Now that I go to pastry school, there are a few irrevocable things I have to accept about my life.
1. I will never have nice nails or smooth hands ever again.
2. My definition of “sleeping in” means waking up between 7 and 8 in the morning.
3. Every job I ever have will require me to wear an apron.
4. Sugar. Sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar!
Actually, I don’t mind that last one. I love sugar. I swear I don’t care if I get a million cavities or diabetes — my mom used to tell me, “When you get older, you’ll find that you just don’t like sweet things as much as you do now!”
Uh, yeeeah — that has yet to happen (and it’s never gonna happen)!
In fact, I think my next piece of ink will be a sucrose molecule on my shoulder blade.
Although my life is currently in some serious transition — and rife with all the stress and anxiety that accompanies maturation and change — some things will always stay the same.
Oh, and speaking of mature: it’s what this red wine chocolate truffle cake is all about.
It’s got a rich and dense brownie-like crumb, but enough spice and complexity to satisfy your inner adult.
Smitten Kitchen’s original recipe called for more flour and brown sugar, but I wanted something moister and more truffle-like, so I added melted chocolate and a touch of cayenne.
When it comes to choosing the right red wine to use in this cake, almost anything would be good — except for Malbec and Zinfandel, since they’re probably a little too jammy and fruit-forward to work as well as some of the other varietals.
For those of you who teetotal (for shame!), buttermilk can replace the red wine.
Red Wine Chocolate Truffle Cake
*adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Red Wine Chocolate Cake
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 oz./85 grams bittersweet chocolate
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3/4 cup red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Red Wine Syrup
- 2 cups red wine
- cinnamon stick, about 3 inches in length
- star anise, 1 whole
- orange peel, 2 x 1 inch strip
- 1/2 cup white sugar
Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan.
Melt the bittersweet chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler — set aside and allow to cool.
Sift together the dry ingredients; all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl often. Cream in the melted and cooled chocolate, then add the egg and egg yolk and mix until smooth.
Add the red wine, stir until incorporated, then fold in the sifted dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 25 ~ 28 minutes at 325°F/160°C, then (carefully!) cover the top of the pan with tin foil, turn the heat down to 300°F/150°C, and bake for another 12 ~ 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool the tinfoil covered cake in the pan for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.
While the cake cools, make the red wine syrup!
In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the red wine, cinnamon stick, star anise, and orange peel. Reduce by half, strain, and return the strained red wine to the heat. Stir in the white sugar and reduce by half again.
Serve with the red wine chocolate truffle cake.
This cake can be cooled, well wrapped in clingfilm, and kept for days in the fridge.
It’s also very rich, so this recipe can easily serve 10 people — I had an 8th-sized slice on an empty stomach and was a little overwhelmed (but, y’know — in a good way). Yum!