Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Red wine chocolate cake
Photo by Ted and Chelsea Cavanaugh, Food Styling by Jamie Kimm, Prop Styling by Vanessa Vazquez

Perfect for dinner parties, low-key birthday cakes or to cope with the stress of an election year, here’s a recipe that combines a few of our favorite things: red wine, chocolate and cake. And it couldn’t be easier to make.

For best results, use a medium-bodied Pinot Noir with lots of spicy red-fruit notes like American bottlings from Sonoma County in California or Oregon’s Willamette Valley, but any fruit-forward red wine should work. Top with frosting, jam or cream, or keep things simple and dust with powdered sugar.

A Classic Pavlova Recipe
  • 1⅓ cup sugar
  • 1¼ cup bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for cake pan
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup red wine, room temperature
  • 8½ tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more (softened) to grease cake pan
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • Frosting, jam, whipped cream or powdered sugar, to taste

Heat oven to 375℉.

Trace bottom of 9-inch round pan onto parchment paper, and cut with scissors. Grease pan with butter, dust lightly with flour and line bottom with parchment circle. Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk together sugar, flours, baking soda and baking powder. In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla extract and red wine until combined. Add melted butter.

In thirds, fold flour mixture into wet ingredients with rubber spatula. Do not over-mix. Fold in cocoa powder.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Use offset spatula to spread batter evenly. Bake for 50–60 minutes, or until toothpick or cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven, and place on rack until completely cooled. Invert pan, and tap or bang lightly to remove cake. Frost or top cake as desired. Makes 1 cake.

For layer cake: Wrap cake in plastic wrap and place in freezer until firm, but not frozen solid, about 15–20 minutes. Remove from freezer and unwrap. With serrated knife, slice into two layers. Spread frosting or jam atop 1 layer. Cover with second cake layer. Frost cake as desired.

Wine Pairing

Try a fruity, jammy red that’s soft and plush in feel but light in tannins, like the Parducci Small Lot Zinfandel from Mendocino County, California.

Published on February 8, 2020