chocolate red wine cake with red wine glaze

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This is a cake that’s  dark, fudgy, and moist throughout. The red wine was most pronounced in the raw batter–I scooped the leftovers out of the bowl with my finger. Yum. Because of baking, the red wine taste disappeared. Spooned on a slice of the cake, the red wine glaze, a tart garnet-colored sauce, played against the sweetness of the chocolate cake in a very satisfying way.

Chocolate Red Wine Cake (adapted from Food and Wine Magazine and Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:
Cake
1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder to grease and flour 1 small bundt pan and 1 7-inch springform pan
260g (2 cups) cake flour
66 g (3/4 cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (no substitution; see Cake Baker’s Note)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
227g (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
394g (1 3/4 cups) superfine sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups dry red wine
Red Wine glaze
28g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup red wine
125g (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Crème fraîche or whipped cream, optional

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350˚F or 180˚C. Butter the inside of the pans, making sure to get into the crevices. Add 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder to each pan and swirl it about inside the pan.  Tap out the excess flour.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In another large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for 2 minutes longer. Working in two batches, to the butter mixture add half the flour mixture, all the wine, and then the rest of the flour mixture. Beat between additions until just incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top so that the batter gets into all the crevices. Then tap the pan on the counter-top to dislodge air bubbles. Then bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack; let cool completely.

To prepare the glaze, combine the butter, wine, and confectioners’ sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Set aside until ready to serve.

Dust thoroughly cooled cake lightly with confectioners’ sugar. Slice cake and drizzle each slice with glaze. Serve with crème fraîche or whipped cream, if desired.

Cake Baker’s Note: Now that I live in Thailand, both American and European cocoa powders are available, with Hershey’s being more expensive than Van Houten’s. I decided to research the difference between the two cocoas. Food and Wine recommend using an American brand cocoa powder such as Hershey’s, Ghirardelli, or Scharffen Berger in this recipe. Unprocessed or natural cocoa powder is lighter in color than the darker Dutch processed cocoa (Joy the Baker). Because processed cocoa powder’s acidity has been neutralized, it needs baking powder.  So if a recipe doesn’t specify what kind of cocoa to use, look for the baking powder and baking soda in the list of ingredients. However, this isn’t always a hard and fast rule, I have discovered. The recipe called One Bowl Chocolate Cake from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook uses both baking powder and baking soda, with baking powder being the larger amount. Since this is an American recipe I have always used Hershey’s without thinking twice. I did notice though, that Claiborne’s chocolate cake is lighter in color than the chocolate red wine cake. Perhaps it has something to do with the baking powder? I need to do more research!

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