Friday, February 15, 2013

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Wow. I’m only a few posts along and I’m already awful at consistently posting. Please, forgive me. I could offer up a pile of excuses- I started training for a half marathon, my laptop has been flashing the blue screen of death, I’ve had several migraine attacks, I had a root canal…. The excuses are going to keep coming I’m sure, so just bear with me...

Allow me to elaborate on one my excuses: last Thursday, I went to the dentist for a routine exam and walked out with a referral to an endodontist for an emergency root canal. YAY! I had never had a root canal before and I was beyond over dramatic about the impending procedure the entire day. I’m talking tears, looking in the mirror and imagining my smile without a tooth and sobbing, calling my boyfriend to sob some more- the works. After three trips to the dental office that day, I was finally able to go home, drooly-faced with (partial) tooth intact. I’d post a picture of my numbed, paralyzed, puffy-eyed face, but you’re here to read a cake recipe, not laugh at me, right? Right.
I stayed home from work the next day at the recommendation of my boss (TGIF!!) and was bored out of my mind by noon. After exhausting all the fun one can have with chocolate pudding, Top Ramen and Downton Abbey re-runs, I decided that I deserved a homemade cake. Since I had been having migraines all week due to said tooth, I was avoiding consuming any wine and chocolate so as not to agitate the migraines any further. Well, it being my first day migraine-free and only able to gum soft foods (sorry, over-dramatic) a RED WINE CHOCOLATE CAKE was JUST the thing the doctor dentist ordered.
And ohmygoodness I couldn’t have asked for a better prescription.
Making the cake, I was nervous and unsure of what to expect… But, in my opinion, if the cake batter is finger-licking good, the end product will be amazing (note: this is not a guarantee). This cake was so rich, decadent and simple it was unbelievable. A single layer chocolate cake, dusted with powdered sugar, topped with fresh local raspberries, thick and creamy mascarpone cream and drizzled with warm raspberry sauce…. I’m salivating just writing about it.

Please note that the wine DOES NOT completely bake out of the cake (I’m assuming that if you want to eat a chocolate wine cake, you’re going to want to taste the wine anyway), so this isn’t an appropriate cake for an office bake off or your nephew’s birthday party, but it IS perfect for a night watching trashy TV in your sweats with your girlfriends (which is how I enjoyed it). I also thought this cake would be a perfect Valentine’s Day post and had full intentions of posting this yesterday but then there was too much wine and cuddling to get to it (more excuses). If you haven’t celebrated lovey-dovey day with your sweetheart yet, do yourself a favor and bake this cake for the occasion. Your significant other won’t get drunk from eating it, but you can certainly use the leftover wine for that. You can thank me later.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake
 Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup red wine, any kind you like*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder*
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar for dusting

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

Raspberry Sauce
1 pint fresh raspberries
¼ cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon cornstarch


Make the cake: 
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together and set aside. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the white sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla (the batter is going to look a little runny and unsightly- don’t worry). Mix the dry ingredients until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together by hand with a rubber spatula. Spread the batter in your prepared cake pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then flip out of the pan and cool completely on a cooling rack. Dust the surface of the cake with sifted powdered sugar to your liking and top with raspberries if you wish. The cake keeps best at room temperature.

Make the topping:
 Whip mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Dollop (and if you’re anything like me, I mean very large spoonful) onto each slice of cake.

Make the sauce:
Combine raspberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally. Once berries have begun to break down, add cornstarch and stir in. Continue to cook on low until berries have broken down completely. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl to remove the seeds. Drizzle over individual slices of cake.

*I used a Zinfandel. The more bold the wine, the more the flavor will pop.
*You can get Dutch Cocoa at Whole Foods or any other specialty store. Don’t want to splurge on the fancy stuff? You can use natural-processed cocoa and replace the baking powder with 1/2 tsp baking soda. I haven’t tried it though, so I don’t want to guarantee any results. 
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