This pink champagne cake is pretty perfect for Galentine’s Day, if I do say so myself. But who am I kidding? I’d eat a piece of this cake, which has bubbly in both the batter and the frosting, any day of the week. The cake is light and delicate, the frosting is sweet but, thanks to the champagne, not too sweet, and it tastes as good as it looks.
I love making layer cakes. Don’t get me wrong; when I’m making one there is always at least one moment where I want to throw in the towel, like when I realize only after I’m done baking them that one of my cake pans is a tiny bit smaller than the rest. Or the time I realized I didn’t have enough frosting to get all around a cake and didn’t have any butter left in the house. But those moments pass, especially because, when a cake tastes as good as this one, a few imperfections don’t really matter. It’s all about the labor of love.
When I came up with the idea for this cake, I was thinking of Valentine’s Day. I wanted something pink to fit with the season, but I also knew that I would never make a huge layer cake just for me and my husband. But Galentine’s Day, that Leslie Knope-created celebration of female friendship? That is most definitely a holiday where a pink champagne cake would fit right in.
Pink champagne is so fun and festive, I wanted a cake to match it’s bubbly personality. The champagne in the cake batter gives it a hint of champagne flavor without weighing down this otherwise light and rich cake. And by putting it in the frosting, you get more of that delicious champagne taste and a guarantee that the frosting won’t be too sweet. I added just a drop of light pink gel food coloring to the frosting to give the cake an extra festive look, but it would still taste just as delicious without it.
If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll notice that I don’t have any prep pictures for this recipe. Honestly, it was because I had a crazy week and ended up baking the cake layers at night after my kids went to bed, when the light is not great for photos. Do you guys like having the step-by-step photos to go along with the recipe? Sound off in the comments if you feel strongly one way or the other!
- 6 egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups cake flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 ¼ cup rosé or pink champagne
- 4 sticks butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ rosé or pink champagne
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter three 9" cake pans, fit each with a circle of parchment paper, and butter the parchment paper.
- Whip egg whites in a separate bowl until they are glossy and form stiff peaks. Set aside.
- Sift the cake flour, salt, and baking powder together and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add in half of the dry ingredients, followed by the sour cream and rose, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix on the lowest speed only until combined. Add in the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula until no white streaks remain, being careful not to overmix the batter.
- Pour the batter into the cake pans one cup at a time, trying to divide the batter between the three pans as evenly as possible.
- Bake cakes for 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for five minutes.
- To transfer the cakes to wire racks, invert a plate onto the to of a cake pan, then flip the pan over so that the cake is upside down on the plate. Place the cooling rack onto the cake, then flip it over again so that the cake is right side up on the cooling rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter with a handheld mixer until the butter is light and smooth. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, making sure all of the sugar is incorporated before adding the next cup. Add in the pink champagne and beat until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
- To assemble the cake, place one layer onto a cake stand. Place about ¾ cup of frosting on the middle of the layer and smooth it out with an offset spatula. Repeat with the next two cake layers, spreading frosting onto the top.
- If you want to frost the sides of the cake, use the offset spatula to place frosting around the cake. Use a bench scraper to smooth the frosting out, then wipe the spatula clean and use it to smooth the top and edges. Serve and enjoy!