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Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Cake, Dessert | March 8, 2015 | By

MUSIC PAIRING: Alice Smith, For Lovers, Dreamers and Me

I hope that every one of you out there has a good friend. I’m talking the kind of friend who willingly picks you up from the airport or sleepily listens when you call at 2:00am after running into your ex-boyfriend with a new girl or who gets in the car with their newborn and drives 6 hours to be with you when your dad dies. I hope each of you has a friend who you laugh til you cry with or cry til you laugh with. The kind that sends you random gifts because “it just looked like you” or the kind that buys you coffee when you aren’t expecting it. There aren’t words for how lucky I am to not only have one friend like this but several. 

When I moved to Denver, I was devastated to say farewell to Allison. I was crushed thinking that “our chapter” had ended and that now, both of us were going to have to find new friends and new groups. It felt wrong. It felt unfair. Mostly, it felt sad. When Allison made the decision to go to wine school, I was absolutely thrilled for her. I couldn’t have known that she would end up making the best friends of her life.

Since moving back to NYC, I’ve gotten to be friends with the affectionately named ‘winos’, too. It’s been wonderful to see the way these relationships sharpen Allison and how each person has a way of drawing her out of her shell. They each complement one another. They’re all able to have meaningful, individual relationships with one another while mixing wonderfully in a group and it’s a pleasure to spend time with them.

I wanted to make this red wine chocolate cake specifically for the winos and I’d been waiting for a time to do it. Melissa is Dominican and she’s been lying to promising us forever that she’d cook some of her favorite Dominican dishes for us. We finally cornered her into it and she had us all over last night. I asked what I could bring and when the response was “a sweet maybe?”, I didn’t even have to think.

If you can believe it, Melissa is not a cake person. I know, WHY are we friends with this person? It’s probably why she’s so hot too because the rest of us eat cake and bagels while she probably eats celery. All I know is I was determined to make a cake so good that even Melissa would be won over.

Now. Are you ready for the world’s breakthrough in food styling photography? Brace yourselves.

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You don’t even know how many times I took that photo trying to figure out why the hell I have no styling skills. Eventually, I did stop laughing. I’ve got a broken egg, a glass full of who knows what (it was the wine), brown sugar that looks like ground beef (thanks for that unsolicited commentary, Allison) and I left out 3/4 of the rest of the ingredients. I know I’ve explained that I ain’t no photographer but I really am better than this. Anyway, just keepin’ it real for you here on The Salty Peach.

IMG_2269This cake is noteworthy. Contrary to popular belief, red wine and chocolate are not a great pairing. I think someone in a cheesy 80’s romance flick once brought red wine and chocolate into their love dungeon and then everyone thought it was a ‘thing’. Thankfully, I’ve got winos in my corner to correct such absurdities. That said, I was certainly curious about this cake and it turned out so different than what I thought. The red wine actually presents a sort of cognac quality once baked and it’s fantastic! I’m pretty sure the whipped mascarpone was what we’ll all swim in when we get to heaven.  

Before you go, please admire one last stellar photo to really showcase this cake’s beauty. Nothing like a half eaten piece of cake to really win you over. I was lucky I didn’t get my hand slapped mid bite.

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Why Alice Smith? Melissa introduced me to Alice Smith and I find her to be so passionate and sexy. I think those ‘ingredients’ work pretty dang well for a red wine chocolate cake, don’t you?

PS – I’ll have you know that non-cake-eating Melissa texted me later saying, and I quote, that “this chocolate cake is off the chain!”. Yeah, I know.  

Recipe by: Smitten Kitchen

Red Wine Chocolate Cake
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For the Cake
  1. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  4. 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  5. 3/4 cup red wine, any kind you like
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  8. 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  9. 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  11. 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  12. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Mascarpone Topping
  1. 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  2. 1/2 cup chilled heavy or whipping cream
  3. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray.
  3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate.
  5. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. It looks pretty dusted with powdered sugar.
Make the Topping
  1. Whip mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form — don’t overwhip. Dollop generously on each slice of cake. It can also be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
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