipes are so helpful!
Hi Susan! It helps if the cake is chilled. Not so that the frosting is butter-hard, but firm enough to not cause damage. I carefully place the cake on an upside-down bowl so the sides overhang. The bowl is sitting in a sheet pan lined with parchment to catch any mess. Then I press the sparkles gently but firmly into the sides. I find this works well but it’s tricky balancing the cake on the bottom of the bowl. You can just apply them with the cake on a cake stand or turn table still and then transfer it after. I hope that helps!
hi. Im excited to make this for my book club! can I make a day in advance?
Hi Hayley! Yes for sure. If just a day in advance it can be kept at room temperature. I tend to refrigerate my cakes though. Just take it out 2-3 hours before serving.
I’m planning to make this cake in a 12×18 sheet pan and I’m wondering how much batter I would need. Do you think I should double the recipe or more?? 🙂
Hi Kricket! Converting pan sizes is always tricky. Here are some sites I use as a guideline:
Whitney Mitchell says
Can I ask where you got the pink sparklers??
Hi Whitney! They’re not specifically pink, I think they just look that way in the photo for some reason. I got them at the dollar store.
Can I use rootbeer instead of champagne for a rootbeer float cake?
Hi Erica! I haven’t tried it myself but I suspect it will be fine. Let me know how it turns out!
Just outta curiosity could you substitute the pink champagne for a different alcohol? I have some apple wine.
Hi J! For sure, that will work fine.
Hi Liv- I’m having issues with my batter looking grainy or curdled once I add in the egg whites. I’ve creamed the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and the eggs are room temp, but as soon as that first egg white goes in, it looks curdled. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Hi Kristin! You can add a small amount of the flour mixture to the egg, that should help it come together! My mixture sometimes goes curdled too, but I find that it still bakes up ok!
This is one of my favorite cakes. I’m making it for my 96 year old mother’s birthday/Mother’s Day but need to make 3 9” cake rounds. How much batter should I make? Thank you
Hi Jennifer! Converting pan sizes is always tricky. Here are some sites I use as a guideline:
I would 2.25-2.5x the recipe for three 9″ pans. You can adjust the Servings to get the numbers.
Thanks for the tip!
I just made this cake for my birthday and it was excellent! It really gave such a special air to the celebration, so thank you so much for the recipe! My one question is that I found the champagne flavour quite subtle – I could taste it, but only faintly, even though I also paired the cake with a champagne frosting. I read online that doubling the volume of champagne and then reducing it down on the stove would increase the champagne flavour; is this something I could try out? I also used 3 whole eggs instead of 5 whites because I prefer using whole eggs, and didn’t really care what colour the cake turned out, but is it possible that this was ‘masking’ the champagne flavour somehow? Thanks for the delicious recipe!
Hi Cecily! I’m so happy you liked it 🙂 You could definitely try that out for sure. That will make it more concentrated and more of a syrup. Just make sure that the total amount of reduced (cooled) syrup is 1 cup. I’m not sure that the whole eggs would have that much of an impact to mask the champagne, though I did feel it came through quite strongly in my cake. Did the cake taste a bit eggy? Sometimes that can happen if the batter gets overmixed which coloring batter can sometimes do.
Thank you so much for your reply! I think I’ll try out reducing the champagne next time. The cake didn’t taste eggy at all, it tasted mostly like a vanilla cake with a slight hint of champagne. I don’t think the batter was overmixed, because I didn’t end up colouring the batter at all. Thanks for the tips!
I looked through some of the comments to see if anyone has asked about egg white weight…. didn’t see any so I’ll ask, do you know how many grams of egg whites you used? 🙂
Hi Lianne! Each white is about 30g, so 150g total for each the cake and frosting.
Vivian LaCerda says
I made these in cupcake form, and will make the full cake in a couple of weeks. I used only 3/4 cup pink champagne, and 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice. This added SO much flavor and I could still taste the champagne. The recipe alone is quite sweet so I added freeze dried strawberries to the top of the cupcakes. When I make the cake I will add fresh strawberry slices in between the layers to add some tart/acid flavor. Without it I think it would be too sweet. My egg whites and sugar stiffened up really nicely but when I started adding butter it fell. I think its because my kitchen was fairly hot. I threw it in the freezer for a bit and it stiffened a bit. I might make an American buttercream when I made the cake because the merengue would be WAY too loose to support cake layers, and I can’t risk that because I am making it for a birthday. Overall really good recipe, the only reason I subtracted a star was because of how sweet it was,.
Hi Vivian! Sugar is a major component in cakes and frostings so most tend to be sweet. Meringue buttercreams are actually less sweet than something like an American buttercream. Adding maraschino cherry juice would have added sweetness to it, so I would have probably reduced the sugar if doing that. In general you can reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup or so in the cake recipe.
For the meringue buttercream, it sounds like there was something off and that it maybe needed to be chilled some more. Meringue buttercreams are very stable if made correctly, should not be loose at all, and can support cakes without issue. See this post for details: https://livforcake.com/swiss-meringue-buttercream-recipe/ Using an American buttercream would make your cake much sweeter just FYI since you already think it’s too sweet.
I’m excited to try this cake! I also have the same champagne glasses as you. They are my favourite.
Hi Cheryl! I hope you love it 🙂
Kerry Watkins says
A foodie group i’m in had a Valentine’s Bundt cake challenge so I used this recipe and it turned out great. I added a drop of sparkling wine extract is all. And I won!
Hi Kerry! Yay! That is awesome. So glad you and everyone loved it 🙂