Champagne Cake

Champagne Cake recipe

A traditional Champagne cake recipe includes Champagne in the cake batter in lieu of cream or water. The cake in this recipe isn’t made with Champagne, but the ganache is. Make this festive dessert shine for a New Year’s Eve or anniversary celebration by garnishing it with edible 23-karat gold décor.

Excerpted from Sweet by Valerie Gordon (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Image: by Peden and Munk.

Champagne Cake
Makes: Makes one 9-inch cake; serves 8 to 12
Batter for Golden Butter Cake:
  • 3 ¼ cups (16.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ¾ sticks (15 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup (2.66 ounces) crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
For the Cake:
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat the bottoms and sides of three 9-by-2-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray or butter and line with parchment circles.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, corn syrup and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche and vanilla in a small bowl, then pour the mixture into the creamed butter and beat until smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and the paddle and mix for 30 seconds. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape the bowl again and mix for 15 seconds.
  5. Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the cakes and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until the cakes appear firm and have a matte finish and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans on cooling racks.
  6. Run an offset spatula or a small knife around the sides of the cake pans. Invert the cakes onto cooling racks and peel off the parchment paper. Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the cake.
For the Assembly:
  1. Transfer one cake layer, top side down, to a serving plate. Using an offset spatula, spread about ¾ cup of ganache over the top. Place the second cake layer on top, top side down, and spread another layer of ganache over it. Place the last inverted cake layer on top. Using your hands, press down gently to even the layers.
  2. Using an offset spatula, smooth the “seams” of the cake. You want the ganache to completely fill the spaces between the layers; concave areas will be very noticeable under the glaze. Refrigerate the cake, uncovered, until very cold, about 2 hours.
  3. Set the chilled cake on a cooling rack and set the rack on a baking sheet to catch the glaze drippings. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, starting at the edges and then moving to the center. Pick up the rack and bang it against the baking sheet to even out the glaze. If you missed a spot or two, move the rack with the cake aside and, using a bench scraper, collect the glaze from the pan and pour it back into the measuring cup. Place the rack back on the baking sheet and pour the glaze over the bare spots.
  4. Allow the glaze to set completely, 10 to 15 minutes, before moving the cake. The glaze should be firm to the touch. Or, if your kitchen is warm, move the rack into the refrigerator until the glaze becomes firm, just a few minutes.
  5. Run a hot offset spatula under the bottom of the cake to release it from the rack and transfer to a serving plate.
  6. If you’d like to gild the lily, using a very small brush, lift a section of gold leaf off the sheet and gently lay it on the firm glaze. The gold will immediately stick to the glaze. Repeat with more gold leaf.
  1. The cake can be stored, in a cake box or under a cake dome, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (Wrapping the cake in plastic wrap would damage the glaze and the décor.)

7 Responses to Champagne Cake

  1. Rachel December 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Can’t wait to make this!!!! maybe for New Years!

    • Dede Wilson December 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

      That is a party I’d love to attend!

  2. vanillasugarblog December 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Gorgeous Dede!
    I might be tempted to give this a go!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Rachel December 15, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    Are he instructions for making the cake batter missing or am I just not seeing it ?

    • Dede Wilson December 16, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Both! Thanks for the eagle eye. The instructions are now there…and I got hungry reading them! Have you sourced your gold leaf yet?

  4. Rachel December 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    now I can see what I’m getting myself into…not yet, I’ll call the baking supply place on 22nd — though I don’t like the store that much, not very friendly or helpful. Any suggestions?

  5. Dina December 17, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    the cake is lovely and sounds delish too!

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