Berry Sangria Cake

Intensive Cake Unit
by Intensive Cake Unit
1 cake
1 hr 30 min

Probably over a year ago now, I made a Sangria-inspired cake. I was super-proud of it at the time, but I used cake mixes for the cake layers, tried to use a mirror glaze for the drip (fortunately it was a bit too cold to run like mirror glaze is supposed to; only reason it worked as a drip! :/ ) and just felt like the whole thing could use a do-over.

I also learned that scratch layers gave a much better sangria flavor than starting with boxed mixes, so while you can do either I do recommend the recipe below!

If you're feeling adventurous and want to tackle a two-tiered version of the same cake, you can find that recipe here!

Recipe details
  • 1  cake
  • Prep time: 60 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 30 min
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Sangria cake layers
  • 3 1/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt 1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) room temperature
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 c egg whites (about 7 eggs, or use egg whites from a carton to avoid wasting the yolks)
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup wine of your choice (I used a Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon, or I’ve used a Garnacha in a similar cake before)
  • 1/3 c Triple Sec
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-2 small drops red and blue gel food coloring, if desired for deeper purple color
Sangria frosting
  • 8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
  • 16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
  • 6-7 c powdered sugar
  • 1-2 T wine
  • 1-2 T triple sec
  • 1-2 small drops red and blue gel food coloring, if desired – I actually just left the frosting the shade of purple the wine gave it, but if you’re using a lighter wine than I did you may want a deeper color. Up to you!
Additional ingredients/supplies:
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (for drip)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (for drip)
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract (for drip)
  • 1-2 small drops red and blue gel food coloring (for drip)
  • 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
  • 3-4 small limes
  • 3-4 small lemons
  • 1 small package fresh blackberries
  • 1 small package fresh raspberries
  • 1 orange
  • Lemon/lime zester/channel knife tool
  • Small piping bag or drip bottle (for decorating with white chocolate ganache)
  • Wine glass – feel free to use a plastic wine glass if you’d rather
  • Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! I also used a Wilton icing comb on the sides of this cake – optional, but I really liked the decorative effect that it added!
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and /or grease with non-stick or baker’s floured cooking spray.
Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
Pour in egg whites and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk, wine, triple sec, and food coloring in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part – I ended up with about 690g in my pans). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
Bake for 35-37 minutes, (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.
Once the layers have fully cooled, the caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart. The lag time while your cakes are chilling is a great time to make your frosting!
For the frosting:
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with the wine and triple sec until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add food color if desired, and beat until well combined.
Assembly / decorating:
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired; these cakes usually bake fairly flat so I didn’t trim much from the tops). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your large cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your large first cake layer in the center of the circle.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer ;) Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part, or you can use an icing comb to texture the frosting. Place into the freezer for about 20 minutes to set the frosting and get the cake cold enough to set the white chocolate ganache drip.
Place heavy cream and white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between. Add flavor and gel food color and stir until smooth.
When your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to your piping bag or squeeze bottle. Slowly drizzle ganache into your wine glass, and then invert the wine glass onto the cake at whatever angle you like best. Pour or pipe on a few more tablespoons, to create a drizzle away from the glass down the side of the cake.
Pipe on a bit of frosting, and add your fruit! I used a couple of orange zest spirals, as well as several sliced/spiraled lemon and limes, and whole and halved blackberries and raspberries around the top and bottom of the cake!
Step back and admire your amaaazing cake! Enjoy!
  • Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!
Intensive Cake Unit
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  • Stephanie Whitacre Stephanie Whitacre on Apr 07, 2021

    Steo 3 for cake mentions " oil " ?

    None listed in the ingredients?

    Other than that, i may have tried this.

    • Intensive Cake Unit Intensive Cake Unit on Apr 07, 2021

      Since I took the egg yolks out, I added 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil to replace a bit of the fat without changing the color of the cake layers - I’ll fix the ingredients list, but the layers will still bake fine without it 👍👍