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champagne cake on a cake stand with a cake server lifting a slice

Champagne Cake

Champagne cake is a delicious and show-stopping from-scratch dessert that's perfect for the holidays or any day. It's simple to make and it's always a hit!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 42 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Servings 10
Author Kelsie

Ingredients

Cake layers

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup champagne or other sparkling wine
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk*
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs + 2 large egg whites

Cake soak

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons champagne

Champagne frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons champagne**
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
  • gold sugar sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

Cake layers

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment, spray the parchment with cooking spray, and set pans aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place the champagne in a glass measuring cup and pour it back and fourth between the cup and a large glass a few times to eliminate the bubbles. Combine with the buttermilk and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with with an electric mixer until smooth.
  5. Add the sugar, vanilla, eggs and egg whites and beat on medium until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Stop the mixer a few times to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.)
  6. With mixer on low, beat in half of the dry ingredients until just combined. Beat in half of the champagne-buttermilk mixture.
  7. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the remaining flour, then the remaining champagne mixture. Stir until batter is smooth. (Don’t over-mix.)
  8. Divide batter between the prepared cake pans and bake for 42 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  9. Cool cake layers in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  10. While the cake layers are cooling, make the cake soak.

Cake soak

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Add the champagne and boil for 30 seconds.
  2. Remove from the heat.
  3. After the cake layers have cooled for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of each of the layers, then carefully remove to a wire rack.
  4. Use a toothpick to poke 20 to 30 holes in each cake layer—stick the toothpick only about halfway down into the cake.
  5. Brush the cake layers with the cake soak; you don’t have to use all of the liquid, just use as much as the cake will absorb. Allow the cake layers to cool to completely.

Champagne frosting

  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until very smooth, about 1 minute. With mixer set to low, gradually beat in 4 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar. Add 4 tablespoons of the champagne and the vanilla and salt.
  2. Turn mixer to medium speed and beat until frosting is very smooth. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar; it it’s too thick add additional champagne.

Assembly

  1. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle and spread with a thick layer of frosting. Top with a second layer and frost the cake with the remaining frosting.
  2. Decorate as desired and serve.
  3. Uneaten cake can be stored, loosely covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge (covered) for up to 3 days. You can also freeze cake slices individually (wrap them tightly first with plastic wrap and/or foil) for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes

  • *You can substitute 3/4 cup whole milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir them together and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then you’re ready to use it.
  • **If you don’t like the flavor of raw alcohol you can substitute milk or cream for some or all of the champagne in the frosting.
  • If you only have 9-inch cake pans you can use those. Bake your cake layers for about 30 to 40 minutes (remember that your layers will be quite a bit thinner than the ones you see in the pictures).