This is a cake worthy of any special occasion or celebration! Whether for an engagement or wedding, NYE party or birthday celebration, this Toasted Sugar Champagne Cake is sure to make a hit. Soft, fluffy cake is flavored with champagne baked into the cake batter, and toasted sugar adds lovely notes of caramel. The cake is frosted with silky champagne buttercream, and decorated prettily with gold sugar pearls and French macarons.
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What is Toasted Sugar
Toasted sugar is plain granulated sugar that’s been heated slowly, allowing the sugar to deepen in flavor and color, without turning into liquid caramel. It develops a richer flavor with notes of caramel, but can still be used in recipes exactly like granulated sugar, since it retains its crystalline properties. To make the toasted sugar, I followed a recipe from Serious Eats. Since it takes a while, I wanted to make it worth my time, so I toasted about 5-6 cups of sugar to keep on hand.
So, this isn’t the first toasted sugar cake I’ve made. Last month I posted the recipe for a delicious Toasted Sugar Vanilla Cake, which was just incredible. It’s a soft, moist, butter-based vanilla cake, but with the caramel undertones from the toasted sugar, it has a richer flavor than a plain vanilla cake.
With plenty of toasted sugar left, I developed the recipe for this toasted sugar champagne cake. Not only do the flavors perfectly complement each other, but the play on words is so fun. Since we make toasts with glasses of champagne, what’s more fitting than a Toasted Sugar Champagne Cake?
How to Make Toasted Sugar Champagne Cake
This is such an easy cake to make! Sift together the dry ingredients, whisk in the liquid ingredients, and bake.
Cake Flour. Cake flour has a lower percentage of protein than all-purpose flour, so it makes a very light and fluffy cake. For best results, please use cake flour.
Toasted Sugar. Find the complete process for making toasted sugar over here at Serious Eats. However, plain granulated sugar can be used in this cake, and it will still be a fantastic champagne cake.
Baking Powder. I use baking powder, rather than baking soda, to leaven this cake. It rises beautifully, with a light, airy cake crumb.
Coarse Kosher Salt. A little salt should be in every cake recipe. It balances the sugar and enhances the flavors.
Champagne. Besides the toasted sugar, the champagne is our star ingredient. You don’t need an expensive champagne, just get one that you like to drink. Pink champagne would be wonderful, too! I use a full 1 1/2 cups of champagne in the cake batter, and the bubbles make such a light cake.
Vegetable Oil. The oil keeps the cake so moist and light.
Eggs. Eggs give the cake structure and richness.
Vanilla Extract. A little vanilla nicely complements the flavors of the champagne and toasted sugar.
How to Make Champagne Buttercream
Between the cake and the buttercream, this toasted sugar champagne cake has three cups of champagne in it! The alcohol cooks off while the cake is baking, leaving behind just the flavor, which is complemented by silky, fluffy champagne buttercream.
Now, you may be wondering how to use 1 1/2 cups of champagne in buttercream without turning it into a soupy mess? The answer is to make a champagne reduction. All you need to do is simmer the champagne on the stove over medium heat, letting the water evaporate and the alcohol cook off. Once the champagne is reduced (I reduced mine from 1 1/2 cups down to just 1/3 cup), you’ll have a lovely syrup with a concentrated champagne flavor. After the syrup cools, you can add your champagne reduction to your buttercream.
If you love champagne, you’ll love this Toasted Sugar Champagne Cake!
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Toasted Sugar Champagne Cake
- Stand Mixer
- 2 ¾ cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 ½ cups toasted sugar
- 3 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups champagne
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups champagne, reduced to about 1/3 cup
- 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp meringue powder (optional)
- ⅛ tsp coarse Kosher salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350, and grease three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Add the champagne, oil, eggs and vanilla, and whisk for about 30-40 seconds until smooth and well combined.
- Divide the batter between the pans. Bake on the center oven rack until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes.
- Set the pans on a wire cooling rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely before frosting.
- For the champagne reduction, pour the champagne into a saucepan and set over medium heat. Simmer until the champagne is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Cool completely to room temperature.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for one minute.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, the meringue powder, salt and vanilla. It will be clumpy. Add the cooled champagne reduction.
- Increase the speed to medium, and whip for 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl several times, until very light and fluffy. If needed for desired consistency, add 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream.
- Stack, fill and frost the cooled cakes with the buttercream.