Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I was eagerly anticipating this baking (I do with most of my bakes to be fair though!) because I’m not a wine person but my Dad bakes an absolutely DIVINE steak stew with wine that I adore and always wish he’ll cook when I visit (are you reading Dad!?) Anyway, I found this recipe by literally Googling “red wine chocolate cake” to see if it was even possible and the Smitten Kitchen was the first link. I thought this might be like a red velvet cake but the wine doesn’t really change the colour. Let’s get baking!

First you need to grease and line two tins. I realise I’ve shown this stage quite a lot in my recent posts but I’m starting to understand just how important it is! These are loose bottomed tins so all I did was place a circle of greaseproof paper at the bottom and brushed the sides with butter.


Then start the actual baking! Unusually, this recipe calls for creaming the butter on it’s own first and I’m not 100% sure why but I went with it. Keep going until it gets a bit paler and smoother.


Next you need to add the two different sugars and continue to mix. I usually choose to use light over dark for my chocolate recipes so I was intrigued to use it for this and it gave off the most beautiful treacle smell, yummy!


Add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated. Broken yolk 😦  Doesn’t make a difference to the bake but it ruined my pretty picture set! It really starts to come together at this point, I remember thinking “it’s working!” very gleefully (most likely with some sort of gormless grin on my face!)


Add the wine. The wine used in this recipe was a Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz but you can absolutely use whatever you have to hand. I have a feeling that the better quality wine you use however, the better tasting cake you end up with. I guess it’s the same rule for when you use chocolate too.


Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, add the cinnamon salt and baking powder then fold in. I was a little worried that there was too much wine even though I didn’t use as much as the original recipe called for, but it was very potent what I did end up using. Not bad by any stretch but for someone not used to wine, it did feel like a lot!


Pour the batter into your two tins and bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven. I actually weighed the batter and divided it by two in order to end up with as close to half as possible but you could definitely do this by eye. Also, I totally recommend licking that spoon/spatula when you’ve done, it does good things to you 🙂


Take the cakes out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin at first, then on a wire rack to cool completely. I felt very hopeful when they came out because they smelt AMAZING. I wish I could photograph a smell, honestly.


I made the ganache while the cakes were in the oven cooking to kill time. This recipe is based very loosely on one I found over at Joy of Baking. I’ve only ever tried ganache once, unsuccessfully, so I was determined to give it another go and do it right this time. You need to bring the cream and butter to a gentle simmer. You do not want it to boil overly but it needs to be hot.


When the cream/butter mix is hot enough, pour over the chopped dark chocolate and just leave to stand for a minute or two and the heat will naturally melt the chocolate. Carefully whisk or mix the cream in, taking care not to be too heavy handed and you do not want air in the mix (I’m not sure why but the Joy website was specific).


It looks so rich and look at that, I made a ganache without mucking it up! I honestly don’t know how I did before, it’s pretty simple. Maybe the quality of chocolate I used wasn’t good enough. I love how shiny it looks, I think that’s the butter which gives it a glossy sheen. Try very hard not to stick your face into it at this point.


Once the cakes are completely cool, you need to cover them with the ganache. Originally I was going to just cover the top and put a layer of ganache in the middle but there was still some left over once I’d done that and it probably isn’t very good for you to eat this stuff by the spoonful (although a sneaky half spoonful may have passed my lips however!)


Oh yummy yummy yummy. Yes this slice of cake is most definitely worth 3 yummy’s. I don’t always eat what I bake but this was my slice and it was oh so good. It had the rich full taste of a pudding which I think was the wine and ganache but it wasn’t heavy and dense like puddings can be, it definitely had the light airiness of a cake. I am so pleased with this cake. The wine flavour as present but not over-powering and the texture was honestly melt in your mouth. A+ if I do say so myself!


The whole cake with a slice missing. It looks massive and it did take my mother in law the best part of a week to finish it, but finish it she did! She shared it with some of her work colleagues too and two of them want the recipe so it must not just be me who enjoyed it.


I’m entering this fab recipe into Tea Time Treats February challenge which is hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Janie from Hedge Combers. This month’s challenge is to bake with chocolate as it’s February and the month of love!


Here’s a list of ingredients and method for those that prefer. The measurements below are the ones I used, if you want to follow absolutely the original recipe you can find it HERE or via the link at the top of this post. Remember that it is an American site so you may need to fiddle around with various amounts/ingredients anyway but give it a go!

Ingredients for the cake

  • 85g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 180g dark muscovado sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml red wine (any you like/have)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 135g self raising flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Ingredients for the ganache

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 175g double cream
  • 25g unsalted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 180º then grease and line two cake tins.
  2. In a bowl, cream the butter until smooth, then add the two sugars and continue to beat until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, beating well, then add the wine.
  4. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, then add the baking powder, cinnamon and salt, folding in with a metal spoon or spatula.
  5. Pour evenly into the two prepared tins and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer/toothpick inserted comes out clean. The tops of the cakes should be shiny and smooth. 
  6. To make the ganache, heat the butter and cream in a small saucepan. Pour over the chopped chocolate and allow to stand for 1-2 minutes which lets the chocolate melt. Whisk until no cream shows any more. It should have a shiny finish. 
  7. When the cakes are completely cool, spread the ganache over the top of the bottom layer and then the tops and sides of the cake. Smooth with a palette knife.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Instagram picture :)

Instagram picture 🙂


5 thoughts on “Red Wine Chocolate Cake

  1. Pingback: Round-Up: Tea Time Treats February 2014 = CHOCOLATE!

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