Mimosa (Orange and Prosecco) Cake

When baking or cooking, there are two main paths one can take: 1.) following a recipe or 2.) creating your own recipe. The first path is safer, more straightforward, and if it were an actual path, would have clearly marked signs, very green grass, and a few flowers planted along the way. It is a nice path, one that gets you to your end destination safely, with delicious results. But what about that second one, the choose-your-own-adventure, create-your-own-recipe-path? This path is a bit less secure (winding, with weeds, filled with slightly wild and overgrown trees) but one that's worth going down to see if that idea you've had sitting in your head works or not. There is a bit of a risk involved for path #2 -- if the recipe shouldn't work out, you have lost some time and ingredients -- but I rarely see it this way. After all, a recipe that doesn't come out quite as you imagined still teaches you something, gives you the knowledge you need to make a few changes the next time and eventually bring you to your ultimate recipe goal. As Thomas Edison once said: I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. Nicely said, Tom.

This blog has a combination of already tested recipes, taken from cookbooks, blogs, or websites, plus original recipes that I've developed myself. On the "Recipe Developing" list at the moment: A coffee and pistachio cake (the coffee and pistachio flavor combination speaks to me; see how it goes); savory castagnole, which, when made with Parmesan cheese, would become little cheese fritters; pear, prosciutto, and Pecorino scones, ingredients that already play well together and could only be improved with the addition of a buttery, crumbly scone; and up until recently, this Mimosa Cake, or rather, my favorite creation to date, perfected on the fourth try. After making a few cakes with wine, and reading recipes for cakes made with bourbon, rum, and other kinds of alcohol, I wondered why Prosecco hadn't been getting more attention, and, more importantly: what effect would all the happy, vibrant, bubbles have on a cake?! 

The answer is this: just when you thought a brunch-time mimosa couldn’t get any better, here it is, in dessert form. So, first things first! The additions of yogurt and oil give this cake just about the loveliest texture of any I've ever baked, making for an incredibly moist (I hate that word too, but sometimes there is no way around it) cake that stays that way long after the first day you've baked it. The Prosecco bubbles -- from my very favorite Maschio brand Prosecco -- did as I expected they would, leaving the cake superbly fluffy and light in their effervescent wake. Texture aside, the flavor of the cake was just as I wanted it, barely sweet and very bright, refreshing and citrus-y thanks to a generous amount of orange zest, incorporated first in to the sugar to release all the orange-y oil. And since I know you were wondering -- yes, there is an underlying yet undeniably festive hint of Prosecco flavor here, helped along by the mimosa bath and glaze that cake gets post baking. I'd say this cake is pretty much perfect for brunch, tea, dessert, snack, or any other time of the day, which gives you an excuse to open more bottles of Prosecco than you need, just to keep a little for this dessert. Nope, there's nothing to not like here, my friends.

A couple of notes: No Prosecco on hand but still want to make this cake? Substitute some of the juice from the oranges in the cake instead -- you won't have all the lightness from the Prosecco bubbles, but it will still be good. Remember to reserve the oranges you have zested to use in the glaze, syrup, and to put in the cake. Feel free to make this cake without the syrup or the glaze, or with one or the other if you want to keep things a bit simpler and not as prosecco-y. You can use Prosecco that has been opened and is sitting in the fridge for a few days here, no problem -- it still turned out quite fluffy compared to the cake made with Prosecco from the evening before. If you're buying Prosecco just to make this cake, I recommend buying one of the single serving Maschio brand Proseccos so you don't have to open a fresh bottle. You could also bake this batter in muffin tins to make Mimosa muffins/cupcakes. Finally, blood oranges are out of season now, but if you are making this cake in the Winter, feel free to use them here

Looking for other citrus-y sweets? Check out these Lemon Squares, this Triple Orange Pound Cake, this Lemon Poppy seed Cake, this Lemon, Ricotta, and Olive Oil Cake, and these Orange Poppy seed Muffins. Want some other brunch-appropriate cakes? I thought so! I've also got this Ricotta Pound cake, this Chocolate Loaf Cake, and this Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread


2 1/3 cups (300 grams) flour
2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 4 large oranges 
3/4 cup sugar (150 grams)
3 eggs
1 cup (220 grams) vegetable oil
1 cup (185 grams) plain full-fat yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup (80ml) Prosecco

To finish:
4 tablespons tablespoons Prosecco
4 tablespoons orange juice, from your zested oranges

Glaze (optional, depending on how much Prosecco you have left and how Prosecco-y you want the cake):
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Prosecco
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch loaf pan, or a tube pan, or a bundt pan -- whatever you have on hand. Set your pan of choice aside. 

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and the orange zest, and then use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar, to release the orange oils and all its citrus flavor. The sugar will turn slightly orange -- this is okay. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the sugar and whisk together. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and Prosecco. Add the dry ingredients to this mixture and whisk briefly, just to combine. Pour the batter in to the prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top is slightly cracked and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool slightly then turn out on to a wire rack to let it cool completely.

Once the cake has been out of the oven for a few minutes, whisk together four tablespoons of the Prosecco and 4 tablespoons of orange juice. Poke some holes in the top of the cake with a knife, and brush the mimosa mixture on to the cake while it is still warm, allowing it to seep in to the cake through the holes you've made with the knife. When the cake has cooled completely, turn out on to a wire rack. 
If making the glaze: whisk together the glaze ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over the cake after it has cooled completely. If you're doing the glazing its helpful to put the wire rack over something (newspaper, for example) to catch an drips from the glaze. Note that this will not be a super thick, powder sugary glaze, but a much lighter, thinner one, which doesn't overwhelm the cake. Serves 10.


  1. This cake sounds absolutely amazing! It's an inspired recipe! I can't wait to see more of the recipes you develop yourself.

  2. Very neat blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Great. orange juice