Red Wine Cake
For anyone who didn't attend the latest Eat+Drink supper club evening, there were many, many, many bottles of J Brix wines being passed up and down the table throughout the evening. Many. Four courses, four different wines...and I would guess a bottle of each type of wine was laid on the table for every 3-4 people. We were not missing out on anything.
So many bottles, that the next afternoon, when I happened to drop by my neighbor's house (not a drop of Basil Artichoke Dip in sight I might point out!) there were still a few open bottles sitting on her counter. As I listed off all the things she should do with them (besides drink them of course)...I realized I had my next blog post...Red Wine Cake. It's what I do with those bottles of wine that for some reason I just don't get around to finishing. Yes, that does happen at my house. Doesn't matter how good the bottle of wine is, I've gotten old enough now that sometimes...well I don't drink it all.
I'm also resourceful and hate to waste things. I've never gone so far as to find a vinegar culture so I can't make red wine vinegar with the leftovers...yet. But I did go through pastry chef classes, and because of that, I've got quite the list of baked goods in my repertoire. And...this cake has become one of my all time favorites to make. No need to have done extensive pastry classes to master this creation...If I had this recipe years ago, I probably never would have bothered with the intense baking world.
I found the recipe on Pinterest, of course. And imagine that, the woman who posted the original recipe also found herself making this cake because...well...leftover wine. It happens. And I personally think she's a genius for coming up with this concoction .
Here's the recipe in it's original form
Yields: one bundt cake
Rich, moist, and flavorful, this red wine chocolate cake carries a unique taste and an irresistible smell!
- 1½ cups (210 g/7.4 oz) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (75 g/2.7 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks/227 g) butter, softened
- 1¼ cups (250 g/8.8 oz) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100 g/3.5 oz) brown sugar (preferably dark)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups (300 ml) dry red wine
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C degrees. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in (or fold by hand) the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with the wine in 2 additions (starting and ending with the flour). Do not overmix.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then turn it out and let it cool completely. Dust the cake with powdered sugar.
- Store cake at room temperature in airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Cake can be frozen for up to 2 months.
and here's what I have learned after making it a few times.....
This recipe is quick, easy and primed to mess with. As in...if you happen to want to add a little more of this or that, the recipe can take it. A little more wine leftover than you need for the recipe, it's OK to add more. You really like to have an extra chocolatey flavor, you can add more cocoa, or even consider adding some chocolate chips towards the last step (mixed in with the last batch of flour). Want to know what the cake is like with a bit of heat? Add a pinch of cayenne to the recipe and find out. Really...this recipe can take it. I love recipes like this!
I've used both very expensive cocoa (Callebaut is one expensive way to go!) and grocery store Hershey's...I couldn't tell a difference in the final product. Use what you can afford and what is in the cupboard. Know that despite every other chocolate cake I've made with tons of cocoa and not a ton of oil...this cake does come out of the oven incredibly moist. If you really want more chocolate flavor, try the Special Dark Hershey's...and add an extra 1/4 cup.
I've used expensive bottles of wine and cheap bottles...the flavor is about the same. In the end, enough of the wine evaporates that the nuances of a good versus mediocre wine aren't ever going to power through the butter, sugar, cocoa, flour base. The real important ingredient (for my palate) is the cinnamon. Don't forget to add that! The contrast to the wine and chocolate flavors just works well in this recipe.
I am always mesmerized by the beauty and luscious smells that come from this recipe. A glimpse of the wine sitting on-top the chocolate batter....amazing. If you could only smell the chocolate, fruit, wine smell I'm getting now!
Here's the big thing I've learned about this cake...DON'T use a bundt pan. Or at least, be aware that I am very unsuccessful at making this cake with a bundt pan. I did so for this recipe just to show everyone why I don't use this pan anymore.
The cake has never released from the bundt pan in one piece. Never. I butter. I flour. I spray. I do all kinds of tricks...it never works. I've started using a 10" springform pan instead...butter for the pan, parchment on the bottom and more butter...it comes out perfectly! Bundt pan...not so much. That being said, the first time I made this cake, people got up after dinner and were scraping the bundt pan to get all the crumbs. The beauty of the cake isn't all that important after you've had a taste or two. But if you want to impress some one....this isn't the pan for this recipe.
That could be why the recipe originator includes a step to add powdered sugar to the cake after it cools...but doesn't show that happening with any of her pictures on the site. If I had my cake come out perfectly from a bundt pan, i wouldn't cover that up either! And powdered sugar does a great job of hiding a few flaws here and there.
And if you have a bundt pan and not a 10" springform (I realize not everyone has every pan in every size), it's worth making this recipe in that pan. You can refer to the final product as rustic (if it doesn't release cleanly)....cover it with powdered sugar....or add a chocolate sauce (like in the pictures she has) to help keep the eye from noticing the cracks. (I have used an 8" removable bottom cake pan with 3" sides before with success. I did have to let the cake cook a bit longer in the 8" pan, closer to 70 minutes...but watch your cake to find the right time for you.)
Of course, when you realize you have a full cake in your house just because you have a deadline, well....the best thing you can do is make sure you share the love. Remember that kids can eat a lot more cake than adults. And also remember that your deadlines are courtesy of some one else...and they have kids. Remember being a kid and that great trick you could play of ringing the doorbell and running away? Yea...something like that. It's a trick I've become more familiar with after taking pastry classes and realizing having 5 dozen cookies, a pie and a cheesecake in the house at one time isn't healthy. The saying about zucchini season being the only time people in rural areas lock their doors...pastry classes may be the reason my neighbors have started locking their doors too.
Hrm...wonder if that has any bearing on people no longer dropping by unannounced?