Vegan Champagne Buttercream (with Pink Champagne Cake)

Airy and light vegan pink champagne buttercream recipe that isn't overly sweet. Made using just 6 ingredients, it follows the Italian meringue buttercream method and is perfect for frosting vegan cupcakes, sheet cakes and layer cakes.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
5 from 4 votes
closeup of pink champagne italian meringue buttercream frosting.

Based on my popular vegan Italian meringue buttercream with a few tweaks, this vegan pink champagne frosting is light, airy and not overly sweet like standard American buttercream can sometimes be.

This recipe was a collaboration with my good friend Anthea from Rainbow Nourishments. Anthea is an incredible vegan baker and cake maker. Her work is of the highest standard, with her experience in the food industry and being a former cake business owner, she has nailed down how to make the fluffiest vegan cakes that rival their non-vegan counterparts.

Having trialled and tested my eggless Italian meringue buttercream endlessly, I knew it was time to develop new and exciting flavours to help take your vegan cake frosting to the next level. Anthea and I have been planning this recipe for a few months now but haven’t gotten around to putting it together until now! 

We wanted to create a versatile celebration cake that you could create for any special occasion. So here it is, our vegan pink champagne cake with champagne buttercream recipe. 

In this post I’m going to talk you through the ins and outs of getting that perfect vegan frosting nailed down, and you’ll be able to learn how to make the perfectly fluffy vegan pink champagne cake over on Anthea’s post.

vegan pink champagne cake with italian meringue buttercream.

This vegan champagne buttercream is: 

  • Perfect for special occasions such as New Year’s Eve, birthday parties, hen parties, Mother’s day, Valentine’s day or any time you feel like celebrating!
  • Light and airy
  • Not overly sweet like standard buttercream
  • Eggless and dairy-free
  • Made using only 6 ingredients (one of them being optional)
  • Subtlety flavoured with champagne and strawberries 
  • Oozing with sophistication 🙂
  • Suitable for frosting three tier cakes, cupcakes, layer cakes and sheet cakes
 
slice of vegan pink champagne layer cake.

 

Ingredients for vegan champagne frosting

  • Aquafaba: Otherwise known as chickpea brine. This is the liquid in which canned chickpeas is packaged with. You can also use the water from any white beans such as haricot or cannellini beans, just make sure they are unsalted.
  • Pink champagne: You can use pink or white champagne, prosecco or sparkling wine of your choice. To check if a brand of alcohol is vegan you can search it on barnivore.com.
  • Caster sugar: Also known as super fine sugar.
  • Vegan butter: There are many brands of vegan-friendly butter available these days, it’s important to note that this recipe calls for stick butter, not the spreadable kind from a tub, I use flora unsalted plant butter.
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are optional for this buttercream recipe. They add a subtle flavour and colour to the frosting. 
  • Cream of tartar: A form of tartaric acid, otherwise known as potassium bitartrate. This acid works as a stabiliser for the whipped aquafaba – giving a more stable and stiff end result.
 

ingredients to make vegan champagne frosting.

Step-by-step instructions (with images)

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)

How to reduce aquafaba (chickpea brine)

Prepare the aquafaba at least 2 hours in advance of making this recipe. You can also reduce the aquafaba a day or two in advance and store it in the fridge.

  1. Add the aquafaba saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer until it has reduced to half a cup in volume. After 5 minutes of simmering, check the volume by pouring the liquid into a measuring cup. If there’s more than half a cup of liquid continue to simmer until it reduces to the required half cup.
  2. Pour the reduced aquafaba into a jar and refrigerate. This can be done the night before or at least one hour in advance of making the recipe. The liquid will thicken and jellify once chilled – this is completely normal.

Make the champagne strawberry syrup

Again, this step should be done a couple hours in advance of making the buttercream, you can also prep ahead a day or two before and store it in the fridge.

  1. Add the pink champagne/prosecco or cava to a saucepan with 50g of super fine sugar and sliced strawberries and bring to a simmer. Cook on a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to quarter cup in volume.
  2. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the strawberry pieces and chill until ready to use.

Make the buttercream

  1. Add 200g of the caster sugar and water to a saucepan, gently stir and allow the mixture to sit for a minute until the sugar dissolves into a paste. Place the saucepan on a medium-high heat and allow the mixture to come to a simmer and bubble. DO NOT STIR throughout the entire process. Place your candy thermometer into the syrup and continue to simmer until the mixture reaches 120°C (248°F) – about 10-12 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile prepare the aquafaba. Take a large clean bowl, and make sure it’s completely dry and free of any grease. Add the aquafaba and cream of tartar to a large bowl and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes until soft peaks form.

  3. Slowly add in the remaining 50g of caster sugar, one dash at a time while continuing to whisk and incorporate the sugar into the aquafaba. Continue whisking for another 3 minutes.

  4. Once the sugar syrup has reached the correct temperature begin to add it to the whipped aquafaba. Slowly drizzle in a little at a time and continue to whisk until the mixture is incorporated. Be careful not to add the syrup too quickly as this could deflate your italian meringue. Whisk the meringue mixture for another 10-15 minutes until it has cooled to room temperature.

  5. Start slowly adding the chunks of butter to the meringue, one at a time, allowing the mixture to incorporate for about 5 seconds between each one. The mixture will flatten as you add the butter, just continue to add the butter as it will stiffen when the full amount of butter is incorporated. Once all the butter has been added the mixture be thick like buttercream, continue to whisk on low for 5 minutes.

  6. Add the reduced pink champagne one tablespoon at a time, whisking for about 30 second between each one to incorporate the liquid into the buttercream. Once all of the syrup has been incorporated continue whisking for 2 minutes.

