Let Her Eat Cake – Vanilla Bean Cake With Pink Champagne Buttercream

Our daughter is turning 21 this weekend!  I don’t know how that could be because I swear it was only yesterday she was born.

Jessica Kelley

I wanted to make her a special cake for such a significant birthday so decided on an ombre rose cake.  From the minute I saw it, I knew it was the perfect cake for her.  She has always been all about pink and ruffles and frilly things.  I also thought it would be fun to use champagne frosting for such a special occasion.

This cake was so much fun to make and actually not that difficult.  It was a bit of a labor of love due to time, but that is perfect, because we love her a lot!  And it was a lot easier than the other kind of labor that brought her into this world! 🙂 I used my Vanilla Bean Cupcake Recipe (a couple of box mixes would work fine too) and frosted the whole thing with a crumb coat of Champagne Buttercream going a little heavier with the frosting between the layers.

Just make sure you pick out a champagne that you like the taste of and is on the sweeter side.   Due to boiling the champagne to concentrate the flavors, the frosting ends up tasting like the undertones of the champagne.  I used a pink champagne that had undertones of berry flavor, so when added to the frosting, it gave a bit of a tart/sweet berry flavor to it.  This frosting worked out great because it made enough to cover the whole cake, and in between the layers, and was so fluffy and spreadable.  I can’t wait to try it again sometime, and experiment with other champagnes.


The roses are made out of Perfect Crusting Buttercream.  I normally hate to use a recipe that calls for shortening, but I was worried that in the Arizona heat, the roses would just melt right off of the cake and slide down the sides.

It tastes more like the kind of frosting you would get on a store-bought cake.  The roses are not real roses, but just basically piping a swirl counterclockwise.  You start at the center point, and swirl around that point counterclockwise a couple of times ending at the top.  You really don’t even have to be that neat about it, as the next rose will cover the ending point of the rose beneath it.

Then start your next rose about 3/4 of an inch from the edge of the last rose.   I Am Baker, the one who first made this type of cake, has a great tutorial on her site that really helped me.

You can see I didn’t quite leave enough room for some of the roses on the last row.  But once you get everything done, it really doesn’t matter.  You don’t notice each individual rose as much.  It is the overall effect you are going for.  Or at least that is what I told myself!

I think you  could use this recipe for so many special occasions.  All you have to do is swap out the colors depending on the event. You could even use the Champagne Buttercream to frost cupcakes.  I hope Jessica likes her cake.  I wanted her to know how special she is to us, and commemorate her becoming an adult.  Being that she is our youngest, it really seems strange that she could already be 21.  Especially when every time I look at her, this is what I see, and I always will.

1999 03 19 jessica w flower (2)autocorrectcropped

Happy Birthday, Jessica!

Vanilla Bean Cake With Champagne Buttercream

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate due to time
  • Print

  • 2 batches of Vanilla Bean Cupcake recipe (click on link) or 2 boxed cake mixes split evenly into 3 (8-inch) cake pans
  • 1 recipe Champagne Buttercream (see below)
  • 1 recipe Perfect Crusting Vanilla Buttercream (see below)

For the  Pink Champagne Buttercream:

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c shortening
  • 6 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 c sweet pink champagne (I used Korbel Sweet Rose – use one you like the taste of)
  • 3 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  • 1-3 tsp. heavy whipping cream (I used 3)
  • red food coloring (optional)
  1. Place 1 c of pink champagne in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Simmer until reduced to about 1/4 of a cup.  Transfer to a small bowl or cup and allow to cool completely.  Reducing the champagne down will enhance the flavors.
  2. Beat butter and shortening in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add vanilla and food coloring if desired and beat to incorporate.
  4. With mixer on low, slowly add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until well-blended after each addition, frequently scraping sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. Add cream, salt, and reduced champagne.
  6. Once incorporated, whip frosting for at least 3-5 minutes on medium-high to  high until light and fluffy.
  7. If frosting is too thick to spread, gradually beat in additional cream or champagne (reduced or not) until you reach the desired consistency.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, slightly adapted from Tidymom

For the Perfect Crusting Buttercream:

  • 1 (2 lb.) bag powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 c shortening (Crisco recommended)
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract (use clear if want white frosting)
  • 1/2 c to 3/4 c whole milk
  • pink food coloring (I used Wilton Pink)
  1. Cream shortening and vanilla in mixer for 2-4 minutes.
  2. Add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  If you find your mixer struggling, slowly add in milk.  Use more milk for a creamy consistency, use less milk for a stiff consistency.

To Assemble Cake:

  1. Level 2 of the 3 cake layers so they are flat with a serrated, long sharp knife.
  2. Place first layer on plate.  Frost with Champagne Buttercream using a thin coat on the sides, and about a 1/4 inch layer of frosting in between layers and a 1/2 inch layer on top.
  3. Place about 1/4 of the amount of Crusting Buttercream in a bowl, and tint with Wilton Pink Food Coloring.  Place in a piping bag with a medium size star tip (844).  Pipe roses around the first row closest to the plate by starting in the center of the rose, and swirling first left, then counterclockwise twice.  Make sure the size of your roses is the size of each layer.
  4. After finishing the first layer of roses, place another 1/4 cup of Crusting Buttercream in a bowl, and add a slightly lesser amount of food coloring than in the first bowl.  Place in clean piping bag with a medium star tip (844), and pipe roses above each rose in the first row.
  5. After finishing the second layer of roses, place the rest of the white frosting in a clean piping bag with a medium star tip, and pipe roses above the roses in the second row.
  6. Fill in the top of the cake with more white roses.
  7. Let sit in the freezer about an hour, then wrap the cake with plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.  Be sure to allow enough time for the cake to defrost in the freezer or soften if in the refrigerator before serving.
  8. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally from I Am Baker








