I have a secret to share. It isn’t very professional, but I love to cook (or read, or – I don’t know, work?) with alcohol. There’s nothing quite so therapeutic as cracking open a chilled beer before getting into the hot, steamy mess that is my kitchen. Sometimes, when I’m feeling super fancy, I take it a step further and pour myself a glass (or two?) of red wine.
When I’m in a particularly indulgent mood, I complement the wine with some chocolate. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know much about either wine or chocolate – from an expert’s point of view, that is. What I do know is that I my wine red and full-bodied; that I like chocolate that is dark and has a slightly salty aftertaste; and that the combination of the two is absolute perfection.
Not surprisingly, when I came across this recipe I was determined to try it. In fact, I tried it the very same afternoon that I stumbled across it and I couldn’t have been happier with the result. I tweaked it very, very slightly by cutting down on the sweetness and amping up the chocolate/saltiness and the result was a cake made of dreams, sunshine and possibly a bit of heaven. It was moist and rich without being too heavy, crammed with all the bittery-chocolate taste in the world and finished off with a boozy kick. Perfection.
2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate (the darker the better)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
225 g unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups red wine (preferably dry)
Cream together the butter and sugar until it turns pale and fluffy. Crack the eggs in one at a time, whisking to ensure that everything is well-incorporated.
Stir in the vanilla and red wine. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg-butter-sugar mixture in three batches, beating to ensure that everything comes together well. Then, add the chopped dark chocolate for an extra kick. The batter should be rich and velvety.
Bake at 170 C for around 45 minutes, checking to see if the cake is done by sticking a toothpick in the centre. Give it around 15 minutes to cool before turning it over. Top it with grated dark chocolate and a light dusting of sugar.