This strawberry champagne cake is the perfect flavor for Valentine’s Day, wedding showers, birthdays and celebrations. It has layers of moist and tender champagne flavored cake with sweet strawberry frosting.
If you’re looking for a beautiful cake that’s a little different and perfect for celebrations – then this strawberry champagne cake is the recipe for you. It’s a vanilla cake where some of the milk is replaced with champagne (or your favorite sparkling wine) to give a unique flavor that definitely tastes of champagne, but isn’t too strong. Then it’s frosted with my favorite strawberry frosting that’s made with real berries.
Strawberries and champagne pair together perfectly, and this cake has everything you love about the flavor combo in a beautiful cake.
For the Champagne Cake
The recipe is essentially a white cake infused with sparkling wine. White cake is a version of vanilla cake made with only egg whites to give the cake a more delicate flavor and a paler color. I like using white cake for any flavored cake because you don’t have the richness of the egg yolks interfering.
The recipe also uses cake flour for a finer, more delicate cake crumb. I’ve also included a substitution in the recipe using all-purpose flour and cornstarch if you’re in a pinch.
Choosing Your Champagne
Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy a fancy bottle of champagne for this recipe. However, you want to choose something that you truly enjoy drinking because the flavor really comes through. Feel free to use champagne, prosecco or another sparkling wine. I actually prefer something a little sweeter for this recipe, because sweeter champagnes tend to have a more fruity flavor – which I prefer with desserts and berries.
For the Strawberry Frosting
This recipe is my absolute favorite because it’s made with real berries so there’s nothing artificial about the strawberry flavor. It does take a few extra steps though. You’ll first core the berries, then pulse in a blender or food processor to make strawberry puree. You can strain the seeds out of the puree with a metal sieve, but this step is optional.
Then boil down down the puree while gently stirring. This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes – depending on how much liquid is in your berries. It will definitely take longer if using frozen berries. When you’re done, it should look like thick jam. This step is necessary to concentrate the strawberry flavor. It will need to cool fully. From there – making the frosting is the same as any American-style buttercream. Below, you can see the difference in the strawberry puree before and after it’s been boiled down.
Baking Tips & Tricks
- The butter, eggs, milk and champagne/sparkling wine should all be room temperature before getting started.
- Sift the cake flour to ensure there are no lumps.
- After boiling down the strawberry puree, ensure that it’s cooled completely before making the frosting. If it’s even slightly warm it will melt the butter and the frosting can separate.
- If the tops of your cake are rounded, gently saw off the domed tops using a serrated knife or a cake leveler. This helps the cake stack properly.
- The frosting recipe is enough to frost a 2-layer cake with a little frosting leftover, or a 3 layer cake (I’ve included cake pan size alternatives in the recipe notes). I like to include a little extra frosting in case anyone wants extra for piping rosettes or decorations on the cake.
- If you want to make the cake straight through from start to finish (instead of making the cake layers the day before and the frosting when you plan to serve it), I recommend reducing the strawberry puree first and letting it cool as you make the cake layers. ie – Do steps 1-5 of the frosting, then let it cool as you make the cake layers.
For a Pink Champagne Cake
For pink cake layers, use a pink sparkling wine instead of champagne or prosecco. Then add a few drops of red food coloring into the cake batter.
Tender, moist and with a delicious champagne flavor – this strawberry champagne cake is perfect for celebrations. The strawberry frosting is bursting with real strawberries and makes for one beautiful cake for Valentine’s Day, bridal showers, birthdays and more.
More Desserts for Celebrations:
Strawberry Champagne Cake
- 2 8-inch round cake pans ensure they have high sides (about 2 inches)
- 3 cups cake flour (360 grams) sifted
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup whole milk (60 ml) 2% works too - I wouldn't recommend skim milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (30 ml) or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 ml)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (168 grams) softened to room temperature, but not starting to melt
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 cup champagne (240 ml) or sparkling wine of your choice
- 1 lb strawberries (454 grams)
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter (339 grams) room temperature
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar (550 - 660 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2-5 tablespoons whipping cream (30-75 ml)
- Preheat the oven to 335F (170C or 160C in a fan forced oven).
- Line the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides. **Cake pans should have high sides (about 2 inches). See recipe notes for pan size alternatives.
- Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk a few times. Set aside.
- Stir together the milk, oil and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
- In a very large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3-5 minutes).
- Beat in the egg whites into the butter a little at a time, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides after each addition. I added mine in 3-4 additions.
- With the mixer on a low speed, beat about ⅓ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then mix in the milk mixture. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Beat in about ⅓ more of the flour mixture. I typically do a few stirs by hand first. Add in the champagne. First stir the batter a few times by hand, then mix with the electric mixer starting on a low speed.
- Beat in the last ⅓ of the flour mixture. Once everything is combined stop mixing.
- Pour the batter evenly in the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
- Bake in the preheated oven with both cake pans on the same rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick/cake tester comes out clean. You may start to see the cakes pulling away from the sides of the pan.
- Cool cakes in the pans for at least 10-15 minutes. Then gently invert onto a cooling rack to continue cooling. To cool more quickly, after inverting onto the cooling rack, wrap them tightly in plastic and pop in the freezer. Make sure to wrap them in plastic to keep the moisture in.
- Core the strawberries.
- Add the strawberries to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Optionally, pour the strawberry puree through a metal sieve to remove the seeds. You'll likely need to push it through with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula.
- Add the puree to a saucepan over low-medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil while stirring the mixture. It will start to thicken as the liquid boils off.
- Keep gently stirring the mixture as it boil. When it's done boiling, it should be a deep red color and be thick like jam. Remove from the heat and cool fully. You should have about ¼ cup (4 tablespoons).
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. Then beat in 2 cups powdered sugar, starting with the mixer on a low speed and gradually increasing the speed until the sugar in incorporated.
- Add in 3 tablespoons of the cooled, reduced strawberry puree and the salt. Beat to combine.
- Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of cream until the desired sweetness and thickness is reached. Beat in a little more strawberry puree if a stronger strawberry flavor is desired. Do not continue to add puree if the frosting is getting thin.
Assembling the Cake
- Ensure that the cake layers are fully cooled first. If the tops of the cakes are domed, use a cake leveler or serrated knife to gently saw off the rounded tops of each cake.
- Place 1 cake layer, bottom side up, on the plate or cake stand that you plan to serve the cake on.
- Frost the top with about ¼ - ⅓ of the frosting.
- Place the second cake layer on top, bottom side up.
- Frost the sides and top of the cake with swirls of frosting. If you notice that the cake crumbs are getting into the frosting, first frost the sides with a very thin layer of frosting and let it sit for about 30 minutes to firm up. Then frost the sides and top with swirls of frosting.
- Pan Sizes:
- two 8-inch round cake pans with high sides - 30-35 minutes
- three 8-inch round cake pans - 25-30 minutes
- two 9-inch round cake pans - 25-30 minutes
- Cake Flour: I highly recommend using cake flour if possible (it should not be self-raising). If you don't have cake flour, measure out 3 cups (375 grams all-purpose flour). Then remove 6 tablespoons of the flour and add in 6 tablespoons of cornstarch (AKA cornflour in Australia). Sift 3 times before using.
- Champagne: Choose a champagne or sparkling wine that you enjoy drinking. While I often opt for a drier champagne to pair with savory foods, I recommend something a little sweeter for this cake.
- Strawberries: Frozen strawberries work too - just make sure that they aren't packed in syrup. Frozen berries will take longer to boil down.
- Frosting: This recipe will make enough to frost a 2-layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake with a little leftover that can be used for piping rosettes or decorations on the cake. If frosting a 3-tier 8-inch cake, I don't think you'll have leftovers. If you only want a thin layer of frosting and are adamant on not having leftovers, then use:
- 14 ounces strawberries
- 1 ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 3-5 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2-4 tablespoons whipping cream
- Make Ahead Tips: Cake layers can be made 1 day in advanced. Cool fully then wrap tightly and place in an airtight container at room temperature. Strawberry puree can be boiled down and cooled fully (steps 1-5 of the frosting recipe). Then store in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. Make the frosting and assemble the cake overnight.
- Storage: Store cake covered at room temperature for up to 12 hours. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Let it sit on the counter to come to room temperature before enjoying. Unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped tightly in plastic, placed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 slice, assuming the cake is sliced into 12 equal-sized pieces and all the frosting is used.