Chocolate and Red Wine Cake

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I spent St. Patrick’s Day this past year in Las Vegas. On a day where bars color their beer green, shots of Irish whiskey are in abundance, and everyone drinks a bit too much (because being 1/180th Irish is a great excuse to party), it just seemed fitting that I was in Sin City… a city where everything is in excess and there is never a shortage of alcohol.

Since I’m not a big gambler I spent most of my time eating (Wicked Spoon and Border Grill were the highlights of this past trip) and occasionally enjoying a refreshing cocktail, glass of wine, or beer (Vesper Bar is life changing). At one point I stumbled across a special for Bottomless Guinness at one of the countless bars on The Strip and decided why not? It seemed fitting for St. Patrick’s Day.

In case anyone wants to know, going to a buffet before sitting down at a bar to drink as much Guinness as you can consume is definitely not something I recommend. While what transpired that night is a secret—because, ya know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas (kidding, it was a mellow night, my party days are over), I drank plenty of Guinness to last me a while… the thought of consuming any more is a bit nauseating.

My aversion to Guinness has sadly started to impact my baking. I’ve made an incredible Chocolate Stout cake a few times and thought how perfect it would be to bring to a potluck. I immediately began to think of good alternatives to stout. As destiny would have it I had opened up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon a few nights prior and it didn’t quite get finished (I guess that’s a sign of getting old, one glass is enough) so I figured using that in place of beer would be perfect.

Chocolate and red wine is a match made in heaven and the red wine taste in this cake, while incredibly subtle, was very pleasant. If you’re looking for a really bold, heavy, wine flavor this cake may not be for you. The wine just enhances the chocolate taste and adds a little bit of something special.

Chocolate and Red Wine Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 cup red wine (I used a berry forward Cabernet Sauvignon, but most red wines would work—I would stay away from an excessively sweet red though)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the pan
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heavily and thoroughly grease and flour a 10 cup bundt pan, tap out extra flour, and place in freezer for a few minutes to set.

Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, add wine and butter. Bring to a simmer and cook until butter is melted. Add cocoa powder and stir until mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

In a stand mixer (or using a large bowl and a hand mixer), mix together eggs and sour cream. In a slow stream, mix in wine/butter/chocolate mixture until it’s just combined. Add flour mixture in three additions and mix just until blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes (check at 35 minutes by inserting a toothpick—when it’s done you’ll want to see a few moist crumbs but no batter). Let cool completely in pan, remove, and dust with powdered sugar.

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