Gluten Free Champagne Cake

Gluten Free Champagne Cake

Gluten free champagne cake. A light, fluffy yellow cake made with champagne in the batter, and a super easy 7-minute frosting. Try a nonalcoholic version with ginger ale, and share it with the kids.

Gluten free champagne cake. A light, fluffy yellow cake made with champagne in the batter, and a super easy 7-minute frosting. Try a nonalcoholic version with ginger ale, and share it with the kids!Okay, before you get all upset with me that I’m suggesting you feed champagne to your underage children with this gluten free champagne cake, you can easily make these kid-friendly by substituting ginger ale for the sparkling wine. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk champagne cake.

This recipe was requested by one lovely reader (we’re all looking at you Michelle Moses Beck!), who was tired of living with just the memory of her local bakery’s cake. She wanted something special and fancy to ring in the New Year.

So do I! And I’m betting that you do, too. Or you’re at least willing to play along.

Gluten Free Champagne Cake or Cupcakes

Since I had never heard of much less made champagne cake, I had only Michelle’s description to go by: a light and fluffy yellow cake, made with champagne. I made it as a small layer cake (topped with some toasted coconut, because I think it’s pretty), using ginger ale in place of sparkling wine, and it was fabulous.

The frosting on the cake is a 7-minute frosting, made with ginger ale (or sparkling wine) in place of water. So easy, and so delicious.

It’s almost like marshmallow fluff, but a bit thicker and glossier (and the egg whites are cooked to 160°F). Personally, I love love love it just like that.

Gluten Free Champagne Cake or Cupcakes

Then I made it as cupcakes (twice), made with sparkling wine. Even better, because sparkling wine just, well, tastes better than ginger ale. The frosting on the cupcakes is swiss meringue buttercream, which is just, basically, 7-minute frosting with butter beaten into it.

I used this post by Sweetapolita as my guide, as she’s just all up in the frosting business. She solved a lot of the mystery surrounding swiss meringue buttercream, and even has a nickname for it (“SMB” – so clever).

Gluten Free Champagne Cake or Cupcakes
The cake (or cupcake) batter is so light and fluffy, and I’m gonna have to insist that you follow the instructions to the letter (or as close are you’re willing to get to that – you know you hate being told what to do!). I tried more than one method (since I was making the whole thing up, ‘course), and following a method similar to the one I use to make gluten free sponge cake makes all the difference.

And, yes, you really do need to use a gum-free basic flour blend, and add just a bit of xanthan gum or the cake is kind of tough. If you just won’t do that, I can’t vouch for the results so don’t yell at me!

Gluten Free Champagne Cake or Cupcakes

These are some of the best yellow cupcakes I’ve ever had, in fact. Light and fluffy, and still really moist, these cupcakes are really something special to ring in the New Year. Read the whole recipe through and through, though, before you begin. Promise?

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 9-inch cake or 12 standard cupcakes


1 3/4 cup (245 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour (162 g superfine white rice flour + 54 g potato starch + 29 g tapioca starch/flour)

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 tablespoons (18 g) cornstarch (can’t have cornstarch? try arrowroot and let us know how it goes!)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

1 egg (60 g, out of shell), separated + 1 egg white, at room temperature

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup (5 1/3 fluid ounces) sparkling wine (can substitute ginger ale for an alcohol-free version)

1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 cup sparkling wine (can substitute ginger ale for an alcohol-free version)

5 egg whites (150 g total)

24 tablespoons (336 g) unsalted butter, cubed and kept cool (but not cold)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  • First, make the cake or cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 350°F. If making a cake, grease a 9-inch round baking pan and set it aside. If making cupcakes, grease or line the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the gum-free flour blend, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 3/4 cup (150 g) of the granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Set the bowl of dry ingredients aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the 2 egg whites and beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar, and beat again on medium speed until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Still using the whisk attachment, beat in the egg yolk and butter on medium speed. The mixture will be thick and the egg whites will deflate a bit, but the mixture will still be fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and the sparkling wine, alternating one and then the other, and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. The batter will be pale yellow and fluffy.

  • If making a cake, transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and spread and shake into an even layer. If making cupcakes, divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin tins (filling them about 3/4 of the way full). Place the cake or cupcakes in the center of the preheated oven and bake until pale golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 19 minutes for cupcakes, 25 minutes for a cake). Remove the cake or cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the cake or cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Clean the bowl of your stand mixer, place the sugar, cream of tartar, and sparkling wine and egg whites, and whisk to combine well. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl, making sure the tip of the thermometer is in the liquid and not on the bottom of the bowl or you will get an inaccurate reading. The bowl should be just above the simmering (but not boiling water) without touching it. Cook the sugar mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 160°F. Remove the bowl from the heat, and place it in the stand mixer. Beat, with the whisk attachment for about 7 minutes or until the mixture is white, glossy and thick (and about tripled in size). Right now, this is your 7-minute frosting, and it can be used as is to frost your cooled cake or cupcakes. If you would like to make swiss meringue buttercream, continue with the next step.

