I made two “retro” cakes last weekend. The first one — a “7UP Cake” from the 1950s — was so sweet it made my teeth ache. I swiped one slice before tossing the cake in the trash. Mercifully, the second subject — a 1960s-era “Pink Champagne Cake” — was pure bliss: moist, not-too-sweet, and pleasantly perfumed with blush sparkling wine and a hint of strawberry. In other words, it’s the kind of cake that belongs on your dessert (or breakfast) table! My semi-original recipe:
First, generously spray a large bundt pan with baking spray (baking spray contains flour). I sprayed the heck out of my Nordic Ware “Anniversary” pan. The pan is 10 1/2 inches wide, and 4 1/2 inches deep.
Next, ferociously whisk the following dry ingredients in a large bowl: 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon table salt.
Then fling 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter and 2 1/4 cups sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer, and beat them at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy — about 5 minutes.
No standing mixer for you? Use a large bowl and handheld electric beaters.
Then drop in 4 large eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
Now beat in 1 cup of sour cream…
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract…
And 1 teaspoon strawberry extract. Strawberry extract will amplify the perfume of the champagne.
Working at low speed now, add the flour in 3 additions…
Alternating with 1 cup of room-temperature pink (or blush) Champagne, beginning and ending with the flour.
What kind of pink Champagne? The cheap, “sparkling wine” stuff. The French number above cost me $8.99. I probably wouldn’t drink it, but I’m happy to use it for cake!
This next step is entirely up to you: beat in some pink or red food coloring. I used a generous squirt of Neon Pink gel, and it barely made my cake blush.
Did you know that pink Champagne isn’t actually pink? It’s amber. Consequently, “pink” Champagne offers only perfume, not color.
Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan, and, with the help of spatula, spread the batter UP the sides of the pan, away from the center. This way, the cake will have a more-level base (which just now is the top).
TRUE CONFESSION: I misunderstood the batter-spreading tip, and moved the batter from the sides of the pan towards the center. Don’t be like me.
Bake on the center rack of a preheated 350°F oven until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean — about 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely.
Oh. I forgot to mention that as the cake bakes, it will fill your kitchen with a guh-lorious Champagne-and-strawberry perfume. Heaven!
Now, because I spread my top batter in the wrong direction, the center baked higher than the sides. This is hardly a problem because…
When unmolded, the cake looked like it was floating in mid-air. Probably I should re-name this recipe “Levitating Pink Champagne Bundt Cake.”
In any event, when the cake is completely cool, mix up a simple glaze of sifted confectioners’ sugar, water, and vanilla extract. (I’ll post the exact measurements in the printable recipe below.)
Then do this…
Then cut yourself a generous slice…
And dive right into this moist and fragrant poetry. I certainly did.
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And if you’re looking for another great dessert that you can bake in a normal-size bundt pan, check out my easy-peasy Lemon and Rose Cake!
Here’s the printable:
Pink Champagne Bundt Cake
- A large-capacity bundt pan (10 1/2 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), generously sprayed with "baking" spray
The dry ingredients:
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
The wet ingredients
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon strawberry extract
- 1 cup pink Champagne OR Prosecco OR sparkling wine
- Optional: pink or red food coloring
- 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Center the oven rack; preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy -- about 5 minutes. At medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream, and the vanilla and strawberry extracts.
- At low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the Champagne, beginning and ending with the flour. At medium high speed, quickly beat in the (optional) food coloring.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter up against the sides, and away from the center (this encourages a level surface during baking). Bake until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean -- about 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, and the vanilla extract. Add more water as needed to achieve a thick but pourable glaze. Drizzle the glaze generously over the cake. Serve with coffee or Champagne!