Champagne makes me think of one thing: celebrations. Champagne is the traditional beverage to serve at any celebration: birthdays, weddings, retirements…you name it. We all know that life is unpredictable. That you make plans that ultimately get thrown out the window because…life. So it got me thinking about how celebrations might not need to be only for the big milestones in your life. Maybe sometimes you should celebrate that it’s Thursday. For your next celebration, of any kind, I would serve this Chocolate Champagne Cake.
This cake is hands-down one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. If you know me, you know how many cakes I’ve made, so this is saying something! I made it for no reason at all, really. I had a bottle of champagne, and I wanted to bake with it. What I ended up with was this: three layers of chocolate champagne cake with champagne Swiss meringue buttercream, all topped off with dark chocolate ganache.
This cake is heaven!
I made the cake for no reason, but as life would have it, it ended up being my birthday cake. The big 3-9! (Like for real 39, not like next year when I might be “39 again.”) 😉
I made this cake the day before my birthday, and had every intention of making another cake ON my birthday with all my favorite flavors. I realize that making two cakes on two consecutive days is outrageous, but it’s how I roll. Also, spending my birthday making a big ol’ cake sounds like fun to me.
This Chocolate Champagne Cake turned out way better than I ever imagined. The cake is moist and decadent and the champagne swiss meringue buttercream has the perfect amount of sweetness to complement it. And you’ll never see me turn my nose up at anything involving dark chocolate ganache!
So, I didn’t get to make the cake that I had planned for my birthday. But, as luck would have it, I already had a celebration cake! I had just started the celebration a little earlier than I had intended. And how could that be a bad thing? Maybe from now on I’ll celebrate the whole week. 😀
A few notes on ingredients:
– If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a quick substitution with milk and vinegar or lemon juice. Check out the recipe notes for the deets.
– I highly recommend this (sometimes overlooked) extract! It lends an amazing depth of flavor to chocolate baked goods! If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can find some [here]. Even better, makes yourself some [Homemade Chocolate Extract] for next time!
– The cake recipe uses hot coffee, but the cake won’t taste like coffee, I swear! The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, and I highly recommend it! If you would prefer not to, you can use hot water instead.
A few notes on hardware:
– To ensure I have the same amount of batter in each pan, I use my kitchen scale (link [here]) and weigh the pans. It’s hard to eyeball the amount when you’re using three pans, especially if you don’t have three and you’re baking the cake layers individually.
– Cake strips are helpful to help ensure your cake layers bake up with a flatter top, so you cut less cake away when you level the cakes. If you’re looking for some, you can find them [here].
I hope you find a reason to celebrate with this cake soon, even if there is no “official” cause for celebration! Celebrate life, celebrate health, celebrate cake! <3
Other posts you may like:
Chocolate Champagne Cake
Chocolate Champagne Cake:
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (see note)
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp chocolate extract (see note)
- 1/2 cup champagne/sparkling wine
- 1/2 cup coffee, hot (see note)
Champagne Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- 1 cup champagne/sparkling wine
- 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 egg whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature (6 sticks)
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
- 3 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 60% cacao)
- 3 oz heavy (whipping) cream (about 1/3 cup +1 Tbsp)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans (see note) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, buttermilk (see note), oil, vanilla extract, and chocolate extract (see note). Mix to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients gradually, mixing until just combined.
- Add champagne and coffee (see note). Mix until smooth.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans (see note on weighing batter). If desired, affix wet cake strips to the pans (see note).
- Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are set and no longer wiggle. Allow cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Pour champagne into a small saucepan. Over medium-high heat, reduce champagne to about 1/4 cup in volume. Reduction will be syrupy. Allow to cool completely.
- Put egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine water and 1 cup sugar. Stir to moisten sugar, but do not stir after that (see note). Warm over low heat until sugar dissolves. Once sugar is dissolved, increase heat to medium-high. Cook until syrup reaches 246F-250F.
- When syrup reaches 240F, begin beating the egg whites using the whisk attachment. Once frothy, add cream of tartar and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.The goal is for the egg whites to reach stiff peaks at the same time the syrup reaches temperature. If the egg whites are done early, let the mixer run on low speed until the syrup comes to temperature
- Once syrup is to temperature, remove from the heat. With the mixer running on low speed, carefully pour the syrup into the egg whites in a slow, steady stream (see note).
- Beat mixture on medium-high until the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch. Then add butter, 2-3 tablespoons at a time, allowing the butter to incorporate completely after each addition.
- With mixer on low, drizzle in champagne reduction. Beat to combine. Frost cooled cake layers with the buttercream. Reserve some buttercream to pipe on top of the cake, if desired. Chill frosted cake to prepare for the ganache.
- Combine chocolate and cream in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave on 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until ganache is smooth.
- While still warm and pourable, pour over the top of the cake, spreading the ganache with an offset spatula and allowing the ganache to drip down the sides, if desired.
- After ganache has set, pipe reserved buttercream on top of ganache, if desired.Enjoy!