  • To make swiss meringue buttercream from your 7-minute frosting, once the side of the mixing bowl is cool to the touch on the outside of the bowl, switch to the paddle attachment and begin adding the cubed, cool butter while the mixer is on medium speed. Continue to beat until all of the butter is added and the mixture is silky smooth and thick. If the mixture looks curdled, continue to beat for a while longer until the butter is smooth (the “curdles” are actually butter that is too cold). If the mixture is runny, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and beat again. Add the salt, and beat to combine.

  • Frost the cake or cupcakes with the champagne frosting as desired, and serve.



P.S. Do you have your copy of Bakes Bread yet? Now that the holidays have (mostly) come and gone, it’s time to get that bread in the oven!

Comments are closed.

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  • Marian Salmon
    January 3, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    I made these last night with leftover sparkling wine from NYE and they were so fluffy and amazing! I got an “outstanding” from my 7 year old and a text from my stepdad that they were amazing (and I hadn’t told him they were gf so he couldn’t tell!). Thanks as always!

  • Debbie
    December 31, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    I’m confused….for the champagne cake you said to use a gum free blend, but you added xanthan gum to the recipe…..

    • December 31, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      As I explain in the post, Debbie, you need a gum free flour blend, and then you just add in a bit of xanthan gum. A blend that already contains xanthan gum would contain much more than the 1/4 teaspoon you add in the recipe.

  • Alex G
    December 31, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    I’m making these today for my NYE party and I am super excited! Quick question regarding the sparkling wine. What temperature would it be best at for going into the batter and the frosting? Thanks for your help and the recipe, they are going to be gorg!

  • Andy
    December 31, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Loved the champagne muffins, no icing needed when they are hot right out of the oven.

  • Sarah Chapman Bass
    December 31, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    Can I ask a silly question? If I did use sparkling wine to make these and then let my one year old have one… is that like terrible parenting? Does the alcohol cook off or will we be living the life after a couple of these? I’m not sure how that works!

    • December 31, 2013 at 8:54 AM

      Sarah, your is far from a silly question! I gave my kids both kinds – the ones with ginger ale, and the ones with sparkling wine. Most of the alcohol burns off (in the oven for the cake/cupcakes, and in the double boiler for the frosting), but I’m fine with the tiny little bit that may be left behind. I also give my kids risotto that I make with wine, as most of the alcohol burns off. If it’s terrible parenting, I’m 100% comfortable with that. I should have said that in the post itself. Let’s be terrible parents together!

  • Jennifer
    December 30, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Nicole, I bought your Quick and Easy cookbook solely for the cake mix section (of course I’ll also look at the rest of it). I have a question about the amount of each cake mix. Say I have a recipe that calls for 1 box cake mix…does one batch of your mix = 1 box or would I need to double your mix? Thanks. :)

    • Anneke
      December 30, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      One batch equals one box of a Betty Crocker GF mix, which is equal to one layer of a cake, or 12 cupcakes. I am not sure about a non-GF mix, however, haven’t made one of those in years! Hope that helps!

      • December 30, 2013 at 9:20 PM

        Thank you so much for jumping in, Anneke! She’s right, Jennifer! 1 recipe make-your-own mix = 1 box mix. :)

      • Jennifer
        December 30, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        Thanks so much, Anneke and Nicole. It definitely helps. I have a cake recipe I want to try to recreate gluten-free and rather than experiment I decided to turn to the expert for the cake mix part. :)

    • December 30, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      Jennifer, I just wanted to say something totally off-topic: You have been so, so helpful with your experiences with the bread book. You jumped right in, right away with both feet, and have willingly shared your experiences in a way that has been both helpful and (I’m sure) comforting to many other readers. I won’t forget it! And I announced on Facebook that I’m soliciting reader photos of their finished breads they have made from the bread book to do compilation blog post (in which I will also summarize the Facebook bread Q & As I did). I hope you’ll consider emailing me some photos of your bread from the book, so I can show them off to everyone!
      xoxo Nicole

      • Jennifer
        December 30, 2013 at 11:27 PM

        I sent you an email. My pics aren’t that great but I’ll be happy to share. :)

        I hope I didn’t annoy your readers jumping in every time I’d make something new. I truly just can’t tell you how happy the book made me this holiday season. This was my first Thanksgiving / Christmas as a Celiac and being able to channel what could have been a lot of sadness into fun bread baking was the best. :)

        • Jennifer S.
          December 31, 2013 at 12:26 PM

          I agree Jennifer – you are a rock star! :)

  • Robyn
    December 30, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Hi Nicole – Hoping you’re still online replying! Wanted to make this tonight but with the cold/snow in MN I’m not keen on heading to the store. I do however have Carol Fenster’s Sorghum/Potato Starch/Tapioca Starch mix on hand, as well as Namaste Food’s perfect flour blend. I think Fenster’s would possibly work OK – what do you think?

    • December 30, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      Hi, Robyn,
      I don’t know much about either of those blends, I’m afraid, but I do not recommend the blend that is made of sorghum flour. That isn’t a very light flour. If Namaste is similar to my basic, xanthan gum-free blend, I’d go with that, but since I’m not familiar with them, I can’t promise!

