Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Welcome to blog post Part 2 of 2: One wine two ways.  Last week I incorporated red wine into Lyonnaise Style Onion Soup, today it will be transformed into a sweet, elegant dessert.  The rich, dark, lightly sweeten chocolate is the perfect complement to the hints of berries in the Italian Squinzano Riserva red wine.  This red wine cake will be a show stopper at your Christmas gathering, having everyone asking for seconds.   

The cake recipe was found online at La Cucina Italiana, but also can be located in their Jan/Feb 2013 magazine issue.  This cake was derived from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy (northwest of Tuscany), which is known for delectable foods such as Parmesan cheese (from the city of Parma), balsamic vinegar (from the city of Modena), wines, olives, truffles, and polenta.  With such a distinguished pedigree of excellent foods from this region, you are guaranteed satisfaction with this dessert.  

This recipe called for a dry red wine, so I chose the Italian Squinzano Riserva because it is what I had in my basement wine rack {and it was already opened}.  Feel free to choose what ever red wine you like.  Lambrusco wines {in keeping with the Emilia-Romagna region of this cake} are red, sparkling, and sweet which would give a different taste and perhaps texture to the cake, but would that be bad?  Have fun experimenting with different wines to make this cake completely your own.  


The red wine chocolate cake batter is a soufflé, so don't be discouraged when the nicely puffed up cake deflates after cooling.  Depending on how coarsely chop the chocolate you may have the heavier chips sinking to the bottom, forming a crust.  This happened to me, but it still tasted divine!  If you don't believe me, just ask my sister and hubby.  If you are hosting a small dinner party, I think this dessert would be fabulous in individual soufflé cups.  I topped with cake with freshly whipped cream and cherries cooked in a sugar/wine sauce.  Again, use your imagination and what is seasonal to put your touches on the cake.  

I hope you enjoy this refined, grown-up version of chocolate cake.  

Have a very Merry Christmas {Buon Natale}!  Happy Birthday Jesus!


CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe

Ingredients for Red Wine Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan 
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 5 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate (82%), very finely chopped (*note- I used Ghirardelli chocolate; 3 oz of 60% bittersweet chocolate chips, and 2 oz 100% unsweetened chocolate bar)
  • 1 cup dry red wine 

Directions for cake

  1. For Cake: Heat oven to 350º. Grease springform pan (9 inch round x 3 inch deep) and line bottom with parchment paper. (**note- I would recommend lining the sides as well with parchment paper).  Butter the parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and ½ cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in egg yolks 1 at a time, scraping bowl as necessary. Add chocolate; beat just to combine. In 3 additions, add wine to butter mixture, alternating with flour mixture. 
  3. In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3/4 cup sugar and beat until the whites are firm and glossy.
  4. Using a spatula, gently fold whites into batter just until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.
  5. Transfer cake to wire rack; let cool in pan 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan to loosen cake; release from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack. 
  6. To serve, cut with a serrated knife.  Serve at room temperature with whipped cream and cherries in it's sauce.

Ingredients for Cherry Topping

  • 1 bag (12 oz) of frozen pitted cherries
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions for topping

  1. In a small heavy-bottom saucepan, bring wine and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add cherries to the saucepan, heat over medium heat until liquid reduces by half (about 15 minutes).
  3. Allow to come to room temperature, then place in glass storage container.