In 1960, women who frequented the nightclub scene sipped pink Champagne, or at least that’s what the gossip columnists said. In England, Princess Margaret was out sipping pink Champagne in the wee hours, and pink Champagne was the drink of choice of Hollywood starlets, too. Women’s clubs hosted pink Champagne luncheons on festive occasions. And when not poured into glasses, pink Champagne was a fashionable color of jewelry, even a shade of shag carpeting.
Johnson’s Model Bakery in Medford, Oregon, that same year baked a Christmas Pink Champagne Cake, and later variations popped up in Oregon and California. From the Yosemite Bakery in Modesto, California, to the Modern Cake Shop in Eureka, Kansas, where the cake was “filled with Bavarian champagne-flavored butter cream,” this cake was fun, fresh, and hip. It is still baked at McGavin’s Bakery in Bremerton, Washington, containing no Champagne, and at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California. The Los Angeles Times has said this cake is one of its most requested cake recipes of all time. It is just right for showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, and graduations.
This recipe is adapted from the one originally shared in the Los Angeles Times and republished in American Cake by Anne Byrn.
- Butter and flour for prepping the pans
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup pink Champagne, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Tiny amount of pink food coloring
Pink Champagne Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 3/4 cup (3 1⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 4 to 5 tablespoons pink Champagne
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Tiny amount of pink food coloring
- White chocolate shavings, sliced strawberries, coconut, or edible rose petals for garnish
- For the cake, place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch layer pans. Shake out the excess flour, and set the pans aside.
- Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl, and sift to combine well. Set aside.
- Place the egg whites, Champagne, vanilla, and oil in a large mixing bowl, and whisk by hand until well blended. Set aside.
- Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and light, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour mixture and the egg white mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in the pink coloring. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and place the pans in the oven.
- Bake until the cakes just pull back from the sides of the pans, 23 to 27 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven, and place them on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of each pan, give each cake a gentle shake, then invert it once and then again onto the rack to cool completely, right side up, 30 minutes.
- While the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl, and beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth, 1 minute. Add 6 cups of the confectioners’ sugar and the champagne and vanilla. Blend on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, adding what you need to make the frosting thick but spreadable. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high, add the pink coloring, and beat until the frosting is fluffy, 30 seconds.
- To assemble the cake, place 1 layer on a cake plate. Spread about 3⁄4 cup of the frosting to the edges. Place a second layer on top and repeat. Place the third layer on top, and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish as desired, depending on the occasion. Slice and serve.
[Photo via Food52]