About Shari

My name is Shari, and I am an Arizona native and married mother of 3 who loves to cook and bake and figure out how to garden successfully in our suburban home in the desert. On this blog you will find a combination of savory and sweet recipes that have been tested by me, along with many tips to help you be successful. I hope you enjoy them! (cookazido.com)
This entry was posted in Cakes, Cupcakes, Mother's Day, Party Recipes, Recipes, Wedding Reception Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Let Her Eat Cake – Vanilla Bean Cake With Pink Champagne Buttercream

  1. TidyMom says:

    what a perfect cake for a 21st birthday! It turned out beautiful.

    • Shari says:

      Thank you so much, Cheryl! I was so glad to find the recipe for Champagne Buttercream on your site. It is delicious! I have followed your blog for quite awhile now, and really enjoy it. In fact, it was one of the blogs that inspired me to start my own blog. I really appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your beautiful daughter. I always say how in the heck do they get older when I don’t? That is until I walk by a mirror. Arghhhh. Your cake is just beautiful and perfect for her 21st or for anyone special enough to get on that list.

    • Shari says:

      Thanks so much, Julie! Sadly, I know what you mean about not thinking I am getting older until I walk by a mirror! 😦 I had a lot of fun making this cake for her. It really wasn’t that hard. Just a little time consuming. I hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter, and what a gorgeous cake. I have yet to try making the rose cake and think it’s stunning. I am also a fan of ombre and love pink. Well done!!

  4. Happy Birthday to your daughter! She is so pretty – she has beautiful eyes! I’m sure she knows how much she means to you! The cake looks a-ma-zing!

  5. Teresa says:

    This looks so beautiful, Shari.

    • Shari says:

      Thanks a lot, Teresa! I had a great time making it. In fact, I would love to do another one soon so I can incorporate everything I learned doing this one. I appreciate you stopping by!

  6. What a stunning cake! Happy 21st birthday to your daughter 🙂

  7. Your cake is gorgeous, Shari and Happy Birthday to your daughter! 🙂

  8. nancyc says:

    What a special, beautiful cake for such a special birthday!

    • Shari says:

      Thank you so much! I enjoyed baking something a little different for such a significant birthday. I still can’t believe she is 21! Have a great week, Nancy!

  9. CakePants says:

    Happy birthday to your daughter! What a stunning cake – I love the roses and the ombre effect!

    • Shari says:

      Thank you very much! The roses are so easy to do as they are not the real kind of roses. The inside was ombre, too, but I didn’t get a good picture because we were at a restaurant, and it was pretty dark. I appreciate you stopping by!

  10. This is a perfect Becoming-An-Adult cake: pink roses, buttercream and champagne. What could be better? This gorgeous cake does look a bit labour intensive, but well worth the effort! I love the ombre effect!

    I hope it was a joyous celebration. 🙂

    • Shari says:

      Thanks a lot, Ruth! It is a little time consuming, but you are so right, worth the effort. I think she liked it. We went to one of her favorite restaurants, and they brought the cake out with sparkler candles so that was fun. I hope you have a great week!

  11. thehungrymum says:

    hip hip hooray! What a stunning cake, perfect for such a significant birthday.

  12. Your daughter is really pretty! I wish I was as talented as you are..! The cake is amazing and I bet it was too delicious!! 😍😊

    • Shari says:

      Thank you! I really am not talented when it comes to cake. It was the tutorial that helped me be able to do this. I was very happy with how it tasted. Every once in awhile it is fun to try something out of my comfort zone. I hope you have a great week, and thanks for stopping by!

  13. I honestly have never seen a more beautiful cake! Also a lovely post! Happy bday to your daughter!

  14. Shari, I cannot even imagine you having a 21 year old daughter! You look 21 yourself! What an amazing cake to celebrate her birthday . . . so professional! I’d be a mess with all of those piped roses! Just amazing!

    • Shari says:

      Thank you so much, Roz! I think if I can pipe those roses, anyone can. If you’ve ever used a piping bag, you could do it. It’s just a matter of going around in a circle. But I really appreciate your comment, and your kind words about my age. I still feel 21 anyway! 🙂

  15. I love you mama thanks for the beautiful cake, and thanks for all of the birthday wishes everyone!

  16. Claire says:

    Happy birthday to your daughter! And what a stunning cake – it looks almost too good to eat. ALMOST. 😉

  17. My daughter Molly (the Baker) also just turned 21 (on August 31). She is away at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, but I can’t wait to show her this. I’m the savory foods chef in the family, but she is the baker. She loves new ideas for buttercream frosting.

    • Shari says:

      What a coincidence about their birthdays! And so nice for you to have a baker in the family. I’m a little jealous of her going to a culinary institute. I would love that. I am happy to have you pass along this recipe for buttercream. It was so different from anything I had tasted, but I liked it a lot. Thanks so much for leaving a comment, Vicki!

  18. Pingback: Let Her Eat Cake – Vanilla Bean Cake With Pink Champagne Buttercream | vickidelbrouck

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