I’m not sure if you remember but a few weeks ago I took off for some much needed girlfriend time with Lettuce and Yam. We had all been looking forward to that trip all summer long, so I think they’d both agree that expectations for this trip were high, and I think they’ll also both agree that those expectations were surely met, if not exceeded. Rarely, I find, does that happen when a vacation is said and done.
I knew that the weekend was meant to be when, despite thousands of cancellations at O’Hare due to fire at an air traffic control center, my noon flight took off with nothing more than a thirty minute delay. Smooth sailing, and we headed to our destination at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia for some wining and dining and spahhing.
Saturday we jumped on the party bus to do a two-stop tour of local wineries, and the Doukenie Winery on that voyage that inspired this dessert, Red Wine Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake, in a wayward flashback and nod to that original chocolate cake I made during my tour of France over a year ago. My favorite wine of the day, and the only one I bought, was Hope’s Legacy Raspberry. According to the site, this red dessert wine ferments raspberries and blackberries are blended with our oak-aged red wine, creating an intense fruit flavor, chocolate notes from the oak, a balanced sweetness, and a finish with body. Our tour guide suggested eating dark chocolate alongside a sip to get the max flavor from the wine. No complaints here.
Deelish, but I wasn’t going to use my souvenir wine to make a chocolate cake. Rather, Trader Joe’s to the rescue. As I aimlessly wandered through the stacks looking for a wine for my project, the helpful staff suggested Cocobon. I may have sampled some while baking this cake and will vouch that it’s just as good to drink as it is to eat.
I was actually going to make this on Saturday night, but after some very light arm-twisting from Tomato, ended up on a trip to Ikea instead. It’s where all the cool kids go on Saturday nights. For real.
As for the cake, I adapted a few red wine cakes out there with one of the richest chocolate cake recipe I had, with a few tweaks here and there (who runs out of white sugar? This girl, apparently. The baker in me shakes her head and her fist at my empty pantry). Despite initial misgivings about the alcohol drying out the cake, it was one of the moistest I’ve ever made.
The original plan was to leave this mostly naked, lightly dusted with powdered sugar and topped with simply sweetened whipped cream. However, my idle mind then started to explode with possibilities: a chocolate mousse filling? A chocolate ganache topping? Raspberry puree? My ideas started to stray far and wide from the original, creating an almost entirely different kind of dessert. In the end, I feared doing too much to this cake would detract from the wine and raspberry flavors that I really wanted to highlight. A compromise between both sides of my brain meant the final slice was dusted with powdered sugar and served alongside some chocolate whipped cream.
It was pretty perfect. So say I. Eat your heart out.
However, I may make this again in a more decadent and sexy iteration. It just seems like the thing to do. Coming at you Valentine’s Day, 2015.
Make a two-layer, 8” cake
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup red wine (whatever you like)
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp coconut extract
- ¾ cup hot brewed coffee
- 1 ¼ cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) raspberries
- Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and whisk until all well combined.
- In separate glass measuring cup, combine the wine, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, coffee and coconut extract. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix with a spatula to make sure all is well combined, and then gently fold in the raspberries.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Place all ingredients into a deep bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Slice the cake, dust with extra confectioner's sugar and top with a dollop of the chocolate whip.