Cranberry Champagne Cake

By Susan Palmer

A Champagne scented cake is filled with tart cranberry curd and layered with Champagne butter cream, plus a topping of sparkling sugared cranberries for a dazzling cake that’s sure to take center stage at your holiday table. 

  • Yield: 10-12 people
  • Prep: Prep time: 1 hour minutes Non active prep time: 10 hours
  • Cook: 15 minutes (cake) + 15 minutes for filling and sugared cranberries
  • Course: Dessert

All you need for this recipe and more...


For the cake:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups cane sugar
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Champagne or Prosecco
  • ¼ cup whole milk

For the cranberry curd filling:

  • 1 – 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted cold butter

For the Champagne butter cream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup Champagne or Prosecco
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

For the sugared cranberries:

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups cane sugar + 1 cup additional
  • 1 – 12 ounce bag cranberries


1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. and line the bottom of  2 9-inch Circulon® Chocolate round cake pans with parchment paper (if you have a third pan, line that as well, otherwise you will bake the third layer at a later point). 


2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until they reach medium peaks and transfer to a medium clean bowl. 


3. Return the bowl to your mixer, no need to clean it out, add the paddle attachment and add the butter and sugar and cream on medium until light and airy about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract and beat for another minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.


4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest. 


5. Mix in half the flour, then half the Champagne, the remaining flour, Champagne and milk.  Scraping down the sides as needed. 


6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a rubber spatula, gently fold in the egg whites, trying not to deflate them too much.  


7. Pour 1/3 of the batter between the cake pans (if you have a kitchen scale, it comes to 17 ounces per pan).  If you just have two cake pans, bake the first two for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick insert comes out clean. 


8. Let cool for 15 minutes before carefully removing to a wire rack to finish cooling and bake the remaining amount of batter. 


9. The cakes can be baked 1-2 days ahead of time and just wrap each cooled layer in plastic wrap. 


10. To make the cranberry curd filling, in a large Circulon® Momentum saucepan over medium heat bring the cranberries and water to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries start to pop and soften.  Stir often, breaking up the cranberries.  You want the consistency of a cranberry sauce. 


11. Remove from the heat and pour the sauce into a fine mesh sieve over a medium saucepan.  Discard the solids from the sieve and scrape the bottom to get out all the cranberry sauce.   Turn the heat to medium and add the sugar.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. 


12. Very slowly whisk in the egg yolks and cook for 5-7 minutes, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.  The curd should begin to thicken up at this point.  


13. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until completely melted. 


14. Pour the curd through a fine mesh sieve into an airtight container and let cool to room temperature before placing the refrigerator to chill overnight.


15. To make the sugared cranberries, in a large saucepan over medium heat bring the sugar and water to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.  


16. Add the cranberries and cook in the syrup for 1 minute.  You want to make sure the cranberries do not begin to pop. 


17. Transfer to a large container and weigh the cranberries down with a plate.  Let cool before placing in the refrigerator overnight to soak. 


18. The next day, remove the cranberries from the syrup (the cranberry flavor simple syrup can be saved and used in drinks or given away as gifts) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Toss with 1 cup of cane sugar and let air dry for 2 hours. 


19. Building the cake:  Make the butter cream by combing the butter and confectioners sugar in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Cream on medium until the butter is broken up and then add the Champagne and vanilla.  Turn the mixer to medium high and continue to beat until the butter cream has a light, airy and smooth texture.  Add about half the butter cream to a large pastry bag fitted with a round tip. 


20. Using a serrated knife, level off the top of each cake layer by gently rotating the cake as you cut through the top.  


21. Place a small amount of butter cream on your cake stand and lay the first layer on top.   Pipe a thick border on the outside ring on top of the first layer, creating a damn for the cranberry curd.  Spoon in enough to fill the center of the cake. 


22. Top with the next layer and repeat and then top with the final layer of cake, pressing down slightly on the cake to secure the layers.


23. Using an offset spatula add the remaining amount of butter cream on the top of the cake and just a tiny bit on the sides for a nearly naked cake cook. 


24. Top the cake with the sugared cranberries and decorate the bottom with them as well. 


25. Serve the cake with the extra cranberry curd on the side. 


26. Cake is best served at room temperature but should be refrigerated if not serving within a few hours of completion.