I am definitely one to exaggerate most things, but the following is 100% truth: this is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. And since chocolate cakes are inherently better than all other cakes, X leads to Y leads to Z – this might be the best any kind of cake I’ve ever made.
It is fitting that this momentous occurrence happened in conjunction with SpeedyKate’s birthday, as she is one of my most appreciative cake-consuming friends. She asked for chocolate, and I know she loves red wine, sooo Red Wine Chocolate Cake it is! And then, of course, things had to get fancy. What goes well with chocolate and red wine? Raspberries well duh. So I made a raspberry cream cheese frosting, and then covered it all with a layer of chocolate ganache. Because I can.
Despite the cup of Cabernet the cake actually doesn’t taste like wine at all. This would be a bummer, except that it is so moist and chocolatey and good that I can’t say anything disappointing about this cake. And it stayed good for a while – we may or may not have eaten slices of cake after our workout last night (so that's 6 days after it was made), and it still tasted awesome and didn't dry out at all!
This is actually a cake that almost wasn’t. My original plan was to bake the cake Tuesday night during/after the election (for SpeedyKate’s birthday on Thursday), but then I got sidetracked by watching the election at work and didn’t go to bed until 1:30 am. On to Wednesday night: my Ragnar team met up for a workout followed by dinner. I walked in the door around 11 pm, and as SpeedyKate was going to bed on her birthday eve, I was pulling out bowls and ingredients because sleep be damned my friends will have birthday cakes! I baked the cakes that night, then the next morning I got up early to make the frosting. After work and before the party I finished it off with the ganache and it was all so worth it!
The original cake recipe is from Love & Olive Oil. The frosting and ganache are from the inside of my head.
Red Wine Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dark or dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup red wine (I went with a Cabernet Sauvignon that promised notes of chocolate and raspberries…but let’s be real, I don’t know wine so do what you feel.)
- 1/2 cup light olive or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 oz (1 block) cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature
- ¼ cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 3.5 oz dark chocolate chopped (I used dark chocolate chips: ½ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Add eggs, buttermilk, wine, oil, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until all dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until the cakes begin to pull away from the edges of the pan.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool cakes on wire racks for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto the racks and finish cooling completely before frosting.
- Puree raspberries in a blender for 3-5 minutes until they are smooth (try to blend away the seeds).
- In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, beat together butter, cream cheese, raspberry puree, and vanilla.
- Beat in powdered sugar, then add buttermilk as necessary (1 tablespoon at a time) to reach a spreadable consistency.
- Cut cakes in half to make 4 layers. Spread frosting evenly between the layers, and cover the cake completely. (It will work best if you do a “crumb layer” – i.e. spread a thin layer of frosting around the outside to catch all the crumbs, then do a second frosting layer to make it look good.)
- Refrigerate the cake at least one hour.
- In a double boiler or a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and heavy cream, stirring occasionally.
- Pour ganache over the cold cake, spreading with a spatula as you go.
Then enjoy this AMAZING cake with your AMAZING friends on your birthday!!!