Just In Time For Valentine’s
Chocolate Red Wine Cake
- Unsalted butter, at room temperature for greasing pans
- ½ cup sifted, unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting the pans
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- ¾ cup full-fat plain yogurt (preferably not Greek yogurt)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
Red Wine Syrup
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole cloves
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 cups (16 ounce box) confectioners’ sugar
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
Making the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and side of two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust with cocoa powder to coat, then invert and gently tap out any excess. Whisk together ½ cup cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and table salt in a large bowl to combine. Chocolate should be melted gently, using low heat and frequently stirring. On the stove top, Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan with a couple of inches of gently simmering water. Stir the chocolate often until it is almost completely melted, about five minutes. Stir in the melted chocolate, yogurt, butter, water and eggs until moistened and no lumps remain (be careful not to overmix). Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the layers are domed and fragrant, and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 35 to 40 minutes.
Making the syrup:
Combine the sugar, wine, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep, covered, for at least 20 minutes. Strain the cinnamon sticks and cloves form the finished syrup. Use the syrup warm or at room temperature.
Coat the layers with red wine syrup; pierce the cakes, still in their pans, at one-inch intervals with a skewer or a paring knife. This creates channels for the syrup to seep into the cakes. Then, pour or generously brush the syrup over the surface of the hot layers, dividing it between them as evenly as you can. Transfer the soaked layers (still in their pans) to a wire rack to cool completely. When they are cooled and are no longer wet to touch, one to two hours, carefully turn them out of their pans and assemble.
Making the frosting:
Combine the butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt and 2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. On the stove top, Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan with a couple of inches of gently simmering water. Stir the chocolate often until it is almost completely melted, about five minutes. In a slow, steady stream, drizzle in the melted chocolate and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate and frost top. Place next layer on top and frost top and sides. Decorate as desired.
Tested in the THASC kitchen. Photo by THASC.
THASC is a unique small American business producing cards and other promotional products.