Expert tips and FAQs

How to prep ahead

  • Reduce the aquafaba at least 2 hours in advance of making this vegan buttercream, the night before works as well. 
  • This buttercream is flavoured with a homemade champagne strawberry syrup. Be sure to make this a couple hours in advance also as it will need to be completely cool before adding to the buttercream. 
  • Measure out all of your ingredients in advance.
  • Make sure all of your equipment is ready. You will need a candy thermometer to make this recipe.
 

Storage instructions

For best results I recommend using this buttercream fresh. If you want to prep the buttercream the day before decorating your cake you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Let it soften slightly at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours before using. 

Do I need to reduce the aquafaba for this recipe?

I have trialled this meringue using both regular and reduced aquafaba and believe it or not, skipping this step means that the recipe will require about 100g more vegan butter in order to stabilise. So unless you are happy to add a lot more butter (which intensifies the butter flavour) I highly recommend reducing the aquafaba.

How to fix split or “soupy Italian meringue buttercream

I detail how to troubleshoot these problems in the FAQ section of my Italian meringue buttercream post.

vegan cake with champagne buttercream and pink meringue kisses.

Variations

  • Pink champagne: You can swap this out with regular champagne, prosecco, cava, or a sparking wine of your choice.
  • Beetroot powder: This buttercream has a very slight pastel peach tone to it, but if you would like to go for more of a coral colour, add a teaspoon of beetroot powder to the buttercream (like shown in Rainbow Nourishments photos)
 

How to use this vegan pink champagne frosting

 

vegan champagne cake with italian meringue buttercream.

Related recipes

More vegan frosting recipes

 

More vegan meringue recipes

 
vegan champagne cake with meringue kisses.

Vegan Champagne Italian Meringue Buttercream

5 from 4 votes
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This vegan pink champagne buttercream is airy, light and not overly sweet. Made using just 5 ingredients, it follows the Italian meringue buttercream making method and is perfect for frosting everything from vegan champagne cupcakes to three tier vegan champagne layer cakes.
Prep Time 45 mins
Chilling Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings 15 enough to frost a 6" 3 tier cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup aquafaba *see notes, prep ahead of time (see step 1)
  • 1 ⅓ cups pink champagne prosecco, cava or sparkling wine
  • 6 fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
  • ¼ cup caster sugar (super fine sugar)
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup caster sugar (super fine sugar)
  • 10.6 oz vegan butter slightly softened (see step 2)

For garnish here's the recipe for Vegan Meringue Kisses

    INSTRUCTIONS

    PREPARATION (At least 2 hours before making the buttercream)

    • Start by reducing the aquafaba, add it to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer until it has reduced to half a cup in volume. After 5 minutes of simmering, check the volume by pouring the liquid into a measuring cup. If there's more than half a cup of liquid continue to simmer until it reduces to the required half cup. Pour the reduced aquafaba into a jar and refrigerate. This can be done the night before or at least one hour in advance of making the recipe.
    • To make the pink champagne syrup add the champagne/prosecco/cava to a saucepan with 50g of sugar and the sliced strawberries and bring to a simmer. Cook on a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to quarter cup in volume. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the strawberry pieces and chill until ready to use.

    MAKING THE BUTTERCREAM

    • Remove the vegan butter from the fridge about an hour before making the buttercream, cut it into 1” chunks. 
    • Add 200g of the caster sugar and water to a saucepan, gently stir and allow the mixture to sit for a minute until the sugar dissolves into a paste. Place the saucepan on a medium-high heat and allow the mixture to come to a simmer and bubble. DO NOT STIR throughout the entire process. Place your candy thermometer into the syrup and continue to simmer until the mixture reaches 120°C (248°F) - about 10-12 minutes.
    • Meanwhile prepare the aquafaba. Take a large clean bowl, and make sure it's completely dry and free of any grease. Add the aquafaba and cream of tartar to a large bowl and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes until soft peaks form.
    • Slowly add in the remaining 50g of caster sugar, one dash at a time while continuing to whisk and incorporate the sugar into the aquafaba. Continue whisking for another 3 minutes.
    • Once the sugar syrup has reached the correct temperature begin to add it to the whipped aquafaba. Slowly drizzle in a little at a time and continue to whisk until the mixture is incorporated. Be careful not to add the syrup too quickly as this could deflate your italian meringue. Whisk the meringue mixture for another 10-15 minutes until it has cooled to room temperature.
    • Start slowly adding the chunks of butter to the meringue, one at a time, allowing the mixture to incorporate for about 5 seconds between each one. The mixture will flatten as you add the butter, just continue to add the butter as it will stiffen when the full amount of butter is incorporated. Once all the butter has been added the mixture be thick like buttercream, continue to whisk on low for 5 minutes.
    • Add the reduced pink champagne one tablespoon at a time, whisking for about 30 second between each one to incorporate the liquid into the buttercream. Once all of the syrup has been incorporated continue whisking for 2 minutes.
    • For best results I recommend using this buttercream fresh, ice the cake as per the instructions in Anthea’s Pink Champagne Cake recipe. If you want to prep the buttercream the day before decorating your cake you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Let it soften slightly at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours before using. 

    RECIPE NOTES

    *Aquafaba; the liquid part from tinned chickpeas. 
     

    Storage instructions

    For best results I recommend using this buttercream fresh. If you want to prep the buttercream the day before decorating your cake you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Let it soften slightly at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours before using. 

    Do I need to reduce the aquafaba for this recipe?

    I have trialled this meringue using both regular and reduced aquafaba and believe it or not, skipping this step means that the recipe will require about 100g more vegan butter in order to stabilise. 

    NUTRITION

    Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 766IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
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