      • Robyn
        January 2, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        Hi Nicole, I went with the Namaste blend (white rice based, but it did have a little sorghum in it..) and it worked out very well! I think that if I used your blend it would have been more light, but they flew at the NYE party we brought them to and I was the only non-gluten eater. Picture proof too :)

  • Erika
    December 30, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    How many layers are in the cake in the picture? can the recipe be doubled for more layers or do the egg whites not appreciate that. ie. should each layer be mixed separately? Looks delicious!

    • December 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      Hi, Erika,
      The cake in the photo is actually a single recipe, but made in 5-inch round cake pans. You could either make a 9-inch round and slice it in half to frost in between once it’s cooled, or make two 5-inch cakes if you have 5-inch cake pans. I wouldn’t double the recipe as is, because of the egg white issue you mention. Just measure out the ingredients for two cakes, and prepare the batter for each one right after the other. You can definitely double the frosting, though.

  • Mel
    December 30, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Are you kidding? That cake (and cute cupcakes) looks amazing. And I think you win the award for coolest blogger ever for taking a reader’s request and running with it, especially for something as luxurious and fancy as this cake/cupcakes. Major love on this one.

    • December 30, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Right, Mel. Like you never do that! ;)

  • Margaret
    December 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    So I guess I can’t use Better Batter flour because it has xanthan gum in it already. Is that right? Both the cake and the cupcakes look so delicious and pretty!

    • December 30, 2013 at 5:57 PM

      That’s right, Margaret! I tried using it, and the cake turned out pretty dense. Sorry!

  • Mare Masterson
    December 30, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Can you use sparkling cider instead of ginger ale or sparkling wine?

    • Jennifer S.
      December 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      I was thinking the same thing Mare – I bet you could.

    • December 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      I haven’t tried that, Mare, and it would probably be fine, but honestly I’m not sure I’d love the taste. Worth a shot, though!

    • Jennifer S.
      December 31, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      I just got some sparkling cider/cranberry this morning for the kids New years eve festivities – if I used that these would be awesome PINK! love that! good golly – now I might have to just make these today…

  • Michelle
    December 30, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Thank you so much!! I can’t wait to make my own! I love the coconut on top- much better than the white chocolate Smith’s uses, (the only part of the cake I would try to pick off) so thank you for improving the recipe! The sparkles on the cupcakes are really pretty, too. I have been feeling sorry for myself since I went to a birthday party a couple of months ago, and everyone enjoyed their slice while I looked on enviously.

    • Michelle
      December 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      Oh, and I LOVE Swiss meringue buttercream.

  • Nicole
    December 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    I am so excited to see this recipe!! Question, can I use my King Arthur’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour? My sisters and I are throwing a 25th anniversary party for our parents this February, and there are about 8 celiacs coming. Including me…and guess what? The cake that is being made for the “normal” guests is going to be a champagne cake! So now I get to make a similar version for my gluten free guests. Yes baby!! Thank you!

    • Jennifer S.
      December 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Does it have xanthan gum in it? if so I wouldn’t as Nicole was pretty clear about it above.

      • Nicole
        December 30, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        No, It doesn’t have xanthan gum in it.

    • December 30, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      Hi, Nicole,
      I’m not a very big fan of King Arthur’s all purpose gluten free flour as it is very high in starch, but if you do decide to use it, I would recommend replacing the 18 grams of cornstarch in the recipe with more King Arthur Flour. You don’t want to add any more pure starch to that blend. I haven’t tested that flour in this cake, though, so I can’t promise anything! Maybe make a half recipe until you’re sure?

  • Jennifer S.
    December 30, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    I agree – you’ve outdone yourself on this one – the cake and cupcakes look and sound mouthwatering!!! We however continue to eat Baby Jesus cake!!

    Also – thank you Michelle for suggesting this recipe!!!

    • December 30, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      Thanks, Jennifer! Did you go with the Perfect Chocolate Birthday Cake with ganache glaze for your Baby Jesus cake?

      • Jennifer S.
        December 30, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        Nicole – for some reason I made your better batter devils food cake from the flour trials (on the blog) – it caught my eye one late night surfing your site – like I do often. I made a 9 inch round and split it in 1/2. I filled it with nutella cloud frosting, then crumb coated it with vanilla buttercream and THEN topped it of with a layer of ganache glaze that drizzled down the sides. My Dad had seconds and I’ve had a piece almost every day since. It is to die for.

        • Michelle
          December 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM

          That sounds amazing!

        • December 30, 2013 at 6:03 PM

          Love that cake, Jennifer! Great choice – especially all that frosting and glaze!!

      • Shruti Nath
        December 30, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        Sorry to butt in… But where does one find this perfect chocolate birthday cake you speak of?

        • December 30, 2013 at 6:03 PM

          It’s in my first cookbooks, Shruti. :)

    • Michelle
      December 30, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      You are welcome! People here go crazy for it- if you tell say you are serving champagne cake, strangers off the street will show up talking about how it is their favorite.

  • Mary - Gluten Free Spinner
    December 30, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Perfectly YUM! These look amazing Nicole…beautiful, fluffy, lovely.
    Can’t wait to try them.


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