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Birthday Red Wine Chocolate Cake!

I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.
~W.C. Fields

Sometimes I have incredibly coherent, well-phrased, occasionally-beautiful thoughts. And then sometimes, like when I saw this recipe for the first time, I just blurt things out.

UM. WHAT. YES.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake slice

That’s pretty much how that conversation went in my head.

Last year my birthday fell on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which was very sad from a food and wine standpoint. This year, it fell on the 8th day, the day after the Feast of Tabernacles, and unfortunately I spent the majority of it in airports and airplanes trying to get home from Steamboat Springs. I did get to have a lovely dinner with my parents the night before, however, and brunch with my mom that morning before I left. And I happened upon a lovely wine bar (Cru) during my 3-hour layover in Denver and celebrated in my own way—with flights of Cabernet and some creamy tiramisu. So not all was lost.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I started a little ritual last year for my birthday, where I’d pick a dessert recipe that had really captured my imagination for some reason—maybe it felt a little fancy, needed a special occasion, was a little more work—and make it for my birthday. Except, scheduling being what it is in my life, it basically ends up being somewhere within a month window of my birthday. Which is kind of the same thing. I just wanted something that felt a little special, and an excuse to make something fun. Last year it was my vanilla almond cupcakes with homemade peach jam filling. And this year it’s this awesomeness.

Growing up, birthdays weren’t really a big thing. But to me, I like to make a tiny bit of fuss for it. Not go overboard, but just a little something special.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake Baked

This cake really is special. First, there’s the Dutch cocoa (vs. regular), which has so much more depth than regular cocoa powder. Then you add the red wine and a hint of cinnamon, and this cake just perfectly encapsulates indulgence. It’s everything that’s great about being a grown-up. It’s rich but not sweet, super moist but dense, just amazing.

red wine chocolate cake pan prepared

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. I just sprayed the whole pan and then cut out the parchment paper, laid it in the pan and sprayed another layer. Super easy.

red wine chocolate cake batter butter sugar

Cream the butter in the large bowl of your electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until it’s fluffy, for like 2 or 3 minutes.

red wine chocolate cake dry ingredients

In a separate bowl (or just directly over the mixer bowl), sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together.

red wine chocolate cake batter

Add both the egg and the yolk, and beat well.

red wine chocolate cake wine

red wine chocolate cake batter wine

Then add the red wine and vanilla. Be SUPER careful blending in the red wine, or it’ll splatter everywhere. I used the splash guard thing and also draped a tea towel over just in case. The batter will look a a little wonky for now, but don’t worry. It will be okay.

red wine chocolate cake batter dry ingredients

Add  the dry ingredients to the batter, and mix until it’s just 3/4 combined.

red wine chocolate cake batter2

Then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula so you don’t overmix.

red wine chocolate cake batter pan

red wine chocolate cake batter pan2

Spread the batter in your prepared pan and kind of smooth it out.

red wine chocolate cake baked2

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. It was about 27 in my oven. You want a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake will be shiny and smooth. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then flip out of the pan onto a cooling rack and cool the rest of the way.

red wine chocolate cake finished powdered sugar

For pretty, you can give it a light dusting of powdered sugar. But I also *highly* recommend the whipped topping…

red wine chocolate cake mascarpone

red wine chocolate cake topping

Whip or blend (I used an immersion blender) the mascarpone, cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Don’t overwhip.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake sliced

Put a big ol’ dollop on the cake and nom that all up. The cake stores either at room temperature or in the fridge really well. I’ve kept it on the counter (wrapped with plastic wrap) for four or five days and it’s still great!

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Original recipe here, including her thoughts on Dutch cocoa vs. regular and ingredient weights

Cake

  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of red wine, any kind you like (I used a cabernet)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of Dutch cocoa powder (not regular Hersheys)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Topping

  • 1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup of chilled heavy or whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray (see photo instructions for how I did it).

Cream the butter in the large bowl of your electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add both the egg and yolk, and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. You’ll have to be SUPER careful blending in the red wine, or it’ll splatter everywhere. The batter will look a little weird right now, but don’t worry, it will be okay.

In a separate bowl (or just directly over the mixer bowl), sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together and add to the wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula (so you don’t overmix). Spread the batter in your prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (was about 27 for me), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake will be shiny and smooth. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan onto a cooling rack and cool the rest of the way. Store either at room temperature or the fridge.

For pretty, you can give it a light dusting of powdered sugar. For the topping (which I highly recommend!), whip or blend the mascarpone, cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form, but don’t overwhip.

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Comments

  1. Mmm, will try.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] A few years ago I decided that, for my birthday, I’d make myself a dessert that’s just a little fancier than normal. Something I’ve been lusting after but required more time or effort than I’m typically willing to put into things. Since I don’t tend to like store-bought desserts that much, it was a way of making sure I got something I’d really like. And, boy, has it produced good results so far?! Two years ago I made these amazing vanilla almond cupcakes with peach jam filling, and last year I tried out Smitten Kitchen’s red wine chocolate cake. […]

    Like

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