I was supposed to make a red wine chocolate cake a long, long time ago. I originally planned to make it for Valentine’s Day and I injured myself in the process. But I bravely returned to the recipe I hoped to use 10 months ago. Smitten Kitchen Deb’s red wine chocolate cake recipe is accompanied by a very sweet story about her lack of a 9/11 story, which is actually a lovely “story” if you ask me.
There’s an episode of The Sopranos in which Carmela is sitting in front of her lit Christmas tree, sipping a glass of red wine. Her daughter Meadow asks, “What are you doing?” And Carmela replies, “I’m just enjoying the tree.” And there’s a lot of enjoyment that comes out of sitting and looking at the Christmas tree. A lot of work goes into putting it up or chopping it down or whatever you do, and hanging ornaments collected over the course of the years. What a lovely idea to sip wine in front of the tree! Red wine is my drink of choice and I particularly enjoy it this time of year when the weather gets cold and Christmas parties and gatherings abound. And why not bake it into a cake?
I was following the Smitten Kitchen recipe to the letter, using this red wine that I had on hand and already had an opened bottle of.
Here’s my mise en place.
Then I beat it with the brown and white sugars until fluffy.
Next I added 1 whole egg plus 1 yolk, then the red wine and vanilla and mixed till combined. This is when it got messy. My hand mixer started slopping around wine drops all over the kitchen. Eeek! So I switched to hand mixing with a rubber spatula before sifting in the dry ingredients.
I mixed it all up and poured the batter into a greased, parchment lined 8″ round cake pan. I was using a bake even strip as well, but it’s not pictured here.
The directions said for the cake to bake in a 325 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. It took about 30 minutes of baking for the center of the cake to spring back to the touch. When I removed the cake from the pan so it could cool completely on a wire rack, I noticed the edges looked a little… burned.
Once the cake was cooled, I covered it under a cake dome and let it sit overnight. The next day I prepared the whipped topping.
And I coated the top of the cake with a sifting of powdered sugar.
The recipe suggests topping each cake slice with a dollop of topping as opposed to spreading it on top of the whole cake.
The cake tasted dry. It didn’t taste burned, per se. It could have been that I baked the cake too long. Maybe the wine I used was too dry. Who knows? The best thing about it was the mascarpone topping. That one’s a keeper.