Red Wine Chocolate Cake

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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.

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Ingredients

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

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups red wine (preferably dry)

Method

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.

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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.

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