Saturday, 15 October 2011

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I received a spectacular email from a partner-in-crime a few days ago. One that simply said "omg who'd've thought?!x" The email was followed by another, making allowances for our homelessness and inviting us over to bake and eat the cake in her flat, accompanied by the leftover red wine and a steak dinner. What could I say? That is pretty much Dine at Mine's ideal invitation. There was only one possible answer.

So today is Dine at My Friend's Flat, and that's what we did last night. My friend Rebecca had spotted this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and as it fell at the intersection of red wine, chocolate and cake - or in other words, of three of our favourite things ever - it had to be tried. I do admit that it sounded so unlikely (red wine? in a cake?) and yet so delicious. And accompanied by the rest of the wine, and a dollop of mascarpone cream? Perfect.

As the recipe promises, this is gorgeously tender and rich, and tastes very adult - definitely a pudding, rather than an afternoon cake. You can just about taste the wine, but you can taste the chocolate more, somehow deepened and subtly spiced. At first the cake tasted almost plain - definitely not sickly sweet, despite the two types of sugar - but with the sugared cream it was perfect, smooth and complex and comforting all at once.

If you think about it, there's no reason why this should be weirder than the Chocolate Guinness Cake which is still officially my mum's favourite cake in the world ever (don't tell her how unhealthy it is). But for some reason, the use of wine just seems more exciting. I don't think I've ever had a wine cake before and now I'm all intrigued. Could you use white wine with berries? Rose wine with rhubarb? Think of the possibilities!

Although it might sound like a gimmick, this was delicious in its own way, on its own merits and in its own right. It was a perfect Friday evening of baking, eating and drinking with the sort of old friends who don't mind if you turn up early or late, and will willingly wait while you pose poncy pictures for your blog. Definitely a do-again candidate! Both the evening and the cake. 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the cake
- 85g soft unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup or 180g dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup or 50g granulated sugar
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup or 175ml red wine, any kind - we used Malbec (soon to be reviewed over on Wine at Mine!)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of plain flour
- 1/2 cup or 40g cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cream
- 1/2 cup or 120g mascarpone 
- 1/2 cup or 120g double or whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons or 25g granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 9 inch cake tin with baking parchment.

Beat the butter in a large bowl until smooth, then add the sugars and beat again until it's light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg yolk, beat it all together well, then add the wine and vanilla and beat again. Sift in all the dry ingredients, then mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, try to level the top then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire tray.

For the topping, just beat everything together until you've got soft peaks. 

Serve the cake warm or cold, topped with a dollop of cream, and marvel at the fact that you've got cake with wine in it! Crazy.

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