CakeBooksWhat to CookThe Fall Cookbook Cake Parade

A Blushing, Slightly Tipsy Cake Kicks Off The Fall Cookbook Cake Parade!

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Welcome to The Fall Cookbook Cake Parade: a new cake from a new cookbook every day of October. Are your costumes cake pans ready?

First up: A pink cake full of bubbles that's got vintage written all over it.

Pink Champagne Cake
Pink Champagne Cake

The introduction to American Cake by Anne Byrn is subtitled simply "The History of Cake in America," and in it, Byrn explains that "cakes have become an icon of American culture and a window into understanding ourselves"—that they reflect our "lives, heritage, and hometowns." Cakes somehow evoke a time and a place, either in personal history or long before that.

This is very true when it comes to the Pink Champagne Cake, a mid-20th century creation, a bright, jazzy little number that screams vintage pillbox hats and fancy cocktail parties. Anne Byrn writes of this sparkling cake:

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.

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Pink Champagne Cake

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Serves 12


  • 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 cups (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
Go to Recipe

This recipe is adapted from the one originally shared in the Los Angeles Times and republished in American Cake by Anne Byrn.

See more of our Fall Cookbook Cake Parade

Tags: madonna inn, california, champagne